Madhuparna Roy and her husband with Whiskey
KOLKATA: A dog has always been a man’s best friend but the furry pet is also turning out to be a saviour in these extraordinary times when social distancing and isolation are pushing humans into the arms of anxiety and depression. Scores of families craving for companionship during lockdown have welcomed home puppies, and city breeders say their business is booming.
Homemaker Mita Ghosh’s life changed completely after her daughter gifted her Leo, a 40-day-old cocker spaniel. “Now, time flies. Boredom and frustration have vanished from our lives as we spend hours playing, feeding and taking care of Leo,” gushed Ghosh.
Southern Avenue resident Ujjaini Dutta decided to bring home a puppy when the lockdown started telling on her family’s mental health. “Oreo’s arrival has brought a positive change in each member of the family and our bonding has become better as we cuddle him, play with him and see his antics together,” she said.
Before the lockdown, busy lifestyles had stopped many working couples from adopting a dog. With work from home becoming the new normal, they are now fulfilling their cherished dream of owning a puppy. So, when business analyst Madhuparna Roy spotted a Facebook post from a dog owner who was unable to take care of her golden retriever, she immediately contacted her and bought Whiskey. “My husband and I are both working from home now and so we will be able to take care of her,” Roy said, adding that her furry friend has become the centre of attraction in the family.
According to practising psychoanalyst Nilanjana Sanyal, pets have a huge role to play at a a time when communication is limited to the digital medium and a growing sense of dissatisfaction is engulfing human beings. “We are used to meeting people in person, giving adda, laughing together over a joke. But there is so much fear and anxiety now and we are unable to hug our loved ones. There is no scope to touch and feel. With pets, the entire scenerio changes as people can touch them, nurture them, cuddle them. A sense of oneness develops and there is immense satisfaction,” she said.
Ushashi Basak, dog breeder by passion, feels the void in people’s lives are being filled up by the furry friends. “Family members and friends may fail to give us company or uplift our mood but dogs and puppies never fail as their love is unconditional. In these trying times, caring for a dog helps to overcome the monotony and loneliness and gives our lives a purpose,” she said adding that she sold and gifted five puppies — four Cocker Spaniels and a Doberman — during the lockdown.
“The demand for labradors, golden retrievers, pugs, German shepherds, cocker spaniels and beagles have surged as people battle loneliness,” said breeder Ratan Sharma, adding that the sudden demand has led to a sharp spike in prices but that hasn’t been a deterrent for buyers.
Kishore Ghosh, another city breeder, said the demand for pups is now outstripping supply leading to a rise in prices. While many of them were unable to breed dogs during the prolonged lockdown due to communication problem, others were apprehensive of the market and stopped breeding. “As a result prices have soared. A Golden Retriever puppy, which usually costs around Rs12,000-14,000 is now selling for Rs22,000-24,000,” he said.