BOOKS: Pets ‘N’ Us
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, March 2009:
Pets ‘N’ Us by Purnima L. Toolsidass
in consultation with Debasis Chakrabarti
Allied Publishers (www.allliedpublishers.com), 2008.
264 pages, paperback.
“The purpose of Pets ‘N’ Us,” author Purnima L. Toolsidass
told ANIMAL PEOPLE, “is to make people who have pets–or plan to get
one–more sensitive to their needs, and more conscious of their
responsibilities. I wanted people to think of using pets as a
therapy for helping stressed children or unhappy adults. I wanted
them to know that pets can be fun and be a great source of comfort.
I read out every point to Debasis Chakrabarti, since he is an animal
psychologist and an expert on dogs.”
Pets ‘N’ Us would be much improved by the addition of a
comprehensive index. Most of the advice offered by Toolsidass and
Chakrabarti will be familiar to people in places where dogs and cats
have long been kept as indoor pets–but in India, where the numbers
of pet dogs are just approaching the numbers of street dogs and most
cats are semi-feral, much about pet-keeping is still poorly
understood. Some points of discussion, such as how to sort out the
relationships among pets and servants, may not be found in pet care
manuals from any other part of the world.
Chakrabarti founded the Compassionate Crusaders Trust in
Kolkata in 1993. Toolsidass became one of his first volunteers. In
1994, at request of People for Animals founder Maneka Gandhi, they
assumed management of the Kolkata PFA chapter. Effective at the
beginning of 2009, Chakrabarti continues to head the Compassionate
Crusaders Trust, focusing on helping wildlife, working animals,
and livestock, but has resigned from PFA-Kolkata; Toolsidass heads
PFA-Kolkata, focusing on managing the Kolkata Animal Birth Control
program, but has resigned from the Compassionate Crusaders Trust.
This too was at Mrs. Gandhi’s request, after she conflicted with
Chakrabarti about seeking matching funding for the ABC program from
the Kolkata city government.
Despite rumors of a bitter split, and financial stress
afflicting both charities, Toolsidass and Chakrabarti each spoke
warmly and well of the other in e-mails about Pets ‘N’ Us.