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Home » Kashmir: From rising pet culture to underwhelming pet care

Kashmir: From rising pet culture to underwhelming pet care

From rising pet culture to  underwhelming pet care

The sale and owning of pets is no more an extravagant affair in Kashmir. From the steady rise to investing time, energy and money and the shift towards high-cost breeds, everything has become quite a phenomenon now. The money no more decides the kind and breed of the pet owned here .”Money can buy you the best dog but not wag its tail for you”, says Ibrahim, a pet owner. The most preferred breeds among felines are the Persian doll face and canines a German shepherd. The conspicuous rise is marked by stories of love, care, and affection between the pet and its owner with some grave incidents of poor maintenance as well.

What pets mean to their owners:

“She’s like my daughter. If anything goes wrong with her I genuinely feel discomfort in my chest and lose it completely. And nothing makes me feel better unless she starts playing normally again and eating regular meals,” says Haiba who owns a Persian longhair named Leo.

 Haiba takes Leo for her monthly and yearly shots against rabies, deworming, and feline viruses besides other shots that help her stay healthy .” No matter how busy  I am, I have to prioritise taking out time for her because she’s my responsibility,” remarks an emotinal pet-mom, as Haiba proudly calls herself so.

“My two goldfish, Kishori Lal and Panwaari lal left me forever a month back and I fail to get over the grief of losing them, I still get nightmares. Both were rays of sunshine in my life and my best companions, and I feel all alone and depressed now” says Babra.

Tabinda,23 from Batamaloo, had adopted a feral cat in her childhood and now she owns four of them.”I value them more than my own life, they mean everything to me and I can’t think of living without them even for a day.”

Ibrahim,27 while narrating a tragic incident of how he lost his dog, Buffy (a Rottweiler) two years ago after she refused to eat while he was away, recalls how he would face-time her whenever he was away and never missed out on interacting with her.

The other side of the story:

Snowball, the one-month-old Persian longhair kitten, was brought home from a pet shop by Salim ( name changed) three years ago and within a few months, she was returned to the seller debilitated, sickly with matted fur. Snowball is not the only case of poor maintenance there are plenty of abandoned pets and cases of mishandling and mismanagement later put for resale.

.Dr .Atifa Malik, a veterinarian, says while the pet culture has shown a steep rise post-August 2019 lockdown and the covid lockdown there are cases of mishandling too at the hands of breeders and owners both. The rising demand for pets and the enormous pressure by some breeders on them have disturbed their physical and mental equilibrium. Hence a proper governing and regulatory body needs to be enforced to ensure professionalism in the sale and breeding of pets.

Parental approval; not everyone gets it easy

Many youngsters inspired by the vogue ask for pets from their parents and the demands get strongly rejected. Mehran (name changed) while talking to Ground Report, said how once when he brought a pomerian pup to his home, “I was denied entry in my own house, let alone the poor pet.”

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“I always yearned to have a Persian cat, but my mum keeps declining that, She has a fixation on cleanliness and never would allow a pet to destroy that, since Persian cats shed a lot of hair owning one stands no chance for me, “says Aisha, 16 from Sanatnagar.

Persian cats are preferred for their docility and dogs for security mainly. Besides buying pets Kashmiris are up for adoption and rehabilitation of strays too.Ngo’s like Kashmir Welfare and Healing Pat is working on those grounds ensuring food, safety and shelter to; strays, abandoned and injured ones.

Young passionate animal lover

Ibrahim Gulzar, 27, a breeder and owner of pet house ” Kashmir Pets” looks at his profession not merely as a business venture but calls it his “passion”.

“I always did it as my passion and never thought of money, I used to visit my customers and  groomed their pets for free.”What inspired him to realise this passion was when his cousin gifted him a street pup and from that day on he is crazy about dogs.

 Besides being a breeder he owns a cat and a dog. He believes they are family and knows pretty well how to keep them happy and healthy.”I breed my dogs only once a year while others do that twice.”  I remained for 15 days with my dog in the cage, during the breeding phase.

Ibrahim saved a horse in Pampore from death’s trap last year and feeds the stray dogs every day. They( street dogs) are my friends and I feed them like the ones I own.

Ibrahim has very noble ideas to share when it comes to pet health including strays. He believes while we need to be kind to the street dogs by feeding them, ways to control their population must be put into place. Spaying can help in controlling the population of street dogs and that is a process which demands time. He believes the municipality, veterinarians, people, breeders and NGOs(dedicated to save and nourish strays) must work together towards making a better place for animals and humans to co-exist.

He believes the need of the hour is 24-hour open pet hospitals as we do not have a single one operational here for 24 hours. Also, a proper legal system which grants certificates and agreements for owning pets would mean a more responsible pet owner.

 Ibrahim mentions his friend Moomin, owner of “Breeder Hub Kashmir ” who works in tandem with various NGOs to rescue strays and often conducts vaccination drives for them.

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