No More Dog’s Life

No More Dog’s Life


ahmed mohiuddin siddiquiInternational columnist, political analyst and senior journalist Ahmed Mohiuddin Siddiqui’s articles are published across Asia, Africa and Europe. He writes for The Moroccan Times, The Tunis Times, India Tomorrow, Kohram NewsThe Etemaad Urdu Daily and for news papers published from Muscat, Sultanate of Oman. You can follow him on Twitter at: @journopolana[/symple_box]

Musqat, OmanA dog’s life was considered as a miserable and unhappy existence in the past. The expression – ‘a dog’s life’ was first recorded in a 16th century manuscript and alludes to the miserable subservient existence of dogs during this era. By 1660s, it became a proverb: ‘It’s a dog’s life, hunger and ease.’

Food and water Vending machine for dogs in Istanbul, Turkey.
Food and water Vending machine for dogs in Istanbul, Turkey.

Man’s miserable existence was sometimes compared to a dog’s life like this: ‘He has been leading a dog’s life since his wife left him.’ A dog is considered to be man’s best friend. Some westerners have even left their properties and big fortunes for their dogs by assigning wills enforceable by law. But all dogs are not born lucky. Many of them are stray dogs. Turkey’s historical city Istanbul has some 150,000 stray dogs. Pugedon – a company in the business of steam boilers thought of a novel way to feed the stray dogs.Engin Girgin working together with the company invented the ‘dog food recycling box.’ It was a totally new concept.

The box or the vending machine has three openings – one at the front almost at the eye level, a second one for liquids below and a third one on the right-hand side of the box near the ground. The first opening is to deposit the plastic water bottles or cans. A sensor recognizes whether the bottles are recyclable or not. If they are recyclable, a certain amount of dog food is released into the bowl in the opening on the lower right-hand side. If there is some water remaining in the bottle and the person does not want it anymore, it can be poured into the second opening and the liquid flows into a bowl located right next to the food.

The stray dogs get food without any expenditure incurred by the general public. and also the concept of recycling is catching on in Turkey.  People in 61 countries have liked the idea and have expressed interest. The vending machine project is a great example of social design, which feeds the hungry dogs and also keep cities clean. Once they get their fill, the dogs move away giving a chance to others. Dogs are neither greedy nor do they hoard. They have no problem of insecurity about where their next meal would come from.

Turkey is largely influenced by the great Sufi saint Mewlana Jalaluddin Rumi whose Persian poem – Love Dogs has been translated into English also. Rumi says:

Listen to the moan of a dog for its master

That whining is the connection.

There are love dogs

No one knows the names of.

Give your life

To be one of them.

It is only natural that such a noble effort comes from Turkey – the ancient civilization that showed the world the path of love without any barriers whether for human beings or other creatures. The picture below shows how Rumi’s quotes are popularized by a dog T shirt which reads:I have been a seeker and I still am, but I stopped asking the books and the stars. I started listening to the teaching of my soul.

dog tshirt

Human lives have changed. Why not a dog’s life? Change should be the only constant in life.