Let’s join hands…for a noble cause!

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 : awptrust@yahoo.com.

-by Natasha Amrolia

Dr Aparna and Dr Tarun Bhatnagar with Nube and Tabe

Adopting a rescued angel!

Adopting a traumatised animal needs much more care and attention than a puppy. I recently encountered a case of three traumatised Beagles who eventually found homes. Read about Nube– one of the three beagles. Dr Aparna Bhatnagar shared the whole rehabilitation process of Nube with me as I captured it on my lense.

The case…

Dr Aparna and Dr Tarun Bhatnagar with Nube and Tabe

Dr Aparna and Dr Tarun Bhatnagar with Nube and Tabe

Recently PETA India won a battle against animal testing and rescued 70 Beagles who were held at the quarantine department in Chennai. Many concerned volunteers of various organisations and animal lovers lined up for hours during the release of these poor little puppies who were brought from China. I am a pet photographer by profession and I rescue and foster animals and help abandoned pets find home. So, when I heard about the Beagles rescue operation I volunteered to foster a few of them until they found a good and a permanent home.

Finally homebound

As the rescued beagles finally found homes, I met with three beautiful six-month-old Beagles who came home, wagging their tails. These puppies were kept in cages in the quarantine department for months, with no love or special care that every little pup deserves. Filled with fear and confusion and exhaustion, three of them just sat by my feet for hours. These puppies have never slept on a mat or any soft surface and for the first time in their lives, they had their good night’s sleep…by my feet on my bed. I couldn’t sleep all night, I just watched them and thanked God they were finally safe. It was heartbreaking to see the serial number tattooed on the insides of their ear lobes; it is one of the most disturbing things I have seen. None of these three puppies made any noise, not even a squeak. They haven’t barked till today. This rescue was a complete eye opener for a lot of people here in Chennai about animal testing and personally I have taken an oath not to use any product that is tested on animals.

Nube’s homecoming…

I had the opportunity to shoot two of the most adorable Beagles in the city – Nube and Tabe! After hours of playing and kissing and many licks to my camera lenses, I managed to capture some precious moments with the entire family. Nube a.k.a New + B a.k.a New Beagle has a different story. She was one of the three rescued Beagles from the rescue operation by PETA against animal testing. Dr Aparna Bhatnagar and Dr Tarun Bhatnagar were one of the happiest parents to adopt Nube. Nube is bi-eyed but this wonderful couple didn’t hesitate even for a moment because they were excited to take her back home to Tabe, their adorable pampered three-year-old Beagle who fell in love with Nube instantly.

It’s rather a challenging process to get an adopted pet to adjust with the existing pet.

Q: How was Nube’s first day at home?

Dr Aparna: Tabe is a very social animal (laughs). He likes people and he has been to many pet parties before. It’s amazing to see him interact with other dogs so nicely. We weren’t too apprehensive about his behaviour with the new member – Nube. Tabe welcomed the new member with sniffs and his share of cuddles for Nube. As for Nube, she was scared, reserved and a little quiet when she came home. She would hide behind the sofa and table. She looked very sad and under shock. She gradually became comfortable with us and Tabe. Now, she really likes his company and you can’t find them apart.

Q: Did Nube show any signs of abandonment or prior abuse?

Dr Aparna: Yes. Definitely. Her body language showed how scared she was when we first saw her. She took a little time to trust us. All she wanted is our constant touch, whether sitting, walking or even sleeping.

Q: How is Nube different from other dogs? Do you think she needs special care?

Dr Aparna: Nube was a very quiet puppy when she came to our house. She would not bark at all and did not make any sound/noise even after she became comfortable with all of us. It came as a big shock to us when we came to know that she had been subjected to utter cruelty and that her vocal cords had been surgically removed in the past. I could not control my tears and was sad for almost two days thinking about all the pain. Nube had to go through at such a young age. We are more careful and caring to her keeping in mind that she would not be able to bark or make any vocal gestures if she is in pain or distress. But this would definitely not make our love for Tabe any less. Both will always be equal to us.

Q: Does she show any signs of fear of cages or confined spaces?

Dr Aparna: We have never put her in a cage or confined space, so not really sure if she is afraid. She definitely knows how to get out of confined spaces and traverses across the grilled gate and window with ease (laughs).

Q: Your personal note about your loving family and your special moments.

Dr Aparna: Our lives changed for good when we got Tabe into the family. Nube just made it better and livelier. She brings with herself the feminine delicateness with a sharp mind and determined nature. Her actions speak louder than her words…literally!!

Adoption is a very noble act. It requires a lot of commitment and compassion, it is so wonderful to see more and more people have evolved to understand this. We have the responsibility and the power to change lives, be it a cat, dog or even a little bird; if we can, we must.

Say No to animal abuse!

The Indian law protects our four-legged companions!

In 2010, Central Mumbai Consumer Disputes Redress Forum gave a strong directive to a group housing society who was charging a pet parent a monthly fee for using lifts for his pooch. The court clearly said, ‘Dogs are part of a family hence they have the right to use the lift just as any other member, and we cannot decide who is a family member and who isn’t, each family decides for itself.’

Earlier in 2008, a similar order came from a lower court that clarified that pets are part of family and cannot be restricted from living or using the residential complexes.

In 2012, Gurgaon Municipal Corporation was the first of its kind to issue strict notices to all central government health scheme (CGHS) and residence welfare associations (RWAs) in Gurgaon, warning them not to formulate rules and regulations against pets and that any such move is in conflict with the law. The notices clearly stated – ‘Such a move may lead to dissolution of the RWA and prosecution of its office bearers, says the letter. It is illegal to remove animals from the area through security guards employed by RWAs. Nor can they intimidate residents who may be feeding those animals. Under stray dog management rules 2001, it’s illegal for an individual, RWA or estate management to remove or relocate dogs. The dogs have to be sterilised and vaccinated and returned to the same area. Vaccinated and sterilised dogs cannot be removed by the municipality too. Under Section 506 of the IPC, it’s a crime to threaten, abuse or harass neighbours who feed animals.’ The Indian Constitution states them very clearly via various Sections.

After the Stockholm Declaration in 1972 the Indian Constitution (Forty-second Amendment) Act, 1976 inserted for the first time specific provisions to protect and improve the environment.

  • Article 51-A (g) states – ‘It shall be duty of every citizen of India to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wildlife and to have compassion for living creatures.’
  • Article 48-A – ‘The State shall endeavour to protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wildlife of the country.’
  • Article 19 deals with the fundamental rights of the citizen. So, ‘Right to Protect the Environment,’ comes within Article 19.
  • Article 25, 26, 27, 28 provide religious freedom to all citizens and preserves the principle of secularism in India. According to the constitution, all religions are equal before the State. Citizens are free to preach, practice and propagate any religion of their choice in their own way. Feeding animals like dogs is a part of the same in many religions.
  • Section 11 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act makes all animal cruelty a criminal offence. Fines and imprisonment are both provided for. The Indian Penal Code has similar provisions.
  • The Animal Birth Control (Dog) Rules, 2001, enacted under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, provides for sterilisation and vaccination as a means of stabilising/reducing stray dog populations and eliminating the risk of rabies; and prohibits relocation of stray dogs, i.e. throwing or driving them out of one area, into another.
  • Under Stray Dog Management Rules, 2001, it’s illegal for an individual, RWA or estate management to remove or relocate dogs. The dogs have to be sterilised and vaccinated and returned to the same area. Vaccinated and sterilised dogs cannot be removed by the municipality too.
  • Under Section 506 of the IPC, it’s a crime to threaten, abuse or harass neighbours who feed animals.
  • IPC Section 428 and 429 provide severe punishment (up to five years imprisonment) to people resorting to dislocation, abduction and acts of cruelty towards community animals or pets.
  • Delhi Police Act 1968, Sections 73 to 79, 99 give special powers to police to take action when an animal offence has been committed.
  • Ministry of Public Grievances notification and a similar notification by Animal Welfare Board of India dated March 2008 provide immunity to animal feeders and restrict government employees or bodies such as Resident Welfare Associations from harassing people who try to feed or help animals.
  • The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 and Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 at various places protect the stray dogs against any kind of cruelty.
  • Directive of the Central Mumbai Consumer Disputes Redress Forum, given on 22/11/10 came down strongly against the housing societies who were charging a resident for use of lift since October 2008 for pets.
  • High Court of Delhi in 2011 passed an order asking the police to provide protection to dogs and dog feeders and has made it a punishable offence in case anyone restricts, prohibits or causes inconvenience to any person feeding a street dog or resorts to removal, dislocation or killing of a dog.
  • The Supreme Court of India in 2009 gave a similar stay order against removal, culling or dislocation of a dog anywhere in India.

3-Step solution to curb street dog population

  1. Semi-adoption of street dogs by RWAs, commercial and institutional establishments. By adopting, RWAs are limiting the number of dogs as these dogs won’t let other dogs come into their areas. Dogs guard from dogs. Immigration of feral and biting dogs will be automatically checked by these community dogs.
  2. Contacting local NGO/AWO for ABC AR (Animal Birth Control and Anti-Rabies) of these dogs and ensures they are brought back into the same area. By vaccination and sterilisation, the RWAs can make sure the dog bites, aggression at time of mating season and that by lactating female dogs is reduced. Plus these rabies-free dogs would provide protection from other rabid dogs. Their population will not increase for at least 8-10 years, which will give NGOs enough time to do the ABC AR programme in the entire city.
  3. Regular feeding will domesticate these dogs to the level that they would protect humans from any threat and within neighbourhood bites will become zero. Humans become the primary food source who the dog would guard and protect, unlike a case when the dogs will protect the garbage dump from the humans.

(Rishi Dev is founder of Citizens For Animals Rights (CFAR), Dwarka, New Delhi).

Each act of kindness

She is a school teacher, she is an animal lover, she is a pet parent and she believes in each act of kindness! Here the mention is Annu Gujral who inculcates giving, caring, compassion in children for the welfare of stay dogs in Delhi. Catch a glance of her benevolent acts!

In her mission to shelter and feed stray dogs, Annu Gujral has been into charitable activities in which her students at RS Junior Modern School, Humayun Road, New Delhi involve wholeheartedly to uplift the lives of those underprivileged pooches. Annu said, “We call it ‘Pet Club’ under which students contribute a packet of rice, dahlia, newspapers or meager amount of money to deliver on 10th of every month to the welfare of strays through Friendicos SECA (Defence Colony) – a non-profit charity, which is an Associate Society of RSPCA and a Member Society of World Society For Protection of Animal, UK.” Geeta Seshamani, co-founder & vice-president, Friendicos SECA, New Delhi remarked that Annu’s effort is not just a matter of giving foods to the strays, she teaches school children and young generation the values of loving and caring animals.

Joy of giving…

Students of fifth standard take the responsibility to collect the donations from other classes at the school. “We select one captain amongst the Pet Club members from other classes and one from every section of the fifth standard – being the senior most class in the school. We can easily collect around 400 kg of newspapers, 150 kg of rice and dahlia every month,” said Annu. Pet Club started around 15 years back – it motivates children to donate and in return to support Friendicos SECA in their endeavour. The children also give a part of their pocket money to support the cause. Some children donate enthusiastically and bring in their pet’s items also. Annu mentioned that it has been the support of her school headmistress Mrs Manju Rajput which makes the mission a success. And if Annu is little strict in class, an adoring student always has her pet’s picture to show Annu and makes her smile.

Proud pet parents…

Annu with her mother Dr Vimla boast of a ‘family tree’ of pets. In the company of a group of adorable pooches are other pets like fishes and birds who contribute to form a perfect pet world. Ever since her younger years, Annu always had special affection for pets. “Around 40 years back, I collected my daily pocket money of 40 paise to purchase a white mouse worth Rs 8 as my pet,” remembered Annu. Today, those furry family members roaming around her include a couple of Chihuahuas named Zara (mother) and Pisti (daughter), a pug called Miffy, a Spaniel Cocker named Kiwi… to mention some of them.

Future vision…

“What it really upsets me is the unsafe lives of stray dogs in various localities around the city. Many of them die in hit and run road accidents. Sterilisation is also one big challenge. Here I have noticed that each act matters,” said Annu.


Fun filled memories…

Annu recalls her Irish Setter called Timber who once crept silently to gorge on a two-kg birthday cake. Worry over the incident was that it might have given him stomach upset! But Timber enjoyed the cake without any complication.

Strays – our guarding angels

A peek into the life of strays and how we can help them.

We have to understand the fact that we have to co-exist with stray dogs and hence it’s better for us to adopt the policy of ‘Live and Let Live’. With this background in mind, befriending stray dogs who live around our houses is the way to go. Since dogs are known for their loyalty and faithfulness, one can say with almost 100 percent confidence that the dogs who have befriended would only protect the people with their heart and soul, says Vasanthi Kumar, of STRAW (Stray Relief and Animal Welfare), New Delhi.

“And she’s right. Four cooperative group housing societies in Sector 10, Dwarka, New Delhi are blessed with two street dogs, Dolly and Chotu. Both of these dogs have lived outside these four apartments for almost eight years now, making them the only two dogs in a human population of 2000. Initially there were only a handful of people feeding these dogs and taking regular care of them. But now, everyone feeds them and takes care of them – because they are the heroes – who have saved us from chain snatchers, thieves and other miscreants. Dolly and Chotu are often seen chasing rats, snakes, monitor lizards and so on,” adds Rishi Dev of Citizens For Animals Rights (CFAR), New Delhi.

Handling stray dogs…

“Each act of kindness works,” says Debbie of Precious Paws Foundations, Bengaluru. “Street dogs require only our tolerance and respect. It is not their fault that they are on the street. But now that they are, it is their home. We must respect a dog’s territory. If you are afraid of dogs, then please leave them alone. Do not throw stones at them, do not hurt them, and do not scream in front of them. Screaming, reacting with a jolt, running away only draw their attention, and dogs think of these actions as a game as best. At worst, you would be instilling fear in them and they may become aggressive. If you are dog friendly, then please go ahead and feed dogs in your area. You will find that they reciprocate most lovingly; they will come to you with their tails wagging. If you find a dog hurt on the road, call an ambulance. If there is no proper ambulance service in your area, first tie the dog’s snout before proceeding to pick him up and taking him to the nearest vet”, adds Debbie.

Extending a hand of friendship…

“Just feed the dog, may be even a few biscuits daily, for 4 to 5 days and he would start recognising you, waging his tail and over a period of 2-3 days, would also become one’s friend. After befriending the stray dog, his vaccination and sterilisation programme could be arranged through an NGO and he could live as a community dog for the rest of his life under the care of the people in that colony,” tells Vasanthi.

Making them disease-free…

“The most common diseases found in rescued Indian pup/dogs are fleas, heartworms, parvo, distemper, ear mites, throat worms and mange,” lists Debbie. When a pup or dog is rescued, it is very difficult to determine if he contains any diseases just by looking at him unless the symptoms are visible. The best way to determine if he has any diseases is to take him to a vet for a checkup.

What to feed them…

A street dog can be fed anything that you feed your pet. “Biscuits, bread and buns are commonly used,” adds Debbie.

“My request to people is not to throw their leftover foods into the garbage bin. But instead it should be fed to stray dogs. People should also put out a bowl of water outside their houses for stray dogs. A mud bowl is ideal because it keeps the water cool besides it does not get stolen,” adds Vasanthi as a matter of fact.

Taking care of dog-haters…

Sometimes, even feeding dogs become a problem… neighbours often ask to stop feeding strays. Kishore Deshpande and his wife in Mumbai were threatened by their neighbours to stop feeding strays. This is just one case… there are hundreds more. Following a petition from stray dog lovers in Delhi, the Delhi High Court had ordered creation of designated area for feeding and caring stray dogs in all colonies, which was a much-needed relief for all dog lovers.

To this, Debbie adds, “Nobody has the right to stop you from feeding a street dog. Nor does anybody have the right to chase dogs away from their territory. If you observe carefully, you will find that dogs stay in one place all their lives… one street… may be in front of one house.”

Benefits of having stray dogs….

Here are a few benefits that Vasanthi lists for having stray dogs around.

  • Stray dogs make the colony safer. They do not allow strangers to enter the colony and alert the guards by barking.
  • At nights when the guards are patrolling the colony, the stray dogs accompany them. If one talks to the guards, they would learn that the guards feel much safer with dogs because they are able to go after unscrupulous elements who could be hiding behind trees and cars.
  • Since the stray dogs feed from the garbage, they keep rats and mice away.
  • Since dogs are territorial animals they will not allow any other dogs to enter the colony. If the dogs are removed from an area, other dogs from surrounding colonies will take their place. Thus we will be back to initial situation within a few months.
  • Above all, all life is precious and all creatures including dogs have a right to live on this earth.

Message to readers…

“Be kind and compassionate to animals whom we come across in our day to day lives. Animals have feelings; feel pain when hurt and bleed when injured – just like it happens to us. The only difference is that unlike us, they do not have a voice and bear all the pain, in quiet. Instead of getting scared of a stray dog, people should try and befriend the animal. And lastly, if possible feed at least one stray dog near one’s house. To show his loyalty, the dog would sleep outside your door and safeguard your house with all his might,” advises Vasanthi.

“Precious Paws Foundation would like to emphasise that every contribution, small or big, counts. Go make a difference in a pup’s life, one way or another,” concludes Debbie.

(Inputs from Vasanthi Kumar, Co-founder & Chairperson, STRAW (Stray Relief and Animal Welfare), Vasant Kunj, New Delhi; Debbie, Precious Paws Foundations, Kanakapura Road, Bengaluru; and Rishi Dev, Citizens For Animals Rights (CFAR), Dwarka, New Delhi)


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Experiences with stray angels

One day I saw a female dog running with a pup carrying in her mouth in the month of July. I was surprised to notice that she was our colony dog who gave birth to three pups recently. I named the mother dog Bhuraki. One day she came to me when I called her name and carried her little one to handover to me. I cuddled the pup and took him inside the house. After an hour, the mother dog barked furiously as her second pup fell into a drain. I rescued the little one. Since that day, they all lived with me. I sterilised the mother. This is indeed a happy beginning!
–Nishi Chand, Lucknow

Gori was her name! She was a Pomeranian abandoned by her pet parents. She delivered two litters in front of me. A total of nine dogs I adopted. I fed them twice a day, which included a Pedigree meal. They looked after our huge campus. Today, only two live! I have nick-named them Chingu and Mingu, they are just unique.
–Ranjeeta Nath Ghai, Hyderabad

I have semi-adopted a stray and named him Tilli. He is my pet’s best friend and they both love to play together. Whenever he meets me, he always greets me wagging his tail with a smiling face.
Love you Tilli!
–Kritika Manchanda, New Delhi

Don’t abandon me please!

“The one absolutely unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him, the one that never proves food to offer; he will lick the wounds and sores that come in encounter with the roughness of the world…When all other friends desert, he remains,” -George G Vest. Then, why does man desert this precious being… sometimes due to behavioural issues, sometimes because he is sick and sometimes just the frenzy of keeping a pet is over.

Loco, a Bull Terrier, was found on the roads in Dwarka almost four months back by Friendicoes. He was adopted but it did not work out because of his high level of energy which led to his causing huge damage at his new home.
While, Oscar was a gift to someone as a puppy but later he permanently made his way to a boarding kennel when the family could not handle him anymore. At the kennel he viciously attacked one of the kennel boys and the pet parent too scared to handle him, left him at the shelter.
Valentine was found on the road – a blind St Bernard standing by the side of a busy road. He lived at the shelter for a week, a month in foster care and then we found a lovely couple willing to take him on. He is now a show stopper weighing a whopping 70 kg and handsome to boot! But initially the only inquiries we got for him were people asking if we can fix his eyes and the moment we said ‘no’, they lost interest. A blind St Bernard was not so appealing apparently.
Jill was found dragging her hind legs and trying to cross the road in front of Friendicoes shelter. Her one back leg is mangled – looked like an old injury healed all wrong. And that gave her body a humped posture. No one asked for her but she was adopted by a loving family, who loved her despite her handicap.
Leo, a Doberman of considerable height and girth, turned up at the shelter doorstep one day. He was unpredictable at times and gave the staff a bit of a difficult time. He was trained and finally after rehoming him twice, he found his perfect home.
These are just a few cases, there are many many more of abandoned Pedigree dogs, while some are lucky to be re-homed, others just live their life at the animal shelter. Why are pets abandoned? What can be done to reduce this menace? What responsibilities should a pet parent understand? These were just a few of the questions that arise in our minds. At Dogs & Pups, we spoke to Tandrali Kuli of Friendicoes and here’s what she shared on abandonment of Pedigree dogs.
D&P: How often and where do you find abandoned Pedigree dogs?
Tandrali: Most times they are abandoned outside the shelter – left tied to chairs/benches, ambulance bumpers in the parking or on the road, running in front of the shelter. While some cases of abandoned pets are reported by the public from housing colonies, who are then picked up by our ambulances. A few people come and abandon directly as well.
D&P: What are the main reasons for their abandonment?
Tandrali: Mostly because they are either old/sick or temperamentally unpredictable/aggressive. But these days we are receiving a lot of them due to people moving cities and also because the lifestyle does not make space for a pet any more. Also sometimes people are not ready to shell out the money and time needed to look after a giant breed.
D&P: What are the steps to reduce the cases of abandonment?
Tandrali: We can reduce it by licensed breeding and putting a constraint on commercialisation of pets. Also microchipping of pets should be made compulsory and registration of pets with veterinarians be made mandatory. No vet should attend to un-microchipped and unregistered pet above the age of three months. Besides, hobby breeding should be strictly stopped.
Also (my personal belief though may not be practical) is that every person looking forward to adding a pet to the family must attend counseling sessions (that should be organised by animal welfare groups) and understand the massive responsibility they are taking on and also understand the breed they are going for. Many times, people living in a two room (150 sq ft) house bring home a Great Dane without a second thought and then once the animal attains his size, they are unable to handle him.
Also the earning power of the family should be taken into consideration when taking on a pet. Pets are living beings and incur expenses. Vaccinations, nutritious food, supplements, shampoos, medical bills are all things that should be taken into consideration. As an NGO, we face the maximum of these cases where people with high maintenance pedigrees beg us for discounts on medical bills.
D&P:  What factors should pet parents keep in mind before adopting a dog?
Tandrali: Following are the factors to be kept in mind before adopting a pet:
Lifestyle. People who travel too much and have no dependable back up help should not take on pets.
Money. If you cannot afford a pet you should not go for one.
Commitment. If you as well as your family are not 100 percent sure about a pet then you should not get one. At the end of the day they need a lot of care and attention.
Do not take vaccinations lightly. Please be prompt with them.
Spay/neuter your pet once he is over eight months old.
Responsibility. If you are in a job where you do not have quality time for your pet then you should not invest in one. No servant, however good, can equate to the care you can and should give to your pet. Your pet also has emotional needs apart from food and vetcare and he looks to you to fulfill them.
Breed. If you are not experienced with dogs then you should always go for a smaller low maintenance breed or preferably an Indian/desi from a shelter. Also a female would be easier to handle than a male as they are much more calm and gentle.
Trainer. It is always good to invest in an experienced and intelligent trainer. If you follow the rules, you will never regret it.
D&P:  How easy/difficult it is to rehabilitate the abandoned dog and why?
Tandrali: Pedigree adults still have a 50 percent chance of getting re-homed with a good family. But the younger, the better. The ones above five years old hardly get any responses. We currently have nine of them at the shelter – three GSDs and six Labs between 7-9 years. The smaller breeds get adopted quicker (except for Spitz) butthey are rarely abandoned until and unless they are sick or are bad biters. Compared to it, abandoned Indian/desi adults arealmost impossible to re-home. Almost 99 percent of them make their way to our sanctuary in Gurgaon as we do not get any inquiries for them.
D&P: What message would you like to give to pet parents?
Tandrali: DO NOT take on a pet if you are not ready to shell out the time, commitment, effort and money that the pet will demand. And if possible try and adopt. Do not buy. You provide a market to unscrupulous breeders when you buy. There are enough homeless animals languishing in shelters and looking for good homes. Give them a chance please. If you want a pet but are in no position to meet the demands of one, start feeding the neighborhood strays and make friends with them. Get them spay/neutered and vaccinated and look after them. It is a very fulfilling experience.
Last but not the least I would like to say – a dog is a beautiful gift of God to humanity. They enrich your life with their selfless love and devotion and make your life beautiful. It is a crime and a sin to abuse their faith in you so indulge in a pet only if you are ready to do justice by him.
(Tandrali Kuli started volunteering with Friendicoes when she was in college nine years back and now she is part of the management and mainly looks after the PR/Communications and Adoptions. She always had dogs since she was four years old and till now she has been the proud pet parent of 19 dogs (desis/Pedigrees mix) and have fostered over 30 of them).

Don’t abandon me please!

Don’t abandon me please!“The one absolutely unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous, is his dog… He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer; he will lick the wounds and sores that come in encounter with the roughness of the world…When all other friends desert, he remains,” -George G Vest. Then, why does man desert this precious being… sometimes due to behavioural issues, sometimes because he is sick and sometimes just the frenzy of keeping a pet is over.

Loco, a Bull Terrier, was found on the roads in Dwarka almost four months back by Friendicoes. He was adopted but it did not work out because of his high level of energy which led to his causing huge damage at his new home.

While, Oscar was a gift to someone as a puppy but later he permanently made his way to a boarding kennel when the family could not handle him anymore. At the kennel he viciously attacked one of the kennel boys and the pet parent too scared to handle him, left him at the shelter.

Valentine was found on the road – a blind St Bernard standing by the side of a busy road. He lived at the shelter for a week, a month in foster care and then we found a lovely couple willing to take him on. He is now a show stopper weighing a whopping 70 kg and handsome to boot! But initially the only inquiries we got for him were people asking if we can fix his eyes and the moment we said ‘no’, they lost interest. A blind St Bernard was not so appealing apparently.

Still waiting for you!I still remember that day,
The day I met you for the first time
The joy in your eyes,
arms spread out for a hug
You lifted me up in the air,
looked at me adoringly
I must have been a
really cute pup.I still remember that day,
The day you got me my first toy,
Took me out for a long drive
Played with me all day long
That was the
happiest moment of my life.

I still remember that day
The day I missed you like hell
Waiting for you to get back home
To spend some time alone with you
Did I do something wrong?

I still remember that day,
The day you walked away
Leaving me alone,
in a dark and secluded place
Oblivious to the pain in my heart,
the tears in my eyes,
It’s just a bad dream, I told myself.

Gazing at the sunset sky today.
I find myself still waiting for you
Hoping that you would come one day
To take back your old friend
That would be my last day
as an abandoned dog.
–Swati Ramnath

Jill was found dragging her hind legs and trying to cross the road in front of Friendicoes shelter. Her one back leg is mangled – looked like an old injury healed all wrong. And that gave her body a humped posture. No one asked for her but she was adopted by a loving family, who loved her despite her handicap.

Leo, a Doberman of considerable height and girth, turned up at the shelter doorstep one day. He was unpredictable at times and gave the staff a bit of a difficult time. He was trained and finally after rehoming him twice, he found his perfect home.

These are just a few cases, there are many many more of abandoned Pedigree dogs, while some are lucky to be re-homed, others just live their life at the animal shelter. Why are pets abandoned? What can be done to reduce this menace? What responsibilities should a pet parent understand? These were just a few of the questions that arise in our minds. At Dogs & Pups, we spoke to Tandrali Kuli of Friendicoes and here’s what she shared on abandonment of Pedigree dogs.

D&P: How often and where do you find abandoned Pedigree dogs?

Tandrali: Most times they are abandoned outside the shelter – left tied to chairs/benches, ambulance bumpers in the parking or on the road, running in front of the shelter. While some cases of abandoned pets are reported by the public from housing colonies, who are then picked up by our ambulances. A few people come and abandon directly as well.

D&P: What are the main reasons for their abandonment?

Tandrali: Mostly because they are either old/sick or temperamentally unpredictable/aggressive. But these days we are receiving a lot of them due to people moving cities and also because the lifestyle does not make space for a pet any more. Also sometimes people are not ready to shell out the money and time needed to look after a giant breed.

D&P: What are the steps to reduce the cases of abandonment?

Tandrali: We can reduce it by licensed breeding and putting a constraint on commercialisation of pets. Also microchipping of pets should be made compulsory and registration of pets with veterinarians be made mandatory. No vet should attend to un-microchipped and unregistered pet above the age of three months. Besides, hobby breeding should be strictly stopped.

Also (my personal belief though may not be practical) is that every person looking forward to adding a pet to the family must attend counseling sessions (that should be organised by animal welfare groups) and understand the massive responsibility they are taking on and also understand the breed they are going for. Many times, people living in a two room (150 sq ft) house bring home a Great Dane without a second thought and then once the animal attains his size, they are unable to handle him.

Also the earning power of the family should be taken into consideration when taking on a pet. Pets are living beings and incur expenses. Vaccinations, nutritious food, supplements, shampoos, medical bills are all things that should be taken into consideration. As an NGO, we face the maximum of these cases where people with high maintenance pedigrees beg us for discounts on medical bills.

D&P: What factors should pet parents keep in mind before adopting a dog?

Tandrali: Following are the factors to be kept in mind before adopting a pet:

Abandonment: a curse for poochesWe get one or two cases a month of abandoned Pedigree dogs. Three of the main reasons for their abandonment include pet parent’s spouse hates dogs; pets are not house-trained; and death of the pet parent. It is difficult to re-home pedigree dogs as many abandoned pets do not have proper training, sometimes they develop behavioural problems and do not adjust in new pet parents’ houses.This can be reduced by creating mass awareness and putting-up posters on or near pet-shops. Besides, following factors should be kept in mind before adopting a dog: adopt an Indian dog as he is best suited for the climate, all family members must agree to adopt a dog. Besides, the family should have all information on the breed they are adopting, the dog should be trained properly and in a humane way. And most importantly, remember that the Pet is a Living Thing.

Remember, A Dog Is For Life ! Not For Christmas!

(Nilesh Bhanage is currently working with Worldwide Veterinary Service (WVS), UK as India National Rabies Network Manager in management category. He supports Paws on an honorary basis).

  • Lifestyle. People who travel too much and have no dependable back up help should not take on pets.
  • Money. If you cannot afford a pet you should not go for one.
  • Commitment. If you as well as your family are not 100 percent sure about a pet then you should not get one. At the end of the day they need a lot of care and attention.
  • Do not take vaccinations lightly. Please be prompt with them.
  • Spay/neuter your pet once he is over eight months old.
  • Responsibility. If you are in a job where you do not have quality time for your pet then you should not invest in one. No servant, however good, can equate to the care you can and should give to your pet. Your pet also has emotional needs apart from food and vet care and he looks to you to fulfill them.
  • Breed. If you are not experienced with dogs then you should always go for a smaller low maintenance breed or preferably an Indian/desi from a shelter. Also a female would be easier to handle than a male as they are much more calm and gentle.
  • Trainer. It is always good to invest in an experienced and intelligent trainer. If you follow the rules, you will never regret it.

D&P: How easy/difficult it is to rehabilitate the abandoned dog and why?

Tandrali: Pedigree adults still have a 50 percent chance of getting re-homed with a good family. But the younger, the better. The ones above five years old hardly get any responses. We currently have nine of them at the shelter – three GSDs and six Labs between 7-9 years. The smaller breeds get adopted quicker (except for Spitz) but they are rarely abandoned until and unless they are sick or are bad biters. Compared to it, abandoned Indian/desi adults are almost impossible to re-home. Almost 99 percent of them make their way to our sanctuary in Gurgaon as we do not get any inquiries for them.

D&P: What message would you like to give to pet parents?

Tandrali: DO NOT take on a pet if you are not ready to shell out the time, commitment, effort and money that the pet will demand. And if possible try and adopt. Do not buy. You provide a market to unscrupulous breeders when you buy. There are enough homeless animals languishing in shelters and looking for good homes. Give them a chance please. If you want a pet but are in no position to meet the demands of one, start feeding the neighborhood strays and make friends with them. Get them spay/neutered and vaccinated and look after them. It is a very fulfilling experience.

Last but not the least I would like to say – a dog is a beautiful gift of God to humanity. They enrich your life with their selfless love and devotion and make your life beautiful. It is a crime and a sin to abuse their faith in you so indulge in a pet only if you are ready to do justice by him.

(Tandrali Kuli started volunteering with Friendicoes when she was in college nine years back and now she is part of the management and mainly looks after the PR/Communications and Adoptions. She always had dogs since she was four years old and till now she has been the proud pet parent of 19 dogs (desis/Pedigrees mix) and have fostered over 30 of them).

JBF (India) Trust For absolute wellbeing of animals

JBF (India) Trust was established in the year 2003 with its main objective to undertake various activities to minimise sufferings of animals by providing veterinary care, facilitating more bearable and adorable life to them. Here’s a brief note on the organisation…

After four years of successful service in Delhi, JBF (India) Trust expanded its work to Guwahati, Assam in the year 2007. Main endeavour of the organisation in this North East Indian city was to provide humane service to all homeless and community animals through veterinary care, humane education and awareness. The organisation has been carrying out mass activities for rabies and population management under the banner ‘Humane Dog and Rabies Management Program’.

“I am associated with JBF since its inception as my husband Dr Sashanka being the founder member and managing trustee of this organisation. In fact, JBF is a brainchild of Dr Sashanka and we are still trying our best and nurturing it to let it grow and develop more and more. We really have struggled and crossed a lot of hurdles to reach where we are today and still a long way to go ahead…,” told Dr Smriti.

Projects accomplished…

Main projects and animal welfare programmes taken up by JBF include: Mobile Veterinary Clinic Services, Rescue and Rehabilitation of Homeless Animals, Animal Birth Control and Anti-Rabies Vaccination (ABC-AR) Program under ‘Humane Dog and Rabies Management Program’, Awareness and Sensitisation Program, Training and Advocacy Program and Disaster Relief.

Dr Smriti who is veterinarian (surgery and radiology) from the College of Veterinary Science, Khanapara, Assam said that her husband Dr Sashanka has been her strength and driving force that keep going and doing animal welfare. She also mentioned that animal welfare is her profession and passion too!

Increasing population…

Concerning the reasons for increased number of animals in the JBF shelter and measures to put a check on it, Dr Smriti explained, “Problem of increased population of animals in the shelter will keep on happening. Our organisational concept is Rescue & Rehabilitation Centre as there is no enough space in the shelter. Street dog population management programme should be followed strictly.”

Total counts…

There is no specific number of animals in the centre, except the post-operative animals; rest just comes in to get treated and then released to their locations. JBF’s next landmark plan for the year 2012-13 is to set-up a Humane Rescue, Education, Training and Research Centre – ‘Nurture Animal to Universe Relation in Environment (NATURE)’ in Guwahati. This would be the organisation’s new asset, increasing the space available and also to help imparting humane education to the society.

Dedicating their achievements to all helping JBF to provide welfare of the animals, Dr Smriti put her last but not the least humane words seeking your support to march on and on.

For more information, log on to: www.jbfsociety.org

Never abandon!

Abandoning a pet is the most cruel act. It is akin to deserting your loved one on the streets. Here’s a checklist to see if you are indeed a ‘doggy’ person.

Puppy…your child…

Adopting a pet is a crucial decision. But after the initial frenzy is over, the puppy starts getting neglected. Sometimes, he is isolated to lead a chained life at the mercy of servants, which is traumatic for him and he might get ill. Many a time pet parents abandon sick pet on the street. Once pampered little pup, eventually leads to a painful death on the street. Home for Dogs in Achampet, runs by Mission Saromayo, a non-profit organisation, at an average receives one call per day requesting them to adopt pet dog which people wish to abandon for the reason of the world. The organisation agrees to adopt the pet but requests the expenses of foods, etc as the home does not get any grant or aid. People retract from calling any more. What more cruelty they imagine that while purchasing the puppy they do not deter to pay hefty sum to kennels, but on the brink of abandoning they do not wish to pay for their food even. The puppy/dog is abandoned on streets increasing the number of stray dogs in the city.

Checklist before adopting a puppy…

So, before you make this important decision in your life as well as the puppy’s life, think twice. Do not take a puppy:

  • If the entire family, especially elderly people, do not approve of taking a puppy in the family. Forcing a puppy on a non-approving family will bring in family disharmony with ultimate wrath on the puppy.
  • If you have a transferable service which will not allow you to take the pet along with you.
  • Unless you have time to take the pet for walk and to spend some time with him daily and groom him healthy. You also need time to train him for acceptable behaviour.
  • If you consider expenses onyearly vaccination, immunization, sterilisation and treatment is quite high. Treatment of puppy or dog by a veterinarian may run in to thousands of rupees besides taking him daily to the vet.
  • If you are unable to nurse the sick dog and cannot understand his sufferings.
  • If a good arrangement for boarding cannot be made, while you all go to a holiday.

Home for homeless…

Mission Saromayo runs Home for Dogs located at a tranquil vicinity of Achampet in Mehboobnagar, which is 140 km away from Hyderabad city. The organisation provides free comfortable natural accommodation for those abandoned pets as well as those dogs and puppies rescued by good samaritan people. Main objective of Home for Dogs is to give relief to as many as stray and abandoned dogs as possible to make sure no dog in the region lives homeless.

Health check…

Every newcomer to the home is segregated into sick and healthy categories as per the health condition of the dog. After that they will be sent to the respective shelters for administration of vaccines to all. Those sick ones are sent to the medical block for treatment whereas the diseased ones are isolated in isolation ward. Males and females are segregated into 1:3 ratio to make them a compatible group. Such group formation takes around 4-6 weeks, after that they will be introduced in the villages.

Comfort zone…

Home for Dog is designed in such a way that around 500 dogs could be accommodated in 10 dogs per shelter of 100 sq ft covered space and 400 sq ft open space. They have elevated resting place with rags for their comfort. Orientation of shelters allows them to bask adequate morning sunray and continuous south-east breeze.

(R K Roy manages Homes for Dogs which currently accommodates 52 dogs).

Paws agony at puppy mills

Imagine forcing your pet dog to live his entire life in a small wire cage with no human companionship, toys or comfort and little hope of ever becoming part of a family and being loved and cared for life? Pathetic! That is what life is like for a puppy mill breeding dog!

Hundreds of thousands of dogs in India suffer in puppy mills. They are made prisoners of greed, locked in small dirty cages, freeze in winters and swelter in the summers, never get out of their prisons. They are bred over and over again.

Agony in puppy mills

    • Dogs are kept in crammed/small wire cages for their entire lives.

 

    • Female dogs are bred the first time they come into heat and then on bred every heat cycle until their poor worn out bodies can’t reproduce any longer and are later left on the streets.

 

    • Puppy mills maximise their profits by not spending adequate money on proper food, housing or veterinary care.

 

    • Dogs are found to be covered with matted, filthy hair and overall in a pathetic condition.
    • Many have emotional problems, are psychologically scarred from the mind numbing boredom of being imprisoned in a small cage for a year and develop a habit of going round and round in circles for hours or barking at walls for hours.

 

    • Breeding dogs are caged, sometimes soiled in their own excrement leading to genetic defects or lifelong physical deformities.

 

    • Puppies are taken away from their mothers early and sold to brokers or middlemen who pack them in crates for resale.

 

The picture is sad, scary and horrifying. So, next time you think of bringing home a pet, adopt one from an ethical breeder or a shelter.