First World Problems: A Sweet‑Talking Dog Lover


May 18, 2016


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First World Problems is a funny advice column for India’s first world population. Write to Judy (confidentially!) at contact@theswaddle.com if you’ve broken a nail, felt a little blue, yellow or green lately,
or had a strange encounter of the any-numbered kind.


PROBLEM: My friend is a strong supporter of animal rights and has been trying to get me to adopt a dog for a long time. I don’t want a dog. Now, the same friend is trying to convince my son he needs a dog and of course, he’s starting to talk about wanting one. How do I stop this before it spirals?

Tell her (assuming it’s a her ‘cause it usually is) that you’ll be happy to — if she can commit to the waking at unearthly hours to clean poop part. Also, the regular bathing and feeding parts. Oh, and the expenses part (if you’re using Royal Canin, he’s going to be more expensive than your son, I kid you not). And you and your son would be in charge of affection and belly rubs.

Of course, she’d have to sign a contract to that effect.  I mean, what kind of fraud rescuer would want to place a dog with someone who is very clear she can’t commit to one? I tell you, rescuers are the new vegans: I remember a time when vegans were so out of control in their evangelical zeal that they could convince unsuspecting strangers crying alone in restrooms at parties that their problems were not the result of heartbreak, but dairy.

So, just stay strong and hope it’s a passing phase for your friend. If it isn’t and you can’t get her off your back, tell her you’ve found God and would like to take her along for the next Assembly of God meeting. Verily, I say unto you – you will never see her face again.

PROBLEM: I think my friend’s young daughter has allergies, and the family is ignoring them. The girl has had red, teary eyes for weeks and sneezes all the time, but they’ve not taken her to a doctor and seem to think she is like that only. Do I say something?

Of course! I mean, I get that you’re worried about coming across as intrusive, and it’s always heartening to see more Indians being conscious of other people’s boundaries. But this isn’t intrusion; it’s more like an intervention. “She is like that only?” Dear God. Reminds me of the lady with the grotesquely large tumour protruding out of her stomach in Grey’s Anatomy. She sees the doctor too late, and I remember thinking this can’t possibly go unnoticed in real life. But now I finally have closure on that fictional lady’s story – her family probably did notice and brushed it away with, “she is like that only.”

But to be fair, I suppose all families are guilty of this at some level. I mean, I did go through a mushroom cut + skull earrings + Anthrax T-shirt phase in my early teens, and my parents never said anything. It may not have killed me, but it did result in social death.


Written By Judy Balan

Judy Balan is a bestselling author and blogger popular for her quirky, often self-deprecatory humour. She is a self-proclaimed expert at American pop-culture with a sitcom/romcom quote for all of life’s situations. Judy believes that if she’s made you laugh, smile or even snort in the middle of a stressful day, her job here is done. Follow her at her website judybalan.com, on Twitter @judybalan, or on Facebook.


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