As they say, "man's best friend is a dog." This also holds true for women. God is the anagram of dog, which might suggest that they are unique in some way.
It's about time that stray dogs - dogs that are, in a sense, down on their luck - were treated with consideration, kindness, and compassion.
They roam the streets in search of food, shelter, and human kindness and bring out the best or worst in people.
Much to the nation's disgrace, it's an all too common sight in Bangladesh to see children as young as five kicking dogs or throwing stones at them. Despicable acts I've come to expect, but would never condone. This deplorable behaviour must stop. It's neither good for man or beast.
The other day in Baridhara, however, I saw a Bengali woman do something I never thought I would see in a month of Fridays: she gave a dog some food on the street!
Not just give him the leftover of a sandwich, biscuit, tit-bit (or whatever), but a decent meal of bones and rice that she had brought from home.
I watched her walk over to the dog, talk to it, take the bag that held the food, and place it in front of him like she was serving a celebrity in a five-star restaurant!
She spoke to the dog nonstop while he was eating, giving it pats on the head and backs, and most likely sympathetic, encouraging and loving words. The dog responded with such fervor that it seemed like he wished he had two or more tails. One tail just wasn't enough for him to express how much he had appreciated the meal! It was a joyful sight and one I'll always remember.
I started to cross the street to talk to the woman, but the traffic that separated us got really bad. I lost sight of her when I momentarily diverted my attention to focus on getting across safely.
Angel of mercy
She was nowhere to be found when I got there. She had vanished as mysteriously as she had appeared, much like an angel, and to the dog (perhaps even to me), she was an angel.
Food waste, not scarcity, is a major issue in the world, but it shouldn't be. It is completely inhumane and shameful to show no regard or compassion for our fellow travelers on this earth, whether they are human or animal.
When there are hungry dogs and cats roving the streets in search of a few scraps to help ensure their survival and the survival of their offspring, it makes no sense to throw the meat bones, chicken bones, rice, and other leftover food in the trash.
It's of no relevance whether we like cats and dogs or not. We're all God's children, allegedly, and expected to act Godlike with human decency, compassion, and consideration towards the needs of others, especially those down on their luck. It's helpful to be mindful of the adage, "There but for the grace of God, go I".
Feeding a dog, down on its luck, is testament to what's in our hearts and there should always be a window in a person's heart for compassion to emerge. Feeding a stay dog and its puppies is a noble start.
You can help the homeless and hungry
I call to action, directed primarily at the youth of Bangladesh, the future of Bangladesh. I ask them to assist in addressing and resolving the grief, hunger, and despair that stray dogs and their puppies' unnecessarily experience.
I suggest that one young person per household volunteers or is put in charge of gathering all the leftover food (not veggies) and putting it in a small bucket, container, or plastic bag in the kitchen. Then, the following day, when going to school or the mosque to give it to a dog - any dog.
It is that easy and it costs nothing. I'll guarantee that everyone who does will experience an enrichment of spirit, an invocation of euphoria, and an enormous amount of gratitude expressed by the wagging tails of the dogs.
The feel-good-about-yourself factor is also immeasurable and no doubt almighty Allah is making notes. Feed a friend today.
Sir Frank Peters is a former newspaper and magazine publisher and editor; a humanitarian, canine admirer, human rights activist, and an Honorary Member of the Bangladesh Freedom Fighters. e-mail: SirFrankPeters@gmail.com
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