Nagas have a unique history and culture of dog companionship. One needs to know all these before being judgemental
The dogs’ natural abilities and senses have always complimented and extended those of its human companions, whether they are farmers, hunters, or city dwellers. The importance of human-dog bonding has attracted increased attention owing to its psychological aspect. It is believed that humans develop positive feelings and behavior while caring for dogs because a bond similar to that in human mother-infant relationship can be formed between humans and dogs. Attachment or social bonding can have a positive influence on the psychological and physiological aspects of a human being. It is said that not only owning dogs, but also the degree of attachment that humans have towards dogs, is linked to human health, well-being, and the development of positive feelings.
Dogs have undoubtedly established a niche for themselves in human society, as companion animals that are closest to and most loved by humans. The fact that dogs use gaze to communicate proves their high social cognitive ability and is very important in investigating the specific relationship between humans and dogs. Dogs form a multimodal concept of their owners using visual and auditory cues. This indicates that dogs can discriminate between their owners and unfamiliar person. A dog’s gaze is considered to be a significant cue for social contact in humans.
The dog has always been an integral part of Naga history and culture. All the communities have their own breeds that are unique in their appearance but have a similar temperament that is dominant, independent, loyal, faithful, protective, and has a hunting instinct. The white long coated-dog called the Naga dog by colonel Shakespeare (the kennel encyclopedia 1908) and the single coat bear look-alike Tangkhul safa known for its dignity, independence, faithful, loyalty, hunting instinct referred to as “true Naga breed” by anthropologist Ursula Graham Bower are worth mentioning.
Ursula quoted “...not a dog but a personality entered the household. He was, it is true, a hound of the old, true Naga breed; big, massive beasts resembling Chows. But nobody could have confused Khamba with a mere canine. His independence, his dignity, alone marked him as apart. By the time he was full-grown he knew exactly where he came in the household, directly after me, but above the men, whom he has treated always with an affectionate courtesy.”(Naga path, 1950).
Nagas considered the dog as their best friend since offering companionship and loyalty. Naga feels incomplete without a dog in every household. In the daily livelihood, the dogs are a partner for the hunter, companion for the travelers, assistance for a senior citizen, playmates for the child, and a protector for a family. For the Nagas, dogs are not just a pet but he is a part of the family.
They share the same house with the owner, sleep beside him, and occupy the fireplace during the winter. Apart from the main door, there’s a smaller door made for the dog. The dog decides where to stay according to his convenience and not by the owner’s will.
The dogs are trained, not chained. All dog breeds are treated with love and trained with respect. The dogs are fed first.
Aged dogs are treated with love and are not abandoned. He stays with his owner until the end. Aged dog is believed to be calmer, obedient, and understand his owner's emotions. Unethical breeding of dogs is not supported by the community and the Nagas have the same emotional attachment with the indigenous breed used by their ancestral and exotic breed. While the love for exotic dogs breed has increased in recent years; the ancestral canine companion is still preserved and regarded as a valued treasure. The love of dogs is not based on their, breed, appearance, or temperament. They are loved as it is. The Nagas have a unique history and culture of dog companionship. One needs to know all these before any judgemental point. One-sided judgment is the hypocrisy of liberals and often ends with chaos.
An animal activist must also know that buying an expensive dog and ignoring street dogs, cuddling a puppy, and abandoning an aged dog, loving a dog but ignoring other animals can’t be called an animal lover. Unethical breeders and backyard breeders don’t deserve to be called a cynophilist. Every creature on earth is worthy of care and love and deserved to be treated with kindness and respect. Protecting an animal by stigmatizing a community because of their food habits is no better than animal cruelty.