Q1. How long is a dogís memory?

A.It depends on the situation. They remember nasty and nice for years. Out of my 24, I have four dogs who remember nothing so they jump on me everyday and are oblivious to the repercussions. My blind Labrador has to walk six feet in a straight line to reach the door and has forgotten the way every day for five years. If you are training or catch a dog doing something unwelcome (chewing, peeing in the house, etc), if you don't punish the dog in the first 3-5 minutes, it will not understand why it is being punished. So in that case, a dog has a great memory, but memories of transgressions are pretty limited

2. There is a big Neem tree near my house and often I find pigeons under the tree that are wounded. I want to help them but am afraid to hurt them , so how do I help them?

A. The right way is to cover them with a light, soft cloth like a hanky. Once their eyes are covered , they will not struggle. Pick them up gently holding over the wings so that cannot flap and injure themselves and put them in a padded cardboard box with breathing holes. Now remove the cloth and take them to an animal hospital.

3. There is a cat whom I feed regularly. Now the cat has given birth to a number of kittens and I find it very difficult to take care of all of them. What should I do?

A. Feeding cats is wonderful but you should have had her sterilized as soon as you made friends. Do it now. Look after the kittens and see if you can find them homes. Cats always bring good luck and there are very few of them left (most are killed and eaten as chicken).

Q4. When I was young, my parents always took me to the circus and I thought it was great fun. My children refuse to go because they say that the animals are mistreated. Is that true?

A. Yes it is. Circus animals are beaten and starved to perform 'tricks'. They are deprived of food for extended periods during transportation. Besides these circuses are a front for poachers who steal wild animals from their natural habitats and trade in their skins and other parts. I had wild animals removed from circuses because circuses had killed hundreds of tigers and sold their skins. I have just been involved in getting dental treatment for a circusí blind hippopotamus when I discovered that all the circuses have blinded their hippos to make them easier to deal with. India has so many talented acrobats and other performers. Where is the need to torture animals?

Q5. Should my dog always be on a leash when I walk him? He is trained to be obedient.

A.I would be happy to say no, since dogs love to run free but having loose dogs is asking for trouble. You never know what can happen. Your dog might be trained, but other dogs, children, adults, and cars might not be so well trained. Why take a chance? Trained or not, something that could provoke the dog to do something unexpected. In their own interest, dogs should be kept on leashes in public places.

Q6. Why is my puppy scared of other puppies?

A. The puppy needs to be socialized to people and other animals without being made aggressive or allowed to become the master of the house. Take your dog for a walk. When other dogs walk by, be calm and just continue walking. If dogs stop and sniff then this is good; it's how they say "hi". Go to the entrance of the park with your dog and let her watch all the other dogs just walk by her then run and have fun. Eventually, she'll get it. What you need to know is that the puppy will follow you. If you display fear and timidness, the puppy will think this is correct behavior because you are her leader.

Q7.Why does my dog sleep all day?

A. Dogs sleep about 13 hours per day but itís a semi sleep and they wake up more frequently than people do. How much and when pets sleep varies enormously depending on the social and physical environment. A dog living as a pet in an apartment may sleep much more than one working as a dog on a farm. Pets adjust their activity and sleep cycles so that they are active when people and other animals are active. During colder weather dogs sleep more. Don't force your dog to wake up. Anything unusual and he will be up to alert you.

Q8. Why is my rabbit scared of me and how do I stop it?

A . Slow movements are important. New rabbits will naturally be afraid of you at first. You have to slowly get them used to your touch over many weeks. Don't let their behaviour put you off touching them. If you avoid them, they will only become more afraid of you when you do touch them because you will continue to be unfamiliar. So touch them gently every single day to get them accustomed to you. Just start with a few short sessions of light petting with one or two fingers. Pet them when you put food in the cage so they associate petting with a positive experience. Once they are more comfortable with that, use your whole hand to pet them. Eventually, you may be able to pick them up. But if you do, make sure their feet are not dangling--this makes animals feel like they will fall and they'll squirm to get down. They need to feel secure.

Q9. My cat is sneezing a lot. Should I be concerned?

A. Check your cat's eyes to see if they're running or "gooey". Runny eyes can indicate an upper respiratory infection. If she's wheezing, that's also a warning sign. These thingscome on slowly and build up steam. Cats have a higher body temp, so you can't tell just by touching them if they have a fever. They will also continue to eat when an infection is still in its beginning stage.





Concept: Gautam Grover Model: Nathassha Sikka Photography: Manish Manchanda

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