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WHY I DONT EAT MY BEST FRIEND .........

I always knew that the Koreans and the Nagas eat dog meat. I was apalled when my own tribesmen the Mizos began eating it, when I visited my hometown many years back. It was done in a surreptitious manner – confined mainly to those „alcoholics‟ who roamed the streets unaware of themselves and other such lowlifes.

However, when I last visited my hometown, I was but stunned to see it become pretty much commonplace. The elders and „decent‟ folks still avoid it, but it was there in all the markets in full sight, nothing surreptitious. It stunned me for some reason, primarily because it occured to me that I belonged to a tribe that had innured itself to such niceties as emotions and „heart‟.

I, of course am a dog lover. Our first dog was an un-intelligent, irritating, but much loved white pomeranian called Snowy, who passed away shortly after we left it behind with friends, while we relocated 5 states away. The next dog we had was smuggled into our house it was an inside job; till the disappearing milk packets gave it away. We fought for names for it, and the one who cried the most won. It was called Shadow. She was a pure black labrador, born to beige or tawn coloured parents. She also had a deformed left paw which made her hobble. As all labrador owners know, these dogs are a blessing. She was intelligent, very gentle, loyal, caring and learnt fast. She also ate anything! She ate greens as much as she did meat or milk. She is the only dog I know of who politely stood near the tap outside the kitchen, waiting to be bathed. She never protested. When I recall how she would jump and loyally fetch back whatever I threw if I yelled “catch”, it tugs at my heart strings. In all her life, this dog never bit anyone. Of course she was a big dog and a growl sufficed most times.

A new labrador entered our house years later, while I was away in college. I met the newcomer all grown up. He was also a labrador, tawn and quite perfect actually. He didnt recognise me. Big mistake. When he tried to treat me as a stranger, I was surprised to see the smaller Shadow, literally get up and growl at this young male dog. Clearly a first, I actually saw the stunned young dog physically flip between Shadow and me, to and fro, several times. The same docile Shadow who usually never stood in his way and ate side by side with him everyday, was now standing up in full height, tail fully erect AND baring her teeth at him. Smart dog, he turned tail and quickly ran away, while a happy Shadow whined and cried at my feet as I tickled her. She had missed me you see ....

Life is such, I met the „new „dog again many years later. He had changed a lot he was much bigger and thicker older. As soon as he saw me, he quietly lay down, face between his front paws and looked away. Not a peep, or rather a bark. The moment I turned away from him, he would gaze at me! He was as docile as could be. Not a murmer he remembered me you see. I could give you numerous other instances, but then we have all heard some such a story.

Dogs are descendants of wolves. They are the first animals to be domesticated by man. It was useful even in those days when man was a hunter and gatherer because it was first and foremost loyal, and also because it could hunt, fetch, act as a guard, protect and was low maintenace, but intelligent. While he became more domesticated with time, his cousins, the wild dogs continue to

roam the African jungles in packs and are the most dangerous and successful hunters in the animal kingdom.

Of course, there are sevral types of domesticated dogs today. From the Dobermans, the Rottweilers, the Poodles and the Daschunds to the teeny tiny Chihuahuas made famous by Paris Hilton. All dogs will not be the same just as all men are not the same. But their inherent qualities remain the same. Man has cross bred dogs to suit him and this has resulted in many new breeds. The Daschund for examble is one such product. This tiny sausage shaped dog was originally a big guy, a hunting dog. Thus, even after all the breeding down to its present size, even after all these years, this fellow still reacts like a big dog, a hunting dog. He BARKS, never squeaks, no matter his size. So it is with their inherent trait of loyalty.This is the first quality that endeared him to our ancestors, and while the levels may vary down the line, it remains intact. Depending on the owners themselves of course, and other factors, dogs will not hesitate to give their lives for you. Ever.

This is the problem that I have with my fellow tribesmen. Have we hardened our hearts so much? We are not short on meat. We do not not have options. Our social, legal and religious laws and ethics permit us to eat pretty much as we please. Why do we still need to eat dogs? We commonly eat chicken, mutton, fish, crabs, prawns, escargots / snail, and pork is an obsession (and rightly so ).

I once asked a neighbour why he said, its just an animal. I asked him if he would eat a dead man – he was shocked and said “of course not!”. What really is the harm then in eating a dead man? Our ancestors did it and the benefits could be many:

1)

The proteins has to be good. We are an active lot!

2)

Since its not common, the eater could gain some as yet un-heard of protein.

3)

It would save everyone some land in terms of burial spaces or cleaner air in cases of

4)

cremation. It would save many people the funeral costs etc.

5)

It would reduce the demand for other meats and save many people from starvation.

Yet, inspite of all these benefits, we do not eat our dead. WHY?? Because it has to do with our mind. Whatever else, even if our stomach can, our mind cannot digest the fact that it is eating its own kind. Of course, it also decreases general paranoia. When a family member dies, we associate the dead person with all the wonderful memories good and bad that we shared together with them down the years. We send it away as best as we can, tearfully, knowing how much love existed between that person and us. Sure a dog is not a human, but it lived in our houses, played with us, missed us whilst we were away, welcomed us with un-abated joy when we got back, walked with us, fought for us, protected us and our property and most of all, un-judgingly loved us and trusted us. It doesnt stop loving you or being loyal to you because you cheated on your spouse or becasue you copied in an exam or because everyone else hates you. It STILL wags its tail everytime you come back from a war, from the office, from the garbage or even from space. Dogs are like that - You are its hero! I know of no other animal who will willingly live with man, be loyal to that man for the rest of its

life and love him till his last. And what does he want in return for all that? Your attention, your company. Thats all .... Now why would I want to eat someone like that just because I can?

PLEASE DONT EAT ME, I ONLY WANT TO PLAY WITH YOU .......

life and love him till his last. And what does he want in return for all