After Panda's rescue (mentioned in an earlier post), there was a period where I wasn’t involved with any rescues (thanks to my extended holiday and business travel commitments). That doesn’t mean there weren’t any. Our team & volunteers are constantly at it.
Most of the distress calls for animals are due to road accidents. Being an animal lover and also a driver of a vehicle, I look at this situation in an equonamous fashion and understand that it’s not just the fault of the driver of the vehicle. The urban environment with the mind set of most people is quite hostile for stray animals.
Reflect on some common causes of dogs getting into accidents.
1. Many people so unconsciously shoo away dogs when they come across them on the streets, that the dog is startled into jumping away and actually finds itself hit by a vehicle.
2. Dogs crossing the road to look for food or chase another dog who has dared to stray into its territory.
3. They sleep under vehicles and when the vehicle starts, they can’t get out quickly enough.
4. During festivals, the noise makes them run helter skelter looking for relief from this noise. In this scared, hyper mode, they are not so alert and tend to get hit by vehicles.
5. Besides these, open man holes, unfinished infrastructure having gaping holes, construction sites etc also are harmful to the poor souls.
My recent rescues in the last 7 days would give you an idea of what the animals really go through (I don’t have enough data on the rescues done by the rest of my team)
1. A small cute kitten (now called Rini) was attacked by a dog and was lying prone (paralyzed) in the compound of a bungalow. Thanks to the caller, timely attention by the vet and now loads of tender loving care and attention by Mitali (who actually individually runs a cat rescue, care and adoption center); she is now on her way to recovery. If anybody wants to adopt cute adorable cats/kittens, please write to Mitali at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. Another kitten (whom we called Tiger, since she looked like a tiger), who was actually noticed by my friend Prem, to have a broken hind leg. It's been observed that kittens have a tendency to hide behind the radiators of cars in parking lots. Despite veterinary attention, she didn’t survive the night. Cause was an internal hemorrhage.
3. While returning home one night, I observed a dog on his side trying desperately to crawl out of a deep water filled pothole on West Street (near the pay and park on East Street). I stopped and saw that he was a fairly old dog, skin disease and paralyzed from the waist down. He didn’t have enough leverage to get himself out of the water filled ditch. Probably might have been in that position for ages. While I was talking to Neha and Shruti to figure out what to do, he died right in front of my eyes. I pulled him out of the ditch and left him there.
4. Immediately after that I attended to a call on Dhole Patil road. An elusive but weak dog was reported. Wasn’t eating and couldn’t walk too far before collapsing. I found him, and from the waist down seemed very weak and also twitching continuously. I conferred with Shruti and left him to be picked up the ambulance the next day. Since I wasn’t available the next day, Sameer attended to him. It turned out that he was distemper case, recovered.
5. A few days back, I woke up to cries of distress which sounded like puppies. I went down and asking around I found one puppy crouching between a telephone exchange box and the wall. I thought he was stuck so he was howling. I pulled him out and took him home. While going to work immediately after, a friend of mine Aspi, called to inform me that there seem to be puppies below the same telephone box. Then I realized that probably some of them had fallen in and the puppy on the outside was crying for his family. Now we have a situation. This particular telephone exchange box was mounted on a frame which was about 3 feet into the ground. Ideally the frame and box should have had no gaps (unfinished and poorly implemented infrastructure). But it had a four inch gap through which one or more puppies had fallen into the ditch. No way to look in and gap too small to put the hand through. The only solution was to remove the box. It was a struggle, but thanks to timely help by my friends Sunil, Rohit and Murtuzza who provided the tools to open the nuts, we pulled out the puppy. Both are now fine and are staying at the dog pound. Both are very cute, dark colored male puppies. Let me know if you would like to adopt.
6. Last night was a completely paralyzed dog who could only lift his head. There was a large swelling in the lower back, spine area pointing to a road accident again. No external wounds. Didn’t survive.
Yes, I know that the basic cause is that we are not supposed to have strays. And for this we have a WHO directive and enough evidence to support the fact that this population in the dogs can be controlled only by sterilizing them in pockets.
But while that happens, we can’t act irresponsibly about them. Remember they are living, breathing, sensitive creatures. If we feel that they are invading our space, the reverse is also true.
We need to accept them, respect them, help them and work towards reducing their population.
I think the key word here is "responsibility" and "ownership". Let’s not simply wait for "someone" to fix this problem. Do what you can. If you feel helpless, at least call when you see an animal in distress and see that rescue through by providing the necessary local support.
So what can you do?
1. Take leadership and work towards getting the dogs in your area sterilized. The only effort you need to put in is to coordinate this and provide some local logistical support to one of the animal welfare organizations who exclusively do birth control e.g. Blue cross society.
2. Educate yourself and your children on accepting strays as part of the ecosystem we live in. Teach them to treat the strays with respect and not be afraid of them or cause them any harm.
3. If you see an animal in distress, please do stop and evaluate the situation. It’s a selfless act to be responsible for a life. You happening to be there could be looked at as a chance or a part of a larger play out by the universe to give you an opportunity to do something large. Call our rescue hotline 98903 34433
4. If you would like to keep pets, adopt a stray. They are hardy, low maintenance and very loving. And they need a home.