March 19th: a day full of way too much food, so many colorful fabrics, and too many dogs we couldn’t pet.
As Americans, most if not all of us have some type of domesticated animal, whether it is a fish, guinea pig, cat or dog. We treat these animals as if they were a part of our family, feeding and cooking them specific meals just to fit the complexities of their diet. They join our Christmas card pictures, have birthday celebrations, and frequently have a better treat collection than the family’s snack collection. Now, as we walked through Lodhi Gardens today in the nice part of New Delhi, we were instantly greeted with the wagging tails and grins of about six dogs. Therefore, when we saw dogs, our hands instantly reached out to pet their adorable faces, only to quickly remember the reality: these aren’t anyone’s dogs. The dogs that roam the streets of Delhi own and control their own lives. There is a sense of freedom and peace associated immediately with the timid beasts as they clearly formed familial connections between all of them. As we sat in a circle for orientation, we were able to examine and watch the dogs play, run, and defend themselves. I felt like I was in my local dog park, watching my own puppy play and run around wildly. In some ways, I was a little jealous of these dogs, for they had all the freedom in the world, but in reality, they also had to fend for their lives at night, fighting over food.
During our time in the circle, a friendly puppy decided to make himself at home in the middle of our circle. He walked right in, and plopped himself in the front of everyone, acting as if we weren’t there. Then, he simply drifted off to a blissful sleep, while we sat in that flower-filled park, talking about our excitement of next two weeks.