Love for animals turned into a passion when I met my husband in Kuwait in 1999. The first email we exchanged was about animals. He had so much to tell me about freedom and life in India and his 5 lovely Indian dogs. Mid 2004 we packed up and headed to Lucknow, India. It was there, that I saw the sorry state and suffering of road side animals, helpless and without any aid. Sandeep and I decided to something about it.
We would go out patrolling the streets at night to treat injured animals. I learnt the hard way that it was not a done thing for bahus in the north to run on the street after injured animals. I had two choices – worry about society or help a helpless animal that was being eaten alive by worms. Of course, you can guess what I chose. I never looked back. In 2007 when we shifted to Mumbai, I got into it full time. In 3 years, with the help of IDA (In Defence of Animals) Mumbai and the support of my husband and other volunteers we managed to get 450 dogs sterilized in the area where I reside.
Sterilization is necessary because the pups born are crushed by cars, thrown in gutters alive or cruelly sent to their death. The stray dog population had increased so much that the Mumbai municipality, ordered all the unsterilized ones to be caught and culled a few years back. They were taken to court by the public and the decision was delayed. We have to do our best to sterilize as many animals as possible before another decree is passed. A sterilized dog leads a healthier life with no risk of childbirth. Shopkeepers keep them fed outside their shops because they live peacefully without fighting during mating season and of course the population also reduces. As long as they are alive they live healthy and peaceful lives.
After the dog is sterilized, it is returned to its original area, and we keep tabs and make sure to do an anti-rabies drive for those dogs every year so people will not be afraid of them. People started noticing the work, and many offered to help. Phone calls started pouring in from store owners, auto drivers and locals for help for injured animals when they spotted them. Mumbai over the years has opened up even more to the cause of stray animals, yet so many suffer. Even today, dogs are rescued from the clutches of horrible owners. Many burnt, tortured, starved and even raped. Dogs were even rescued from porn sets in Mumbai. Elite women who make videos like this.
Every day we hear stories of animals that are adopted or bought and then cruelly abandoned on the road. Many are used for breeding purposes and made to have pups over and over again until they cannot and then they are tied to lamp posts and left to die with the uterus hanging out. How cruel to earn a living from the stomach of another being. Can we buy and sell living things? Do we go to the market to buy our kids? We can only buy and sell commodities. Life is not a commodity. It is a blessing.
Dogs of hi-fi breeds are bought as a status symbol and then abandoned because there is a baby born in the family, there is a new sofa, in laws can’t stand the animals, wife/husband has a problem with the pet or they are relocating. What’s to be done then???
a. Throw the animal from a moving auto.
b. No, No, better leave it in a toilet to die of starvation.
c. Even better, sell it to a breeder who can use its body to earn him the ‘Almighty Rupee’.
There are many volunteers around me who do much more. Many do feeding programmes, some drive the ambulance, some do the medication and some help with funds. We work hand in hand to do this…We get cats sterilized regularly and many volunteers help with post-operative care. Many also help foster an animal until it gets well or adopted. Our wonderful Maruti 800 sucks the most money. It has the machinery of a 100 year old. We also need medicines on a regular basis like Amoxicillin, Betadine ointment and powder, syringes, Himax, Ivermectin etc.
Often in my conversations with women I have to keep telling them that if one woman cannot help the other, then what is the use of being a woman. A man will not understand our fears, pain and tribulations. It is up to us to teach empathy to one another all over again! God bless.
The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated”. Mahatma Gandhi
What is your stance on ‘Animal Welfare’? Do you also want to do something for the stray animals in your area?