“Honestly, it is not easy to raise a pet alone but it’s not impossible either,” says Sathya N, the single father of a Siberian Husky. He adds, “Karna (the pup) has my full attention because I work from home but I know friends who have full-time office jobs and still manage to raise animals well. A friend of mine works the night shift; he’s single and has two pets. He keeps an eye on them when he’s away through two CCTV cameras he’s installed at home!”
If you decide to have a pet, be prepared for the responsibility, is a motto Sathya swears by. “Bringing Karna home is a decision I’ve never regretted — I’m a single man and he makes me feel less lonely. The day I got him, however, I knew I had to put his needs over mine. Despite having to sacrifice an evening outing or two, I enjoy taking care of Karna. The only annoying thing is that he doesn’t want to eat his food, but eyes everything I’m eating,” he jokes.
Renuka Jaypal, who runs an adoption platform called Tail Alert on Facebook, with Jayashree Ramesh, says, “I’m a single person with four dogs and have helpers on standby all the time. In fact, people who suffer from depression or any ailments can actually benefit a lot from having a therapy dog if they live alone.” Her team doesn’t turn down bachelors or single women when they have expressed interest to adopt a pet. A strict screening process helps find good homes. The interview process addresses issues such as:
- 10-year plan for the animal if a bachelor or a group of youngsters living together comes to adopt a pet. “I ask couples or individuals who are 70-plus the same question because looking after a dog becomes very difficult at their age,” she says
- When the individual goes to work or on holiday, what their back up plan is to look after the pet
- If the person(s) is sure of shouldering the responsibility of another life
- Where he/she plans to keep the dog Finally, “We ask the potential adopter to come in person to observe how the dog responds to the human and vice versa. If we feel the animal will be happy with the person, we proceed. This is followed up by house visits three months after the adoption,” she summarises.
Caroline and her partner Sunny, who are active in the theatre circuit, agree with Renuka. “There are people who understand animals and those who don’t — it doesn’t matter if you stay with family or not. Some shelters might hesitate to allow a couple in a live-in relationship like us to raise a pet because it may seem like an unstable home. My partner and I, however, passed the screening test when we were looking to adopt our pet, Shadow,” shares Caroline.
She argues, “Just because a person lives in an independent house with their family or has house help, it doesn’t mean it’s the right environment for a pet to grow up in.” Renuka seconds her statement. “We’ve met people with massive homes but the dog is made to live in a cement kennel outside or in the garden. Any pet wants a piece of your heart, not the land. It ultimately boils down to how a person will care for the dog,” she opines.