• Mohana Prabhakar

All creatures great and small

Over the last week, the weather has turned into a familiar ‘fry an egg on your car bonnet’ hot that, like every other year, has taken us by surprise. “It’s really hot”, “It’s too hot this year”, “It never used to be this hot”, and variations thereof have been the starting point of most conversations.

I am not going to be writing about the weather because - firstly, there isn’t much to say, and secondly because it seems like I will be enjoying the warmth here for the next month, so I might as well accept it. I am not going to be writing about Ramadan, which is around the corner, either. What I do want to touch on is the Ramadan spirit: The spirit of sharing and caring not just for your fellow men and women but for all living things – from animals to birds to the poor trees that are getting chopped down to make way for important things like more buildings.

A few weeks ago, my husband decided to put a big bowl of water out on a window ledge for the birds. Though we always had water and grains out for them outside, ever since our new family member (a Siberian Husky named Echo) arrived two years back, his overly-enthusiastic welcome had been frightening the birds away.

Not too happy initially about the mess that would result, I couldn’t help but become a convert once the daily chattering sessions started at the new ‘in’ hangout. Our dog now ignores them completely and the birds somehow seem to know they are safe and have been arriving in groups each morning.

We lost our dog the Thursday before last and it seemed like the longest 90 minutes we had lived through until we found him. We have no idea how he sneaked out, but Echo decided to have a Baby’s Day Out retracing his usual walk down a steep hill to the beach and then venturing into the unknown: The many lanes of PDO, that I am not at all familiar with. A frantic search on foot commenced, involving lots of yelling out for him, while panicking inwardly about what could have happened, may happen and so on.

A bunch of very helpful kids joined in the search and finally, there was Jenna, the Good Samaritan, who had found him an hour earlier. She had taken Echo home, given him water, put him on a leash and was walking around looking for his owners. Thank you Jenna from PDO - you have no idea how grateful we are.

My friend’s cat disappeared a few days later. She is still not back and the whole family is utterly miserable. This, and Echo running away brings me to a problem that we keep hearing about: People abandoning their pets. How do you do that? How can you sleep after leaving your dog or cat out in the wild, with no way to get back home, no

way to fend for himself?

Unfortunately, Oman seems to be full of people abandoning their pets just before they go away for the summer, and this year, with so many people leaving for good, the numbers are only going up. A common excuse is that it would cost too much to repatriate them.

Cats and dogs that have no clue how to survive against street animals or how to scavenge for food are suddenly homeless. And then, when the dog population grows in a particular area, or people get bothered by the barking, phone calls are made and the dogs are shot down.

Also, parents, if you want to go get a dog or a cat because your child likes the idea of a pet, please give it a lot of thought. Unless you are prepared to put in the hard work, don’t, because it is a serious commitment. Kids lose interest quickly, and adults forget that some puppies grow into big dogs that bark a lot. Tying them up the whole day or leaving them to roam outdoors in the hot sun are not acceptable.

So as the temperatures soar, and tempers run short, I hope we will spend a little more time thinking about others less fortunate and maybe that will help us have a better day. Here’s wishing you a peaceful and blessed Ramadan.

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