Tuesday, 9 August 2011

A home for Rani

A shelter in Chhatarpur takes care of wounded, abandoned and sick dogs. The healthier of this lot even get adopted.

Rani sat on a chair, slouching and sleepy. Her three kids had been adopted and Rani too hopes to find a new home soon. A year ago, her owners had abandoned her after they discovered rashes on her skin. Now, with regular booster shots at the Sai Animal Welfare Ashram, the four-year-old silky white Pomeranian is fit to be adopted. 

The Sai Animal Welfare Ashram, a nondescript building in Satbari area of Chhatarpur on the fringes of Delhi, is a non-profit shelter for wounded, abandoned and sick dogs. As you walk down the unmetalled road leading to the ashram, the inmates greet you with generous wags of their tails. 

The ashram was started by the late Vishvant Kumar, owner of Modern Bazaar in Vasant Vihar, in 2001 with 10 homeless dogs. Today, it has around 300 dogs and a caretaker, Rajeev Vij, who manages this shelter along with five other men and a few volunteers. Vij says he has been associated with this ashram since the beginning

The dogs here are well-fed and get good care, with their diet charted out. Breakfast is bread and milk, lunch is a bowl-full of dog food, and a meal of rice and chicken awaits them at dinnertime. Vij says the ashram cooks 40 kg of rice a day and there are days they fall short. 

“ I make a visit to the shelter everyday and make sure all the dogs are well fed. For the last two years, a non-profit organisation, Red Paws Rescue, has been helping this ashram. We also have people who donate food and money,” says Vij.

Sadhwi Sondhi, founder of Red Paws Rescue, said, “Along with at least 15 volunteers, I visit the ashram every Sunday and bathe, feed and treat the dogs”. Red Paws Rescue raises funds for the ashram through social networking sites and also puts healthy dogs up for adoption. 

Vij says, “We also have a cemetery for dogs. Here, owners can have epithets and fancy gravestones for their late pets, for which we charge a small fee that helps us raise some fund for our organisation.” 

To adopt dogs, call on 9958866067 or 9810099711 or email redpawsrescue@gmail.com with your contact details

My take

Many people buy or adopt a dog without realizing the responsibility that comes along with it. This often results in the dog being abandoned by the owners. Unfortunately this trend is on a rise in India. Shelters across the country have witnessed and rescued many such abandoned pets. 

While animal welfare organizations undertake a commendable task of rescuing, nursing animals to health, getting them adopted, creating awareness, etc. I feel they go many step backwards in their goal of eliminating animal suffering, when they feed meat (where it can be avoided) to shelter animals.

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