Claiming the Middle Ground
Context: At the assembly, the Karnataka Govt discussed yday approaching Supreme Court so as to impound stray dogs and remove them from the city. Gayatri Balaji draws in the middle ground and comments :, In situations like this, IMHO we need to campaign the cause with sensibility, our own authority, show our passion and our commitment. Dog haters will be haters for various reasons. If we can understand why we may be able to convert atleast 15-20% to neutrals if not lovers.
Here are some rules we follow for our community dogs: 1) Vaccinated, Neutrted and Clean 2) Always with a good collar and a tag 3)All have names and we call them by their names and encourage other friendlies to do so 4) Feed and water them in quiet times without making a public nuisance - pick up trash - paper, plates anything you n may use after you finish 5) Do not be “in your face” and superior/ scornful/ sneering at others etc. when you feed. Just because you feed and they don’t, it doesn’t make you superior and them inferior 6) Do not feed in public places like parks, in front of people’s homes etc. 7) Avoid conflict - many a hater can be converted into a neutral if we only understand where is fear is coming from. As you work on such people, get them to accompany you on a walk or two to get to know the pups better, let them touch, pet or put down food for the friendlies. Tell them funny stories about the dogs their quirks and mannerisms so the dogs are slowly developing a personality in their eyes. 8) Explain the larger context to haters - starting with Compassionate India and the ABC Rules evoking a sense of pride, the great work that happens on the ground through 100s of people and the Canine Squads in each region, the profile of people who work tirelessly for these dogs and so on. 9) if possible, arrange with schools and community halls to have a show and tell so once a week you bring a community dog and let passers by meet and greet him - I was even thinking a “community dog fashion show” but maybe that’s jumping too far ahead! 10) Get the local vets to come by and talk to people on The topic of strays and how they are a part of the ecosystem These will add scientific rigor to what we do. 11)Enrol in the squads the people who you think are slowly coming around so they see the good work happening there and the quantum of it in an organised way - give them the option of exiting so they don’t get too overwhelmed Having met us and after being introduced to our methods the haters and non believers must go back thinking the following 1) these guys are organised - they are professional in the way they take care of the animals - they are a large community and have each other’s back - they are compassionate and caring 2) As for the dogs, they are safe, they are clean and happy (so why was I scared of them?) 3) It obviously gives these people some joy doing what they are, let me see if I can help in some way. If we achieve all or done of the above outcomes, it would be a good right step!