Anand Chhaaya: towards holistic healing

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Established a decade ago as a refuge for distressed dogs, Anand Chhaaya has emerged as a paradise for them. Here’s more on this shelter of happiness.

The beginning…

In 1997, Anand Chhaaya was started as a refuge for dogs. “Anand Chhaaya (meaning shelter of happiness) is the home I built with my bare hands and every dog in this home is my child. It started in a small way with feeding the local dogs and rescuing injured ones and sheltering them in my house. At one time we had about twenty dogs living in the house and a few more on the road!” told Jaya Bhattacharya, the founder of Anand Chhaaya.

“The intention behind it was to provide treatment and lots of TLC, so we could socialize them, heal them – physically as well as emotionally and eventually get them adopted into loving and caring homes after vaccinating as well as spaying/neutering,” shared Jaya. The other main objective of Anand Chhaaya was to control the stray dog population in Bangalore through the systematic ‘Animal Birth Control’ programme. Five years later, the shelter was officially registered as an organization in 2002.

Humanely different…

“Anand Chhaaya is a ‘no kill’ organization where only the terminally ill and rabid dogs are humanely euthanized,” she added as a matter of fact.

They have also followed a unique technique that has proved to be extremely successful in the last ten years. This technique involves befriending the dogs and carrying out the programme rather than lassoing. The latter method has been proven to cause immense pain and trauma to the animal. Over 20,000 dogs have been vaccinated and sterilized by Anand Chhaaya so far.

Gaining momentum…

“Up until mid 2007, I was able to run the shelter almost entirely on family money and donations from kind hearted friends. It has now become impossible for me to fund it individually and fortunately people have come forward to help my abused canine children. There have been highs and lows, but one thing that has remained constant is our struggle to keep these dogs safe and their boundless love for us,” narrated Jaya.

Anand Chhaaya today…

“ Our animal shelter, now located near Hennur, accommodates abandoned and/or injured dogs and pups till they can be rehabilitated. The organization believes that every animal should be given a chance at life. Today, it is home to over 160 dogs. Our mission statement is ‘To strive for the welfare of human society and the environment through the improvement of animal welfare causes in an ethical and humane manner,” she explained.

“There are 5 dog keepers, who work 24×7 to ensure that the shelter is clean and provide two meals a day for all the dogs,” Jaya further added. “All dogs are like my family members, but the ones that the shelter was born with are extra special to me. Now they are aged veterans of the shelter. Hibiscus, Othello, Spotty, Julie, Molly, Snowy, Joker, Jack, Jill and Shenzi, some of whom are no more, were among my first rescues and they have struggled and grown with Anand Chhaaya and I share a special bond with them,” recounted Jaya.
The shelter offers facilities like ambulance, rescue operation, rehabilitation, vaccination, spaying/neutering, socializing and getting the dogs adopted, besides offering awareness and educational programmes. “We aim at conducting educational programmes to sensitize people towards animal cruelty, raise awareness about the wonderful Bharat Hounds, as well as to help them train their pets so that they can bond with and be proud of their pets and their pets can enjoy a lifetime of togetherness and happiness with their families. Soon, we would be starting dog training facilities as well,” she added.

Going on…

“Whenever I look into the eyes of a helpless animal and see the innocence and purity of their soul, I could never, and will never be able to, walk away from them. This feeling led me to establish Anand Chhaaya. There is an instant bond between us, like that of a mother and her child. This is my calling, the purpose of my life. I feel a devotion towards them that is prayerful in nature and I hope to work till my last breath for the betterment of these hapless dogs that have constantly been at the mercy of man,” Jaya envisaged.

Sharing views…

“It is very distressing to see people picking up puppies and realizing that they cannot care for them once they are grown up. When an animal is adopted, one should be fully aware of all the commitments and responsibilities and expense that come with that. Also, our very own Bharat Hound is more hardy, healthy and loyal than most of the expensive pedigree dogs that people go in for. Besides, sterilization needs to be promoted in a big way among pets. However, the most basic thing I ask of people is to respect animals and plants as a life form. Cruelty to these hapless animals should not go unpunished,” concluded Jaya.