Adopting one dog can save him from leading a wretched life on the street and get the love and care he deserves. Loyalty and love are your FURever.
On a December morning, a little sunny day, it was snowing the last night. A female stray gave birth to six pups nearby below a rock cut opening. All black cute female pups except for that one white little male pup. Days passed, almost a month, I was staying nearby, played only with that little white one as it was the cutest and naughtiest of all. I felt as if he would turn out to be my best friend. Being nine years old, I didn’t have much of friends to be with. So the moment I saw him, I wanted him with me. I used to go and play with him in the evenings. He tried to follow me always, when I left, but I never let him do so as I was unsure of taking him home.
My first best friend
A few days passed, I realised I always wanted him to be with me, only evenings won’t work out. I adopted him, brought him home, with me. Jimmy my very loyal and my first best friend I ever had. At first he was not welcomed to home by my parents, but that innocent look he gave me, I knew I wouldn’t let him go, also I felt as if he also wanted to stay with me. I was stubborn to keep him, finally everyone had to agree. We both were very happy to have each other. I was reluctant to go to school, as the only thing I wanted do was play with Jimmy. I loved him and he loved me back.
Playing & exploring together
Jimmy grew up into a handsome big dog, cute and loyal. My parents decided to keep him outside only. He used to roam around like other strays when I went to school then came back in the afternoon for lunch and stayed till I came. In evenings we used to go and explore places. Jimmy became my all time friend. He followed me everywhere I went to play. He was there with me always. Since it was a hilly area, we explored the mountains and he accompanied me. We used to play a game, I rolled on my back and Jimmy used to catch hold me by my shirt. On one sudden day this play turned out to be an incident.
Jimmy saved me
One fine evening I with my two friends and Jimmy, of course, went to explore a nearby mountain. During winters, in the late evening, the grass got usually covered with water droplets. I was playing around and suddenly I somehow slipped and fell on my back rolling downwards. There was a water body below where I was heading. I had no idea about the depth of that water body. The first thing that came to mind was Jimmy. I don’t know why I shouted his name and he came running and managed to hold me by my shirt. I managed to grab hold a bush which slowed down my movement down the hill and I gradually came to a halt. I was very relieved to know that nothing uncertain happened and Jimmy was the one who turned down that uncertain. He saved me. This was just one incident that happened. This incident was a life saver to me, but yet I couldn’t tell anyone about Jimmy’s bravery as I was too young to go to such place without permission. Basically, I went there without anyone knowing. Jimmy continued to be around me for three years. He became a guard dog, at least for me.
We Lost him
After a couple of years my father intimated that we are expecting a transfer and we may be leaving the place soon. There was a discussion in my home, whether to take Jimmy along or not just because he was a stray. The conclusion was yet to come. I wanted him and I knew that. I wouldn’t have left without him. Days passed, there was an order passed by the corporation to kill the excess strays. They poisoned them. Jimmy never kept any belt in his neck. He too became the victim among those strays and got poisoned. We found his body lying near some bush after two days. We lost him. I couldn’t take him with me. Probably I failed to take care of him properly.
Longing for love and care
Barking, howling, dog fights to survive, roaming empty stomach is the kind of life a street dog leads. These breeds are mostly scavengers and become pets for the street and slum dwellers or most of the time homeless creatures longing for love and care. These pooches need some kindness. These canines either succumb to hunger, disease, accidents or they are killed inhumanely due to overpopulation by the corporation to control the stray population. They are devoid of care, love, affection. These four-legged creatures can be your best friend.
Glitches caused by stray dogs
These canines, dwell on the roads, loiter around and are very prone to accidents. They are sometimes unaware of the vehicles coming and injure themselves as well as the humans. Strays are not taken care of and get skin infections and other diseases which can cause detriment to them as well as the nearby humans. They do not get proper medication, thus may get rabies, which is dangerous for humans too. They dwell upon garbage bins in search of food which causes scattering of the garbage and causing inconvenience in the surroundings.
Why adoption is a good option?
These glitches will continue to remain as long as there are strays. One of the best ways out of this problem is adopting them. These poor canines have a tough time being shooed and shunted away from the society. Adopting as many as these pooches can give them a home and in return he will give you all his love. Adopting a stray can save him from the adversities and the miserable life he is leading. All they need is a loving family who accepts them as they are. They need to be treated humanely and need care, love and compassion.
Many of us have seen the sight of a tied up dog at the gate, entrance of the house or backyard lying listlessly with a sad look on his face. And we also come across happy dogs, wagging their tails in delight, living like a happy family member. It’s upto you to decide – how you wish to keep your dog.
Many a times, I have seen the poor pathetic dogs with a depressed look lying quietly in the corner-tied up and many a times with no bowl of fresh water or food in sight. I have stopped and questioned many of the families and asked them why they keep their pets tied up 24×7 and the normal reply I get is “They are a nuisance, they dirty the place, come in our way and they are meant to be watch dogs hence should be tied outside the house to guard the house”. I am astounded, shocked by these replies and no amount of my reasoning with them changes their attitude, which makes me wonder why go to the trouble of keeping a pet if they are to be treated like an unwanted being. Being stuck outdoors on a chain is like being a prisoner of war. Some common problems faced by chained pets:
Make them a part of the family: Dogs are social animals and like humans, they are constantly craving for contact, love & affection from their pet parents.
Unprotected in weather conditions: They are left unprotected in extreme weather conditions like heat, cold or rain. Hence, they can fall sick more often.
Behaviour issues: They tend to become lonely, frustrated and aggressive due to long hours of being chained with no activity.
Risk of attack: Since a chained dog is an unhappy dog, he can snap or attack when provoked.
Unclean surroundings: Since such dogs are not allowed to roam freely, they have to eat, sleep, defecate and urinate in a small area, which can become unclean, if not cleaned properly. This is unhygienic for both you and your pooch.
Accidental risk: Chains can get entangled in their limbs causing loss of blood circulation; they can also suffer from neck wounds, skin problems, rashes.
Risk to life: They face the risk of strangulation and many a times they are found lying dead with their chains entangled around their necks and bodies.
Remember it is inhumane: It is in humane to keep a dog tethered at all times.
Before you bring home a dog…
People who want or are thinking of keeping a pet should be ready to include them in their homes and most importantly in their hearts; they are a responsibility which you cannot afford to shun and ignore. Remember in the end, all they are asking for is love and affection, a pat, brush, scratch behind their ears, walks in the park and to curl up at your feet at night and sleep in the warmth of the house. Give them the respect, love and place they deserve in your lives and make theirs and your lives more joyful, beautiful full of love and affection.
Which breed of dog is perfect in size, fur neither too long nor too short, healthy and well-suited to the Indian climate, loving yet independent, friendly, adorable, and intelligent… all at the same time? Well, it is our very own Indian breed, of course! In other words, the common community dog, or pariah, who we see on our streets.
The demand for Pedigree dogs has boomed exponentially in India over the past few years. When families decide to add a new furry member to their crew, they contact a breeder for the perfect pup. Most of us would think that it is safe to assume these breeders keep the mother dogs and pups well and take good care of them. However, have you ever given a thought that our Indian pariah can also be a wonderful companion?
For every Pedigree pup purchased from a breeder, a perfectly healthy, lovable and equally qualified Indian community dog loses out on a chance to be taken off the streets and into a loving home. Indian dogs are highly appreciated for being sturdy, affectionate, loyal, smart and stronger than their exotic counterparts. There is absolutely no reason to buy a dog and contribute to a dark and cruel industry when you can adopt true love for free!
Each One Adopt One
So what is ‘Each One Adopt One’? Do we expect each and every one of you to adopt an Indian dog? The answer is YES! If each family on each street would feed and care for just one stray dog, ensuring that he is sterilised and vaccinated while giving him the freedom to be out as he pleases, that dog is not only perfectly healthy and social but also a guardian for the community. Take a moment to realise that the dog takes care of you too – there are so many instances of incidents wherein evil ploys of burglars and thieves were foiled by an alert and courageous community dog! Sterilisation and vaccination of your dog is a very important component as it benefits all members of the public as much as it ensures animal welfare, and can be done by your local animal rescue organisation for a very nominal donation.
Water bowl for strays
The ‘Water Bowl’ project is another initiative by animal lovers in cities all over India that simply encourages people to leave bowls of fresh water outside for stray animals and birds during the scorching summer months. These are small and random acts of kindness that truly have big, positive and immediate impact, also conditioning the community mindset in the long run to be more compassionate and sensitive to all living creatures.
Compassion Unlimited Plus Action (CUPA), a Bangalore-based NGO, is championing the implementation of new and strict Breeding Rules under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960, which aims at providing clear legal guidelines to individuals involved in commercial breeding of dogs. These soon-to-be formalised Rules will complement existing Animal Birth Control (Dog) Rules, 2001, which require breeders to register their dogs with the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) and gain permission to breed only after their facilities are inspected. Dog breeders will need to keep a record of all buyers of the pups apart from other stipulated conditions and lack of compliance with the terms and conditions of this Rule will attract severe penalties and even conviction for abuse and exploitation of their dog.
Voiceless India is a campaign which has been initiated to spread awareness about animal cruelty related issues such as animal testing, animal slaughter, abuse on streets, hunting, etc and support animals across the world. Here’s more on this noble move.
Animals are those souls who have a voice but remain unheard; therefore we call them the VOICELESS. They try to communicate pain, fear and love, but are ignored. They have a right to live a life without facing brutality but instead they die in vain. We need to give them our voice to make them heard.
Voiceless India has initiated bedding and feeding programmes for animals all around Noida, which involve providing comfortable beds to strays and giving them food. We are working in sector 119, 120 and 121 as of now and will increase our reach as more volunteers enroll themselves in.
A social work
Animal activism is a social work field which has come up greatly in the last few decades and I would call it one of the most important areas of social welfare in today’s world. The world we live in is a world made by humans which includes massive architectures, speeding cars, plastic waste, etc. so why should ANIMALS bear its negative consequences? Why should elephants and pandas not have a home because we want buildings? Why should dogs die under speeding cars because we want to reach far-away places on time in the most luxurious way possible? Why should birds choke on plastic garbage which we have used for our benefit and thrown out in the open? Why should anyone suffer from the undesirable effects of the human world but humans?
Strays deserve home
Stray dogs are the most amicable, expressive, understanding and loving breed of dogs and make the best companion one can ever have. They have the ability to make you smile in the darkest moments of your life and share the joy in the happiest ones, when you want to express yourself freely, but then why do they don’t deserve a home? A stray has gone through horrendous situations during his lifetime in the loneliest fashion which instills in him the strength, understanding and sensitivity to understand others. Humans claim to be the most intelligent, caring and sensitive creatures to walk the planet but how often do they find these beautiful words in their daily actions?
Animal activists from all around the globe protect animal rights and some are trying to bring them better conditions under which they live or work, but this is not the only way you can help animals. Easier ways exist and there is a long list, some of which are – giving stray dogs food around your locality, getting some blankets or mattresses made for them to snuggle in and sleep cosy in the winter, helping them find loving and adoring homes or volunteering in the nearest animal shelters.
Easy and affordable ways to support animals
- Ask your local cushion manufacturer to make 18 x 24 inch mattresses for strays to sleep on and then spread the mattresses around your locality. (Remember to ask someone around like a tea vendor or shopkeeper to keep an eye on them or else they might be picked up by rag-pickers!)
- Give a small bowl of porridge cooked in water and some milk, with a pinch of salt to strays at least once a day. (Remember to put just ‘some’ milk as the stray dogs can get an upset stomach if too much milk is added!)
- Volunteer in your nearest animal shelter to walk the dogs, help at the reception, raise funds, help out with the adoption or fostering of the shelter animals and if trained you can also help with the veterinary practices! (Remember to get yourself the preventive rabies shots for your safety!)
- Spread awareness about animal torture, cruelty and welfare amongst your Facebook friends and others.
- Collect information and basic knowledge about animal cruelty related issue to educate and inform the younger children in your locality by conducting informal or formal workshops.
Animal welfare NGOs like PETA have exposed so many rackets which reveal horrific truths of animal testing. It might be difficult for you to stop this, individually, but you can speak up against these practices by signing petitions which call the governments of many countries to put and implement a legal ban on them. Why do humans need products tested on animals which can be tested in simulators and on other substitutes giving more accurate and reliable results?
I call for a planet which is free from all sorts of animal torture and one which moves towards being compassionate and sensitive in actuality. Mahatma Gandhi rightly said, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated”.
(Ankit Puri is a social activist and very passionate about animal welfare and fighting for animal rights. He’s a student of XI Class at Step By Step School, Noida. Volunteers are welcome to support ‘VOICELESS INDIA’ by assisting their programmes. For detail,contact at: 9999515003).
Last summer, we got all the dogs of our colony sterilised with the help of Friendicoes SECA. But one female dog was left and in 2014 winter, she delivered three pups. Two pups died in a road accident while the sole survivor is a white pawed, black coloured pup. We call this pooch Fluffy. Fluffy truly is the fluffiest one I have ever touched in my life. He has become the apple of everyone’s eyes. This little one has managed to survive in Delhi’s chilling weather as well. We all have a lesson to be learnt from him as he never annoys about any of his problems. He is always in a joyful mood and ready to shower unconditional love upon every other person of the colony. He is also favourite of the ragpickers of our colony who ensure that he gets at least one proper meal in a day. He deserves applause for being a true example of ‘survival of the fittest’.
Let’s take care of our strays and give them the love and care they deserve.
–Kriti Kapur, Delhi
At times, it is heart wrenching to see the plight of pet parents having to drop their furry friend off at a boarding facility. A pleasurable boarding experience is the result of the pet parent and the boarding staff working in the interest of the pet. Here’s how to have a safe & secure boarding for your pooch.
While going on a trip where pooches cannot travel, pet parents have to put their furry friends in the caring hands. Many boarding facilities
for pooches are now available to make their stay comfortable. Here are a few tips to make boarding a pleasurable experience for your pooch.
- Pre-boarding essential: If your dog has never been boarded before, consider few hours of day care as well and at least one overnight boarding prior to the actual stay. This acclimatises the dog to the new environment and staff. It also gives an opportunity to the pet parent to give any feedback to the staff and vice versa.
- Set right: Get your dog used to other dogs, people, new environments, travelling in a car/vehicle and most importantly eating independently.
- Health chart check: Ensure that all his immunisations are current and that he is not suffering from any contagious disease.
- Anti-tick treatment…a must: Get your dog on an anti-tick/flea treatment as a preventive. Tick collars and spot-on applicators are effective.
- Deworm: Get your dog dewormed regularly.
- Feel at home: Bring any familiar clothing/object that smells of home.
- Keep him stress-free: If your dog gets anxious seeing you pack, drop the dog in the boarding facility before the suitcases come out! The less stressed the dog is, he will adjust faster.
- A word of caution: Let the staff know in case your dog has any abnormal fears (water, birds, etc), allergies (wheat, milk, etc) or has any medical condition (such as epilepsy, hip dysplasia, etc).
- Board during the day: Arrive as early as possible in the day, so the pet has enough outside time to make new friends before ‘lights out’.
- Make boarding a vacation: Dogs sense and reflect our feelings; don’t allow a family member to stage an emotional farewell. Keep your good-byes short and happy. Most dogs view their boarding stay as a vacation.
- Eating habits: While at boarding, eating habits of dogs may change – some eat a lot, while some may reduce their food intake. Some dogs do not eat for the first day in a new environment. Some dogs tend to gain weight while some tend to lose weight running around with other dogs, having a great time. So, do not panic.
- Share the diet chart: It would be best if the dog is kept on the same diet as at home. So let the boarding facility know his diet chart.
- Back home: Your dog will be very excited when you pick him up. Be calm with him.
- Let the sleeping dogs lie: Most dogs sleep a lot for the first couple of days after they return home. Let them take adequate rest.
(Hema owns and manages PETSPACE – a day care, boarding and grooming centre in Bengaluru).
From passion stems compassion and then the desperate need to help out the tiny paws… life is not that simple for an animal shelter volunteer. Let’s see why.
The word ‘volunteer’, according to Oxford Dictionary, means ‘a person who offers to do something without being compelled or paid’. Ordinarily, I would accept most meanings they come up with, but this one I have to mark as incorrect, most certainly with regard to the team of volunteers at the SPCA Animal Shelter in Noida. They go there because they are ‘compelled’ by a desperate need to help out, to give love and care, to somehow make a difference, to bring some joy into the lives of these ‘children of a lesser God’. They have limited medical knowledge, but they carry with them unlimited love and care. That makes up for a lot, as good intentions always do. And they do get ‘paid’… paid in pure love and total devotion.
Commitment to volunteer
Volunteering was just a vague idea in our minds when we started. We all had some free time, the idea was to go and help out the tailwaggers. We decided to start by helping out in the Puppies and Paralysed Dogs section in the animal shelter. This section also houses the abandoned pure breeds – all of them are heartbroken and need a lot of love and care. We also realised that coming in our free time would mean nothing. We needed to be here every day, free time would have to be created. It was a commitment we had made.
Melting the heart ‘hungry look’
Puppies are fragile. Maimed, ill, hurt puppies are doubly so and we decided to serve them a snack of Cerelac every afternoon to give them a boost. Feeding bottles were bought and we were on a roll. The tiny babies were bottle fed; the older pups lapped it up from the feeding bowls. We even made a makeshift puppy pen out of old wire netting to segregate them. Was all well? No. The older, paralysed dogs in the section watched us and waited for their turn to come. So, we added bread and eggs to the mixture after the puppies were fed and started to serve our paralysed adults too. They lapped it up and we thought we were set. Wrong again. The seemingly ‘healthier’ dogs, those who had healed somewhat from their injuries, now started to watch our every move with the fiercest of concentration. How could they be ignored? It is impossible not to get affected by melting eyes, showing deceptive hunger. So, we started to feed them too.
But it didn’t end there. Some of our pups caught secondary infections like colds and congestion and were moved to another room meant for this purpose. We fretted for our babies and followed them there to give them the snack they were used to. Here we were met with more candidates who had mastered the ‘melting the heart hungry look’. So, we started to feed them too. We also discovered another room where injured puppies were kept. They deserved the snack too. They came under our fold as well.
It didn’t stop at that. How could it? We couldn’t just offer them food and leave. We coaxed the fussy ones to eat, we tried to control the greedy ones, we consoled the ones who were hurting and we rejoiced when we saw some recover in front of our eyes. We removed ticks, held them during their treatments, bathed them, brushed them, played with them, and loved them. We were getting very attached to them. Every baby we lost devastated us. It was a struggle not to get derailed by these losses. We felt as if we had let them down, not done enough. We comforted each other; we were comforted by those remaining and all those who were brought in everyday. We forged new attachments, we couldn’t think of leaving.
Together we do
The enormity of the work to be done in a shelter hits us very often. It is never ending. And we have become experts at multi-tasking. No one has time to ask questions or wait for answers. Whoever reaches first starts getting the food ready. The volunteer next in gets the bowls organised. Together they run the kitchen. An area needs cleaning, pick up the broom. A shed needs washing, someone fixes the pipe, another gets to work with the wiper. A paralysed baby needs turning, just do it. Feeding bowls need washing, squat near the water spout and get it done. Water bowls need filling, just do it. Fights break out; dive right in and save the weaker ones. P.S. Try and not get hurt while at it.
Every bit counts
The team is bound together by its love and commitment to the babies. Our goals are the same, our hopes and nightmares are the same as well. We aim to provide palliative care, to give comfort and hope. The volunteers are guided and supported by the management, the shelter head, the para-vets and the various department heads. We do very little as compared to them, but we believe every bit counts. We see the babies blossom under our love, develop personalities, show attitude, throw tantrums and we know we are doing something right. Their welcoming faces and unconditional love make it all worthwhile.
(Pallavi Dar is a volunteer at SPCA Noida. Set up on the land leased by Noida Authority, SPCA Noida caters to the needs of abandoned, sick, injured animals. For details, log on to:www.facebook.com/pages/Society-to-Prevent-Cruelty-on-Animals-at-Noida).
Compassion for animals is the noblest of all virtues…and serving these mute creatures is the biggest charity…this might be just a thought for us but for C Padmavathi and C Narasimhamoorthy, who run Animal Welfare and Protection Trust (AWPT) at Santhoshapuram in Tambaram, it is an every day reality.
…and it started
In 1999 the Chennai Municipality began killing stray dogs by immersing them in acid baths. On witnessing one such brutal killing, C Padmavathi and her husband C Narsimhamoorthy opened their home and hearts to these dogs. Thus, ‘The Animal Welfare and Protection Trust’ (AWPT) was born. Together with other NGOs, they asked the municipality to stop killing strays on the promise that they would sterilize them to reduce numbers. The municipality agreed… and this elderly couple willingly poured their life’s savings for the cause and dedicated their concluding years of life to their compassion.
Today they house over 200 dogs and 30 cats, most of whom are permanent members as they are too ill to be relocated. These include dogs with tumors, handicapped dogs and even a few new born pups.
Battling out all odds
Over the years, the couple had helped many abandoned dogs find homes, looked after injured ones and sterilized a number of females. With their minimal earnings and savings, the couple is running the organization. But, today, they are facing real tough times.
Expressing her concern over animals Padamavathi says, “Our aim is to prevent cruelties perpetrated on animals particularly strays and creating public awareness that animals also have a right to live in this world and deserve to be treated in a humane manner. We are engaged in animal welfare activities for the past 30 years. We have inherited this legacy from our grandfather who in the 1940s used to purchase caged birds in bulk and let them out free in a forest area. He fed and fend a lot of stray animals in his house.”
The AWPT’s monthly expenses are around Rs 60,000 which includes the cost of food, medicines, surgeries conducted etc. The trust has three doctors and three paramedical staff, there is always a vet on duty, through the night for emergency cases. They also have two ambulances for the purpose. At present the NGO operates from the couple’s own house and a rented building which serves as a pet clinic and houses dogs and puppies but is facing problems due to lack of funds and space. Their rescued animals include cats, dogs, birds, monkeys, rabbits, and even snakes and wild jackal rescued from nomadic gypsies.
They had to shift clinic thrice as people did not take kindly to the presence of so many dogs in their area. They have appealed to the Government many times as to their immediate need for more space but the response has been apathetic. The Government had promised them a one-acre piece of land in 2002, on the recommendation of Menaka Gandhi but the land is still awaiting sanction at the Kancheepuram Collectorate.
Over 70 years old, the elderly couple is still full of life and aspirations and have a strong will to serve these animals till the end. Padmavathi is highly worried about the future of her animals, the stress she faces everyday of not knowing what will happen to these animals once she’s gone. They need money to buy land to build a permanent shelter and clinic for these dogs. Or else the dogs will become homeless again, back to a life on the street or a brutal death. The truth is that most of them are not in a state to survive on their own. So either way, they won’t make it.
“We appeal to animal lovers and philanthropists to help us with liberal donations to help a noble cause. Our motto is “Compassion for animals is the noblest of all virtues”. If each house or family can feed a stray animal every day there will not be any famished animal on the roads. All donations to the trust are exempt from Income Tax under section 80G,” concludes Padmavathi.
For help contact : The Animal Welfare and Protection Trust: No 3/140, Kalaignar Karunanidhi Street, Santhoshapuram, Velachery – Tambaram Main Road, or call: 22781381/ 98416 38489/ 98412 48870 or email : firstname.lastname@example.org.
-by Natasha Amrolia
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