Pink of health… for pink city pariahs

I will never forget the day in l992 when a little girl stood in front of us in tears, holding her puppy, who was frothing in the mouth and whimpering in pain. Nor will I forget the dogs who we saw, still semi-conscious, who had dug huge circles in the earth during their convulsions and writhing, after being poisoned with strychnine by the Jaipur Municipality to control dog population and the spread of rabies. And none of this terrible poisoning had any effect on the dog population of Jaipur, for dogs are very fecund, and breed rapidly to fill the empty biological niche.

Totally disillusioned, seeing the worst face of humanity, we all decided to find a way out to save our pooches from falling prey to this inhumane act. We had heard of the ABC (animal birth control) programmes, which shelters such as the Blue Cross in Chennai were implementing, and Animal Welfare Board of India and Maneka Gandhi were promoting throughout India as a humane and efficacious alternative to poisoning and electrocution of man’s best friend.

We decided to get to the core of the problem. No more orphaned puppies being dumped at the shelter, no more dogs convulsing from strychnine poisoning, and yes, a stabilized, rabies-free street dog population – all brought into being by the ABC programme, started by the Help In Suffering (HIS) and its sister funding body Animaux Secours (France).

The ABC programme focused on the sterilization and vaccination of the captured female and prepubescent male dogs. Neighborhood dogs are captured humanely from a given area, and exact location of each dog’s capture is recorded. The dogs are caught by hand holding the scruff, or by using Hessian sack with rope drawstring around the opening. After reaching the shelter, the health records are maintained first. And after a rest period of 15-30 hours, they are ready for the surgery. For identification, each dog is given a four-character tattoo on the right ear and semicircular notch on the left ear’s edge. After surgery, animals are kept under vet’s vigilance, usually for 3-5 days. And then they are returned back to their locality, from where they were picked.

At first the municipality was not very enthusiastic about co-operating with our new programme. We had to start a massive campaign, educating the people of Jaipur about the efficacy of the ABC programme. Soon they began to learn that our vehicle on the streets meant that the dogs would be safely returned, vaccinated and spayed. The Municipality, pleased with the results, gave HIS another facility in the north of the city, where we could begin a second ABC programme.

For the last five years there has been no incidence of human rabies in the area of Jaipur where our ABC programme is carried out. Most importantly the people of Jaipur learnt that their dogs are worthy of respect and affection. All our doubts as to whether the programme would work had been vindicated. HIS now conducts an ABC Extension programme funded by the Humane Society International. Suffice it to say that my heart still fills with joy when I touch a frightened little dog, and I know her life has been saved because of this programme. Yes, there are less dogs, and yes, there is less rabies, but mostly each little dog, each little experiencing subject of a life, is now free to live in peace, to fill the ancient biological niche which dogs have always shared with humans since time immemorial.

(Christine Townend is the Chair of Trustees, of Help in Suffering Animal shelter, Jaipur, Rajasthan. For more info log on to: www.his-india.org.au)


A noble beginning…

Since inception, HIS has been working for the benefit of the animals in India and has come a long way. Now they have two animal shelters, each comprising approximately two acres of land, one in Jaipur (Rajasthan) and the other in Kalimpong (West Bengal). HIS has also successfully accomplished several projects, which include Camel Project; Equine Project; Elephant Project; Animal Birth Control (ABC) Programme, ABC Extension Programme; Programme at Jaisinghpura Rescue, and Veterinary Clinic in Kalimpong.


A winning appreciation…

Jack Reece and Dr Sunil Chawla, two vets in charge of ABC programme at HIS, have had the first article ever published in the British Veterinary Record (a prestigious journal and the publication) about the success of programme. The British Veterinary Association also awarded Jack Reece a medal for his work in the same regard. Additionally the work of Help in Suffering has been recognized in a biography written by journalist John Little, entitled ‘Christine’s Ark’, published by Macmillan (Australia).

The Humane Society..

The Humane Society of the United States – healing the animal world

“It’s the moral obligation of humans to protect the animals, whose habitat we share” indeed a wise thought. Well, it is actually the belief of The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) – an organisation wholeheartedly dedicated to animal welfare. Here’s some more on The HSUS and HSI – the international arm of The HSUS. Celebrating glorious 50 years…of animal welfare With over 5 decades of compassion for animals, The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has been successfully serving the cause of animal welfare. They have redefined the meaning of animal welfare by following the holistic approach for animal welfare and care. Established in 1954, the society today has nearly ten million members and constituents. The unwavering faith of the people associated with it is actually the driving force behind the success of The HSUS.

In early 1950s, a few likeminded young men, who were of the opinion that animal cruelty is a national problem, formed a group, to work at the national level and chosen destination was Washington, DC, the nation’s capital. This decision led directly to the first major national successes ever achieved in the history of American animal protection, the Humane Slaughter Act of 1958 and the Laboratory Animal Welfare Act of 1966. With the sole aim to transform our earth into a better place to live…for us as well as our four-legged companion, the organisation has established several benchmarks. This makes The HSUS the largest and most powerful animal protection organisation, working in the United States and abroad to defend the interests of animals.

Setting benchmarks… step-by-step

The HSUS is well-known for its initiatives to protect animals, while making the social changes for mute creatures by advocating public policies, investigating cruelty and working to enforce existing laws, educating the public about the issues, and conducting hands-on programmes, such as assisting animals during disasters etc. The organisation builds its advocacy efforts through four signature campaigns (factory farming, animal cruelty, hunting, and fur) and seeks constructive partnerships with both traditional and non-traditional corporate and NGO partners.

A humble beginning…

It was not a grand beginning for The HSUS also, like most other welfare organisations world over, but grit and never-say-die attitude had helped them go further. Today, it has evolved from its modest beginnings, to become a virtual “learned faculty” on humane issues, covering hundreds of issues, expanding its influence both within the United States and abroad, and gaining an unmatched number of supporters. So far, so good… nine regional offices, four affiliates, an international arm, and nearly 400 staff members including veterinarians, wildlife biologists, lawyers, animal behaviorists, and other professionals further strengthen its position.

Humane approach… holistic too

The HSUS people have planned and executed several campaigns, but Pets for Life and Wild Neighbours are prominent amongst them. These two campaigns celebrate the benefits of the bond between people and animals who live within the communities, and teach people how to solve human/animal conflicts humanely. Besides providing direct care for thousands of animals at sanctuaries, wildlife rehabilitation centers, and mobile veterinary clinics.

Stargazing…a welfare way

In The HSUS’s endeavor to fight against cruelty towards animals, they have won the support of celebrities too, which include Anjelica Huston, Ali MacGraw, Dave Matthews, Mandy Moore, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Victoria Principal, Alicia Silverstone, Britney Spears, Jerry Stiller, Barbra Streisand, and Betty White… and the list is getting more glitzy with time. Going beyond borders… The HSUS has set its sights beyond national borders, offering other nations their expertise in finding practical, culturally sensitive, and long-range solutions to common animal-related problems. The HSUS is dedicated to protect animals because it’s not just our world …it’s their world, too. HSI, the international arm of The Humane Society of the United States, was founded in 1991; and has expanded The HSUS’s animal-protection activities into Central and South America, Africa, and Asia. HSI’s Asian, Australian, and European offices, as well as offices in Costa Rica and Canada, help carry out field activities and programmes.

The Indian way…

HSI has joined several groups in India as well on various programmes. The issues such as rabies control, sterilisation clinics, training clinics for vets, farm animal welfare etc gets an extra emphasis by them. In India HSI works mainly with three groups – Help in Suffering (HIS), Jaipur; Animal Aid Society, Udaipur; and Animal Help Foundation (AHF), Ahmedabad. All these groups work diligently on sterilisation of stray dogs and cats, implementing the TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) method to control over population and eradication of rabies etc.

Companion concern…

If we look back, we will find innumerable tales of compassion for the animals cherished by The HSUS people. Every year brings best for them, thus, making them more content. And in 2006 also, there are a few rewards like:

  • Nearly 300 dogs and several cats were rescued by the HSUS’ Disaster Animal Response Team from a Tennessee breeding facility where they were hoarded in October 2006.
  • Pets and service animals will no longer be separated from their families in disasters for lack of official planning, as tens of thousands were last year in Hurricane Katrina. With The HSUS leading the charge, Congress passed the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act, which requires state and local agencies to include the animals in disaster plans.

A noble cause…

The efforts and dedications put in by the volunteers of any animal welfare organisation is outstanding. It’s only because of them, that thousands of strays and other mute creatures get some relief and respite. The organisation seeks to promote itself as one that develops mainstream positions using mainstream tactics to achieve social reform, while continuing to extend its historic commitment to raise the standards and the prospects for success of local humane societies and other local animal organisations. Also, it is committed to ending companion animal overpopulation through all appropriate measures. We wish them all the best for the endearing efforts to safeguard humanity.

One Animal Life: creating Consciousness

Spreading humanity must be an aim of today’s conscious humans. ONE ANIMAL LIFE, an animal welfare organisation, is working hard towards this goal.

Journey begins…

One Animal Life was started as a power of One human recognising and addressing the need of One animal. Susheela – a stray dog, who had a litter was taken care by her local guardian, but her medical needs were not met. Kshiteeja Bhide, one of the founder members of One Life took initiative to spread awareness that along with food, animals need medical supervision too. Hence, there was a need to spread community awareness about vaccination; neutering and spaying of stray animals; and Susheela’s case had sparked the fuel to initiate an organisation immediately for the welfare of stray dogs.

And thus One Animal Life came into existence.

The cumulative effects of treating, vaccinating and spaying stray dogs become quiet evident as it results in no more puppies getting trampled to death, no fatigued, emancipated females struggling to feed themselves or for their survival along with their pups. Thus, the average life span of stray increases and so does his chances of survival. The organisation’s continuous and dedicated efforts are really outstanding as all the volunteers are working wholeheartedly for animals’ welfare. The list of dogs rehabilitated by the volunteers of One Animal Life goes on increasing with each passing day.

Aspiring goals…

The goal of One Animal Life is to create awareness, that any person who cares can help a stray animal in their neighborhood, to ensure an improved quality of life for dogs. They also aim to treat sick and stray animals (large and small animals), place stray dogs in good homes and encourage people to vaccinate stray dog and last but not the least to teach school children and people in general to treat animals well.

Setting examples…

The Trustees Kshiteeja Bhide, Bhagyashree Ranade, Dr Milind Hatekar and many well-wishers and animal lovers have been working with stray dogs since 1993. As animal lovers, they have been taking care of puppies and finding homes for them. The members have also been neutering strays, treating them medically/surgically and then on recovery placing them back in their desired territory. For more details contact, One Animal Life: 66/7d, Opp Law College, Law College Road, Off Dabhade Path, Pune – 411004, Tel/Fax: 91-020-25463352/25655613. Mobile: 98232 88110 or e-mail at OneAnimalLife@hotmail.com

Never abandon

Across time and space, dogs have withstood tests of loyalty, giving unconditional love and companionship to people. Home, to the dogs, is their parents. Still, many dogs are abandoned by their guardians, why? When we lose our way sometimes and land up in some strange area, we feel threatened; we feel something hideous might happen to us. What about the poor creatures when we abandon them heartlessly? Anuradha Sawhney answers some of the FAQs on abandonment.

Q : What are the common factors leading to abandonment of dogs?
AS : It requires lots of commitment in bringing up a dog. Unfortunately, many people acquire canine pets to satisfy their whims. Another common factor is to own a dog for fancy or status symbol. Sometimes, pups are given as presents, as if they are some objects to be gifted. While doing so, it is not even considered if a person is prepared or not to bring up a dog. People often indulge in getting a pup home without thinking about commitment in terms of time and nurturing, not to forget the monetary aspect as well.
As expected, it often doesn’t take long for impulsive buyers to regret their decision, such owners get tired of their pets after some time. Once a pup becomes a full-grown dog, they fail to be the cynosure of the owner’s eyes. Ultimately, as the owner gets preoccupied with other matters, they no longer keep interest in understanding the needs of his or her pet, and hence lead to their abandonment.
It is also not uncommon that dogs just wander off their homes due to the owner’s neglect. If the guardian is no longer interested in keeping the dog, they consider the loss of their dog as a good riddance. Other way of abandonment is outright outrageous; the dog would be taken to a far-off place and simply be dumped there by the owner mercilessly.
Therefore, the decision to bring up a pup should be as carefully considered as the decision to have a baby; and it should be taken as a commitment. Nurturing a dog requires both quality and quantity time commitment. After all, many dogs live upto 16 years or more. The owner should be responsible for looking after his or her dog; more so not to add to the rampant problem of dogs abandonment in India.
Q : What are the visible signs of pain and trauma an abandoned dog goes through?
AS : Dogs who are abandoned mercilessly struggle for their survival. The thick blanket of love and protection with which they have been wrapped is suddenly snatched from them. They find themselves in a strange world, where they have to fight every time for food, shelter and protection. They starve, freeze, get hit by cars, ingest poison, or are abused by inhuman people. They suffer from infestations of fleas and mange, and deadly, contagious diseases like rabies and parvovirus. The fear and confusion of being separated from their guardians and left in a strange place far from home make many dogs fearful and even aggressive. They often run away from strangers, tuck their tails between their legs, or bare their teeth in fear.
Q : How do they adjust to the new family?
AS : People who adopt an abandoned animal should devote plenty of time to help the dog adjust to his new family and environment. With lots of love, attention and patience, the new furry friend will adjust himself.
Q : Does the law have any special protection for dogs against an owner who may have abandoned his dog?
AS : Abandoning animals, dooming them to a slow, painful death by starvation, illness, or injury, is a serious issue. In India, there is a meagre fine of Rs 50 for someone who treats an animal cruelly. Such a lenient law needs to be made more stringent. Only a harsh punishment or law would actually reduce ill treatment of animals.
Q : What are other ways to stop abandonment?
AS : The proportion of deaths of abandoned animals at shelters, in the streets, alleys, fields, basements, and backyards that occur every year ought not to be taken lightly. Neutering and spaying should be made mandatory.
(Anuradha Sawhney is the Chief Functionary of People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India. PETA is the largest animal rights organisation in the world. She can be contacted at 022-26281880).

International Animal Rescue (IAR)

International Animal Rescue (IAR): Rescuing animals fpr betterment

When the Tsunami disaster struck south east Asia, it wrought havoc with the lives of millions of people and animals. IAR acted immediately and sent help to the south of Tamil Nadu, the area worst hit by the devastation. The IAR team helped a lot of animals in distress. To help the stray animal population, International Animal Rescue (IAR) is running animal rescue and rehabilitation centres in India. With their head office in Uckfield, East Sussex, UK, they have their rescue centres in Goa, Tamil Nadu and Agra, as well as in Malta.

History of the organisation

Founded by John and Jo Hicks, International Animal Rescue (IAR) started their project in Saligao (Goa) in 1998. The aim of the organisation in Goa and Tamil Nadu is to bring the population of stray dogs and cats under control by implementing an extensive ABC (Animal Birth Control) programme. The Agra rescue centre rehabilitates the dancing bears rescued from India in the Agra Bear Sanctuary while the Malta centre operates a bird rescue hospital to promote awareness among people for a humane treatment of birds, especially migratory ones, and animals.

Infrastructure of IAR – Goa

IAR – Goa is today based in Assagao (between Mapusa and Vagator), with a purpose-built veterinary centre with facilities such as kennels with space for approximately 90 dogs, cattery, puppy pens, surgery and OPD (Out Patient Dispensary). More recently, they have added space to accommodate other animals like cattle, snakes, monkey, birds and other wildlife.

Facilities at IAR – Goa

There are 5 qualified vets at the centre under the leadership of Veterinary Director Astrid Almeida and around 200 dogs and 80 cats are being sterilised every month. After catching the dogs, they are operated and treated at the centre until they are fit to be released back in the area from where they were picked up. After the operation, each dog is fitted with a blue IAR collar and their ear clipped and numbered, so they can be identified. Furthermore, all dogs are vaccinated against rabies before being released.

This serves a dual purpose. Once castrated, the dogs do not fight over the female dogs and as a result, less dogs suffer from maggot wounds and other injuries sustained in fights. By spaying the females, the number of puppies born is reduced and therefore there are less stray dogs.

Milestones of IAR – Goa

Since its inception, IAR has approximately sterilised over 12,000 dogs and with 2,50,000 stray dogs in Goa, there is still a long way to go. The OPD treats around 400 animals every month, including dogs, cats, pigs and goats. Occasionally, the centre becomes a temporary home for exotic wildlife such as pythons and monkeys who have either been injured or have been rescued from a life in captivity. These animals are typically brought in by the Forest Department and once treated these animals are handed back to them to be released back in to the wild. IAR spreads awareness on how to help (i.e. what to do when a sick or injured animal is spotted in the street) and exploitation of animals for profit. They have also developed a new visitor area at the centre in Assagao, displaying information on the work and showing films about the work done in Goa and about the bear sanctuary in Agra. Visitors at the centre are also given the opportunity to take a few dogs for a walk and play with the puppies.

Awareness is also being raised about the growing problem of visitors adopting a ‘holiday pet’ only to abandon the animal once the holiday is over. Having been looked after and fed (often these animals are puppies and kittens) makes the animal unable to settle back into the environment and survive and the result is large number of suffering animals during the monsoon months. The aim is not however to discourage visitors from paying any attention to the animals but about finding the right balance.

They also publish a magazine Animal Tracks, which features the campaigns and projects undertaken by IAR, and the latest developments on rehabi-litation and rescue programmes by the rescue centres.

(More info can be had from IAR, Animal Tracks, Murdungo Vaddo, Assagao, Bardez, Goa, Ph: 0832 2268328 or UK – International Animal Rescue, Lime House, Regency Close, Uckfield, East Sussex, TN22 1DS, Ph: 01825 767 688, www.iar.org.uk)

Where animal welfare is prime

Where animal welfare is prime

Established more than a century ago, Karuna Animal Welfare Association of Karnataka is actively working towards prevention of cruelty to animals and to secure their welfare. The need for the suffering stray animals is a shelter over their head and humane control over their increasing population. Bangalore-based Karuna Animal Welfare Association of Karnataka is an organisation which feeds and cares for abandoned, homeless and rescued animals. Their animal shelter houses over 300 dogs, 50 cats, 50 birds and 10 large animals. The organisation helps many animals in distress. One such instance is of a puppy who fell into a well and yelped for help for two days. A kind person called up Karuna and informed them about this puppy. Karuna immediately sent its ambulance and they found a two-month-old puppy yelping from an old 60 ft deep dry well. One of its brave attendants got down into the well and rescued the puppy with the help of other staff members. This is just one of the incidence, Karuna has plenty.

History of the organisation

Established in 1888 as Bangalore Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the company took a new name Karuna Animal Welfare Association of Karnataka in September 2001. Karuna is a member of WSPA, England and North Shore Animal League, USA.

Objectives

  • Prevention of cruelty to animals and to secure their welfare.
  • Building and maintaining shelters and rescue homes for animals.
  • Provision of ambulances for animals in distress.
  • Humane education to bring/spread awareness about animals.
  • Holding of periodical animal shows and awarding prizes to owners of animals which are well looked after.
  • Organising painting, essay, elocution and other competitions on animal themes to promote kindness to animals among children.
  • Conserve, protect and promote endangered species of animals.
  • Organising animal welfare training programmes for volunteers and awarding certificates.
  • Conducting pet adoption programmes to provide loving homes to strays. Conducting animal birth control operations and anti-rabies vaccination for dogs/pups to control the increase in stray dog population and to prevent rabies.
  • Providing effective night-time emergency services by identifying veterinarians from different zones of Bangalore.

Facilities at animal shelter

Spread over an area of 3,000 sq m, their animal shelter is well equipped with operation theatre, examination room, 42 kennels, 5 open kennels, one puppy section, large animal sheds, dog run, aviary, cattery, retired police dogs section, besides shelter facility for other animals. They have two ambulances for large animals, one for small animals and one BMP vehicle for animal birth control project.

According to Dr B C Ramakrishna, president of Karuna, “The organisation strives for animal welfare on a scientific, practical and realistic bases. We are trying to create a more harmonious relationship between animal and man. Concern for animal welfare is simply part of the broad spectrum of concerns for humanity itself. Our responsibility towards stray animals is to ensure their freedom from hunger and thirst and give them medical attention.”

For more info, contact Karuna Animal Welfare Association of Karnataka, Kasturba Road, Bangalore – 560001, Ph: 22860205 or e-mail: karunabangalore@sancharnet.in

Compassion with a vision

Run by Abodh Aras, a management professional, WSD is an organisation that is committed to the welfare of stray dogs. Meet Abodh Aras, the young, energetic and dynamic CEO of Welfare of Stray Dogs (WSD). Professionally highly-qualified with a hotel management diploma and an MBA from Institute of Technology and Management, Mumbai, it comes as a little surprise that he is the CEO of WSD. As he puts it, “I have worked with DHL earlier, but my passion and love for dogs made me quit my job and join as the CEO of WSD in 2000. Infact, I was working as a volunteer since 1995.” Abodh feels that the best stress buster is to have a pet! Interestingly, he never had a dog, even though he had cats. However, his favourite dog is Tommy at the WSD kennel, who was abandoned.

A humble beginning

Abodh told that WSD was formed in 1985 with a group of people, headed by Alim Chandani, with the sole purpose to convince Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) not to kill stray dogs. Daisy Sidhwa and Rajashree Khalap, the present honorary project managers, were among the first five members of WSD. “It was only in 1989, that the efforts of WSD started giving results. It was then that BMC relented and gave half a pound of their killing centre to WSD to sterilise dogs. In 1994, BMC handed the whole pound to WSD, which is today the sterilisation centre at Mahalaxmi, Mumbai,” he added.

Organisation structure

This highly systematic organisation has 18 people as well as 150 active volunteers to help the stray dogs. The staff consists of three project managers, two veterinary physicians, ten animal attendants, and two visiting veterinary surgeons. Abodh told, “Volunteers are selected carefully. We try to find out what the person likes to do, what skill and time he has and how the same can be best suited to the needs of the organisation. Today, we have volunteers from all walks of life and they are very committed to their work.”

Objectives

Abodh told that WSD aims at eradicating rabies, control stray dog population, educate public about rabies prevention and promote the adoption of stray dogs. Mass sterilisation and vaccination: WSD is engaged in mass sterilisation of stray dogs, who are caught by BMC, WSD volunteers or general public. Around 150-200 dogs are sterilised every month.

On-site first aid: Abodh initiated the on-site first aid system in 1995-1996. “Earlier, a lot of dogs who did not need to be housed but needed first-aid, used to end up coming to the hospital. To overcome this problem, we started on-site first aid for which I took 2 months training under a vet,” he told.

Today, the volunteers are trained to treat stray dogs on the street for skin problems, maggot wounds, injuries and other problems, which do not require the patient to be housed. It is a total team effort and inspite of their busy schedules, the volunteers report for their weekly meetings. “It also helps as a training ground for new volunteers,” he added.

WSD also organises Save Our Strays (SOS) workshops, wherein people are trained to recognise basic diseases and how to handle emergencies until a vet or an NGO arrives. “The next workshop is scheduled for November,” he added.

Adoption programme: WSD promotes the adoption of pariah dogs and pets who have been abandoned by their owners. “We have recently rescued 100 dogs from airport runways and are currently looking for a home for them,” informed Abodh.

“Our adoption process takes care of both the dog as well as human point of view. We perform strict screening of potential owners– and only when we are convinced, we give the dog to the family and then follow-up how they keep the dog. On the other hand, we also get the behavioural assessment of dog done before adoption and only when we are sure that the dog is adoptable and can adjust with a particular family, do we hand him over,” told Abodh.

Abodh further added, “We have products like T-shirts, collars, pillows and mattresses for dogs. In Mumbai, if people think of adoption, they think of WSD. We also conduct adoption melas. Even though the adoption becomes instantaneous in such places, we still follow the same procedure,” told Abodh.

Besides, they have formed WSD Indian Pariah Dog Club. “The idea is to promote the pariah as a loving breed, who is hardy and accustomed to the Indian climate, and also to show that currently a lot of people are adopting them. At present, we have 105 members,” told Abodh. With a smile, he added, “Pure breeds are not a member of this prestigious club!!”

Education and awareness programme: “We conduct awareness programmes in various schools, colleges, adult groups and public places. After every presentation in a school, we do a follow up with a project/ art competition and kids make amazing projects, which makes us feel great,” told Abodh with a twinkle in his eyes.

WSD also aims to bring down rabies in the city. “We educate people living in slums about rabies, dog bite prevention and sterilisation. We do this in tandem with other NGOs. Even at public places like railway stations, we run awareness booths. People have certain myths that all strays carry rabies and that scabies is rabies. We try to educate them about it,” elaborated Abodh. Coming on a humorous note, Abodh told that they once had a dog who had no hair on his body. They treated him and soon he started getting back hair. One bald hawker used to watch them and when he saw that the dog has started getting hair, he asked them if the same treatment could help him grow hair back on his head!!

Food for thought

Strays are a problem but killing them is not a solution. Abodh believes that strays will continue to exist because there is enough garbage/food for them to thrive on and they are the pets of the poor. Besides, strays are the part and parcel of socio-urban scenario of India. “We as an organisation need to ensure they are safe, non-rabid and the their population decreases due to sterilisation,” told Abodh.

Finances

“We work on donations of cash or kind. We have individual as well as corporate donors. Last year, SBI sponsored vaccination of dogs at Nariman,” he added. Abodh, however, feels that they need to do much more by increasing the number of sterilisations. On asking about what drives him, Abodh replied that the stray dogs and the people who go out of their way to help them, inspire him a lot.

For more info, contact WSD at Ph:(O) 23733433, (R) 23891070 or e-mail at wsd@rediffmail.com

Pause for Paws

Taking care of the abandoned dogs is a noble deed and various animal welfare organisations have taken up this responsibility. PAWS is one such NGO working diligently for this social cause.

What is PAWS?

Pet Animal Welfare Society, popularly known as PAWS, is a non-government, non-profitable animal welfare society. Initiated by Dr. R.T. Sharma, the president of the organisation, and a handful of animal lovers in 1998, PAWS is actively working in and around Delhi. PAWS treats all animals as pets of the society and works for their interest, safety and prevention of cruelty towards them.

PAWS shelter

The organisation has an animal shelter and boarding kennels for orphan, abandoned and rescued dogs and cats. They also board pets of people going away. They also have few kennels for post-operative care and indoor patients.

Functional areas of PAWS

PAWS is working for the betterment of stray animals and those who are abandoned by their owners. Some of their year-round activities include: ABC Programme and anti-rabies camp: ?The organisation is effectively implementing Animal Birth Control Programme (ABC) to control the population of strays in our country. For this, they pick up strays, vaccinate them against rabies, sterilise them and then release them in their respective territories. They tattoo their right ears for future identification. PAWS has undertaken thousands of sterilisations till now.

Ambulance service?:?PAWS runs a 24-hour ambulance service for animals in distress under its SOS (save our strays) programme. They also provide treatment, care and food to injured, sick and abandoned animals in shelter.

Rescue programme: Sometimes, pets are ill-treated by their owners. These pets are rescued by PAWS team and put up for adoption. They also undertake counselling of new owners regarding the care and management of adopted animal.

Free adoption programme : Rescued and stray pups are kept in their shelter till they find good homes.

Public awareness camps : PAWS organises public awareness camps to educate people about care and management of pets. They also educate people about the handling of cruelty cases against ill-treated pets. They also encourage people to adopt strays.

Pet Planet: the ultimate dream at PAWS

PAWS is working towards setting up a Pet Planet, which will be a hitech hospital and boarding shelter for animals. It will have facilities like vaccinations, treatments and surgeries of strays and pets, blood dialysis system, X-ray, ultrasound, blood transfusion, artificial insemination, ECG, dentistry, holistic healing, homeopathy, ayurveda, acupressure, etc.

An appeal

PAWS needs your helping paws to implement their aims and objectives. They call for volunteers who can give their valuable time for this noble deed. They also call for donations and suggestions.

More info can be had from, Dr. R.T. Sharma, President, PAWS, C-9/7, Masudpur Market, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi, Ph: 011-26895737, Mobile: 9810036254, e-mail: rt.s@indiatimes.com or visit www.pawsindia.org

CUPA: where compassion becomes the passion

Betsy is a one-year old Cocker Spaniel dog rescued by Compassion Unlimited Plus Action?(CUPA). You will be mesmerised if you look into her eyes. She is a friendly dog and loves people, especially children. Raja is a one and half year old black Pomeranian dog at CUPA. He loves to play. These are just two bundles of joy at CUPA, there are many more. Some even have a mission. Just like Luxmi.

Luxmi is a Dr. Dog at CUPA. Her daily routine includes visiting the Christle House for the unfortunate children without homes and families. She brings them joy and peace. She is equally welcomed at the old age homes and the playschools for the challenged. She came to CUPA in a fledgling stage, about 10 years ago. Her foreleg was badly hurt and had to be amputated. Her adorable nature made her a natural choice for the Dr. Dog Programme. Today she is an active, bouncing and lively member of the CUPA shelter and is a living example of an abandoned dog who bounced back to life to fill the lives of the less fortunate with an abundance of joy….the true spirit of Dr. Dog Programme or the Canine Therapist Programme.

The Canine Therapist Programme works on the principle that being in close contact with animals can have remarkable benefits on the physical and psychological well being of people. Closeness with animals have a natural healing effect on many medical conditions and statistics show that the average blood pressure and cholesterol level of patients owning pets are lower than those who do not. The companionship of animals helps to ease stress and tension, thus lowering risk of becoming sick. Surveys show that when patients are able to give their attention to an animal, they are able to forget their own suffering for a while. Simply, being in close contact with an animal makes you feel good!

Introduction of Canine Therapist Programme

This project is initiated by CUPA in Bangalore where animals are a source of joy, happiness, and provide therapeutic and stress treatment to mentally challenged children, autistic children, old age homes, hospitals, AIDS patients and terminally ill cancer patients .

Benefits of Canine Therapy

Autistic children who have become silent and withdrawn have been gently encouraged to open their hearts and share their problems. Some memorable moments in homes for the elderly have shown how much people look forward to the visits from their canine therapist.

CUPA inception

The Canine Therapist Programme is just one of the activities at CUPA which was founded in 1991 by Ms. Crystal Rogers, a lady of British origin who had settled in India. From two tiny rooms in the home of its Founder President, CUPA today operates from three centres within a total operating land area of ten and a half acres. At a very tender age, Ms. Rogers’ world-view encompassed humans and animals that needed help or protection. Animals remained her greatest passion and interest in life. Appalled by the miserable plight of the animals, Ms. Rogers decided to stay in India and founded Animals’ Friend in Delhi in 1959. The first organisation of its kind in India, it was an ideal shelter to give refuge to abused and abandoned animals. She was also one of the founder members of mobdro ios the Animal Welfare Board of India, together with Mrs. Rukmini Devi Arundale. This was established by the Government of India in March 1962. Impressed by her work, the Government of India not only gave her land for her work but honoured her with ‘Prani Mitra Award’ (Friend of all Animals). Ms. Rogers influenced an entire generation of young men and women who are actively involved today in the field of animal welfare and animal rights in India. In 1978, she established Help-In-Suffering, the HIS sanctuary in Jaipur. The same year, Ms. Rogers was honoured with the Richard Martin Award by the RSPCA, equivalent to the Queen Victoria Medal, for her invaluable contribution to the field of animal welfare.

Though Ms. Crystal Rogers is no more with us (she passed away in 1996), her life remains a source of inspiration to yet another generation of young animal welfare workers and activists.

For more info, contact: Compassion Unlimited Plus Action?–?CUPA, CUPA-UAS Veterinary Hospital & Shelter, Veterinary College Campus, Hebbal, Bangalore – 560 024, Tel: 91-080-23413427/ 23419177, e-mail:cupablr@vsnl.net or visit www:cupabangalore.org

IDA : Defending a cause

In Defence of Animals (IDA) has completed six years since its inception in October 1996. Within five months, they had started a mobile sterilization camp at Usha Nagar Society in Bhandup. Three years later, IDA got its own place at Deonar from BMC (Bombay Municipal Corporation). Thus began a whole saga of animal care and welfare.

The commitment to the welfare of animals is instilled in each member of the organization. Ms. Fizzah Shah, Vice President of IDA once found a big dog helplessly dangling his front leg looking for some bits of food in dirty garbage dump. She just could not leave the dog and brought him to the IDA center. His front leg had to be amputated and the people at the IDA center nurtured him back to health. IDA staff found him beautiful with those three legs and affectionately named him ‘Samosa’. In January 2002, Samosa represented IDA at SPCA Mixed Breed Show and won a very special prize of Rs. 1000/- & gained a lot of appreciation from all members and animal lovers. Today, Samosa is an idle happy dog at IDA. He eats well, plays well and he loves IDA people whole-heartedly. IDA has proved that life is always precious, and everybody should be given a chance to live. Samosa is just one of the innumerable dogs who owes his life to IDA.

Objectives of IDA:

The association aims to provide all necessary infra-structural facilities, such as shelters, ambulance service, medical assistance for care and welfare of animals. It promotes and implements humane methods of animal birth control through sterilization programme and is actively creating awareness among young generation/school children about kindness and compassion towards animals. IDA is also creating a strong volunteer base to fight against violence and ill-treatment to animals.

Prime activities of IDA:

Animal Birth Control Programme (ABC)?: IDA has maintained its target of sterili-zing around 200 dogs/month. Treatment for sick animals: IDA also treats innumerable ill and injured animals, mainly dogs and cats that are brought in by ambulances, or by volunteers and concerned citizens. Abandoned, old and seriously ill dogs find refuge in the shelter homes of IDA. Wildlife rescue group?: The Group dedicates itself to the rescue of wild animals like snakes, parrots, monkeys, from the vendors. Adoption programme?: The association aims to provide home to dogs which are abandoned by the owner due to some health issue, old age or behavioral problem. Such dogs are rehomed after they get a temperament test. During this year, IDA could successfully rehomed – 5 Pomerians, 2 Dobermans and 13 pariah dogs including 9 rescued from the airport track.

IDA is an organization in action, continuously trying to upgrade the general living conditions of the dogs at work. For this, it has submitted a draft to the Govt of Maharashtra for welfare of dogs working as police dogs.

It is also trying to create awareness about the plight of dogs that are often beaten up, poisoned, killed or ill-treated by people. For this, Ms. Fizzah Shah and Mrs. Aban Bhote, committee member regularly visit different schools and educate children about it.

It even organizes fun-filled events to bring owners and pets together to spend quality time and also encourage adoption of mix breed or street dogs. It also hosts charity events. At one such screening of the film Scooby-doo and Monsters Unleashed, IDA honoured people who have specially adopted handicapped animals and showed a demonstration by a trained assistant dog (on how a dog helps a disabled person in his day-to-day life).

One can only say IDA is an organisaiton with noble cause! IDA is always looking for volunteers who are dedicated to the cause of animal welfare. If you wish to be one such volunteer or wish to contribute in form of donations, please contact: Pooja Sathe at 7, Shanti Kunj, 124, Hindu Colony, 5th Lane, Dadar, Mumbai -400014, Tel: 022-56268028, 09820596903, e-mail: info@idaindia.org or visit www.indefenceofanimals.org