Pepper

The day before the 72nd Independence Day, I was on my way to the office as usual and was looking forward to the mid-week holiday the next day. It was a much-needed break, and I had made plans in advance.

As I rode through a narrow lane, my eyes fell on this puny little thing busily sniffing the pavement unaware of anything else around it. I stopped by the side of the road and looked around to see if its mother was around, but found not a single adult dog in sight. I tried asking the residents about the little puppy and discerned that some boy had apparently dropped her off there deliberately. She was motherless. And the traffic in the narrow lane would be anything but benign to the puppy. I didn’t want to leave her behind to her fate. But I couldn’t take her home as well; mom would definitely not approve. I fought my instinct and rode a little farther down the road before stopping and placing a call to a colony friend wanting to ask her if she could keep the puppy in her garden until we could find someplace permanent. She didn’t receive the call. By then, the puppy had made its way down the road to where I was and was now standing right in the middle of the road obstructing the traffic. She stood there right in front of a car that was now honking annoyingly trying to make her move off the road. I guess that was enough a trigger to drop all reasons and carry her home, much to the annoyance of my mom. I took the day off and promised her I would do something by the end of the next day.  And that is how. Pepper. came. home.  IMG_20180814_114425835

We gave her a bowl of milk to drink and she lapped up hungrily. She was extremely malnourished at one-month-old with her ribs showing. We placed a box for her in the balcony to sleep in, and she quietly crept in and curled into a ball.

Ginger was initially amused at the new entrant. When her curiosity died out after some time, she kept to herself for the rest of Pepper’s stay at home, not once trying to seek attention, completely ignoring the new presence, and even growling at the little one occasionally on being playfully approached.

Pepper was unusually quiet for a puppy the first day she came home. She was still taking in her new surroundings. She would come out of her box when hungry, eat a little, pee, and then would jump back into her box and fall asleep. She slept the majority of times during her stay with us.

For the next four nights, Pepper slept in my room, and Ginger was made to sleep in the living room, much to her surprise and, maybe even, annoyance, but she didn’t let it show. We kept a bowl of mashed rice and milk next to the little one’s box and spread sheets of newspaper on the floor. She woke up a few times at night, helped herself to the food, peed on the newspaper, and jumped back into the box.

IMG_20180815_132549444She opened up a little on the second day and showed her playful side. At one moment she was throwing tantrums and the very next she walked out the door and sat a little farther from the gate staring longingly into the distance. Her sudden change in demeanor made me sad. From then on, whenever she went quiet, she would go sit by the gate.

She needs constant human touch. If I happened to squat or sit down on the floor to talk to her, she would climb up onto my lap and sit there long until I had to coax her to get down. She is clingy in a way that would melt your heart; cannot blame the little one, for the circumstances she found herself in only makes her seek warmth, love, and security even more desperately.

Even after the end of the second day, my desperate attempts at finding a home or a foster for her turned futile. Mom put out all her frustration on me and I ended up mentally exhausted trying to defend my position on keeping Pepper until the weekend while we could arrange some place safe for her. The following day at the office was anxiety-ridden, my mind coming up with all possible ways in which things could go wrong at home resulting in me being shouted at for the ‘disaster’ I had brought home and a dire decision taken for Pepper. But when I got home, I was relieved to see mom playing ball with Pepper.

 

 

 

 

Pepper1
Before the send-off

On the fourth day, we could connect with a fosterer who was willing to take Pepper in until adoption, despite already caring for more than seven cats and five dogs, all abandoned and rescued, single-handedly.

The following day, after a visit to the vet, Pepper made her way to her foster home. She bonded with another pup Vasu and soon both were inseparable.

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Pepper and Vasu

After exactly a month, Vasu got adopted into a family and Pepper soon followed after they realized Vasu was dearly missing his companion. However, after just two weeks, Pepper was back at the foster’s. The family gave a lame string of excuses for deciding not to go forth with her adoption of which one was that she doesn’t bark enough.

And hence, the little girl is on the lookout for her forever home again. Under the loving care of her foster mom, she has put on healthy weight. She is now four months old.

IMG-20181009-WA0001       IMG-20181031-WA0002

 

 

 

 

 

We only hope she finds her forever family very soon. For every dog deserves a loving home.

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Embrace The Leaping Bunny

“Ask the experimenters why they experiment on animals, and the answer is, ‘Because the animals are like us.’ Ask the experimenters why it is morally okay to experiment on animals, and the answer is, ‘Because the animals are not like us.’”
– Charles Magel

rabbit-leaping-bunny-logo

Animals pay the price for just being animals. They end up not just being exploited for food, but also for entertainment and fashion. Testing cosmetics, detergents, drugs, and other products on animals before being released into the market is as abhorrent as it can get.

Some time ago, I came across an article that spoke of what we can do as consumers against animal testing. I think it best to pass it on.

As consumers we can:

  1. switch to using products that aren’t animal tested and are organic (such products usually come with a leaping bunny mark on the label at the back, mention either ‘not animal tested’ or ‘vegan’, or have a green dot symbol)
  2. let the companies know that their policy of testing their products on animals is not going down well with you and that you boycott their products till they change their ways

You can identify the brands you use that tests on animals and write a feedback to them in their consumer portal saying that you choose to stop using their products for they continue to carry out testing on animals.

I wrote to Colgate-Palmolive and Hindustan Unilever Limited. The following are the responses from them:

Dear Ms. _______________:

Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts about the use of animals in product safety testing. The Colgate-Palmolive Company has a longstanding worldwide policy to minimize and to ultimately eliminate animal testing for all consumer products.

Central to this commitment are our 30-year long efforts to encourage the development of alternatives that are scientifically valid and can be accepted by safety regulators. We are leaders in promoting, encouraging and participating in the development, validation and acceptance of alternative non-animal testing methods worldwide, investing over a million dollars annually on research with non-animal alternatives. We work closely with worldwide regulatory agencies to examine how non-animal tests can be incorporated into their safety requirements for consumer products.

We also continue our commitment to finding and using alternative methods through support and involvement with the European Partnership for Alternative to Animals (EPAA) and the Institute for In Vitro Science (IIVS). Colgate actively shares its work to reduce animal use and develop alternatives, so that this information can help others in their search for ways to minimize animal use.

Globally there are circumstances when regulatory agencies require animal testing. In such limited instances, the tests are conducted only at contract testing facilities that meet both government standards and the more rigorous requirements established by Colgate with input from animal welfare groups.

We look forward to a day when all necessary safety studies can be performed without the use of animals and we will continue to work to make that day come sooner.

For more detailed information on this important topic, we hope you will visit our website at www.colgatepalmolive.com. Once on the site click on the “Our Company” tab, then select “Sustainability” from the menu on the left. Scroll down, and then click “Click here for the most recent Sustainability Report,” and, once downloaded, go to page 67. You can also review our Product Research Safety Policy from the Sustainability page by scrolling down and clicking on Policies on the right-hand side.

Once again, thank you for contacting us about this important issue.

Regards,

Arpita Ash
Consumer Affairs
Colgate-Palmolive (India) Limited.

Dear Ms. ___________,

Thank you for your email.

We would like to assure you that Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) products are cruelty free. HUL is committed to the elimination of animal testing.

We truly appreciate your interest in our brand Hindustan Unilever Limited and we hope you continue enjoy using it.

Should you require any other information, you can also call us on our Toll-free number 1800-10-22-221 between 9 AM – 9 PM, 7 days a week.

Yours Sincerely,

Kavita Gohil
Consumer Engagement Centre (Levercare), India.
Hindustan Unilever Limited.

The second response is a blatant lie. In the second line, she assures me that HUL is cruelty-free and then goes on to contradict the statement by saying that it is committed to the elimination of animal testing as if it weren’t already done.

I wrote back:

Hello,

Thank you for the prompt response. However, going by your claim dove, axe, and other products under HUL ‘ARE’ cruelty free. I think that isn’t the case. There is a lot of difference between ‘ARE CRUELTY FREE’ and ‘ARE GOING TO BE CRUELTY FREE’. No, I cannot continue enjoying your products knowing very well that by continuing to be your consumer, I will only be taking part in funding your barbaric practice of putting innocent animals’ lives under threat. It just disgusts me outright to think that I was once a regular user of dove and few other products under your banner.

On a positive note, I will wait till the time you do away with the torture and murder to start happily using your products again.

Thank you.

With best Regards.

However, I got a reply that reiterated their previous claim. But there is not an ounce of truth in it.

Ergo, more the consumers switching to Eco-friendly products, the quicker will be the change in policies to come.

My personal favourites of Eco-friendly products: Biotique (Body wash, Shampoo, and Face wash), Lotus (face wash and body creams), Boro plus (all-purpose cream), and Vicco Vajradanti (toothpaste). There are many more animal-friendly brands in the market to choose from, suiting your choice and requirement. A little research and googling would help you find a valid list of products that test and products that don’t test on animals.

You must be the change you want to see in the world.

– Mahatma Gandhi

Hoping you choose the happy leaping bunny…

Until then.

Beat the Anxiety

Once the mind knows anxiety, there is no turning back. It isn’t as convenient as getting rid of a cold. Anxiety has a way of hijacking your life, the first time around that it showed and forever thereafter. You realize you can’t wish it away.

A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.

But you also realize that in order to have the upper hand on your anxiety, you need to learn to cope with this debilitating demon using as many coping mechanisms as you can. Sometimes, living such a measured life is very tiring. But I guess, that is the only way to go until our comfort zone expands a little to incorporate the activities that we once feared to do.

Writing down mini-goals for each new day makes it easier to achieve them. Somehow, instead of procrastinating, it makes me work on getting them done. For the last Saturday, the to-do challenge included getting a jegging exchanged that I had bought the previous day from a supermarket and collecting the passport-size photos from the photo studio. The very thought of it was enough to trigger the anxiety. But thankfully I knew that by backing out and putting it off until tomorrow, I would be doing myself a disservice. A lot of doubts kept doing the rounds in my head. What if they do not accept exchange? Should I go in from the entrance or the exit? Was the last counter at the back near the exit the help desk? Wasn’t it the cashier counter? What if I make a fool of myself in front of all those people there (it’s Saturday and the place would be brimming with people)? These thoughts started making me instantly sick in the stomach. So I thought it best to allay some of my fears by getting rid of some viable doubts.

I called up the help desk at the supermarket. The first time around, no one picked the call. So I decided to go anyway. But my stomach was still doing the flips. I decided to call another time and this time around someone received. I clarified if they had an option of exchange and he replied in the affirmative. He also told me to get an exchange pass from the security before going to the help desk.

After the call, my stomach felt better. A few of my doubts had been cleared and I was equipped with enough information to help me navigate when I got there. I drove to the supermarket, parked in the basement (I have been to this place enough times to know before-hand that the supermarket provides parking in the basement for no fee. And believe me that this piece of information added to my confidence. Otherwise, it would have been the very first thing on the list to cause anxiety), headed to the security counter, got my exchange pass, asked the person where I was to go from there, and as per his directions, went to the designated counter and finally got my jegging exchanged.

It felt no less than a herculean task to me. I drove to the studio later, but the photos weren’t ready. So I made my way back home. But I am happy I kept my word and saw this through. It adds to the list of my little achievements that I go back to, time and now, to remind myself of the little triumphs I have had over my anxiety and that I must never let go of hope.

It does make me sad sometimes. When everyone around me is a pro at running, I am still learning to walk. I am keeping count of the little milestones that are trivial to many but an achievement to me.

A world of Paradoxes

It’s shocking how humans are capable of turning a blind eye to atrocity as long as they are benefitting from it. But torment for torment, because karma comes back. Even more so when ignorance is chosen over making amends. It’s very easy to undermine, torture, and kill the mute, the voiceless and the defenceless, but it takes a very strong conscience to stand up for what is morally and ethically right. And hence, the ability to evolve into a compassionate and a considerate human, as is the need of the hour, defines his/her strength of character. Falling prey to primitive instincts is not the sign of a rational being, that humans today are so boastful of being. Sadly, the world today appears to be built on a rocky foundation of double standards and paradoxes.