We are no experts and neither do we run an animal ambulance or hospital that tends to animals. We do it one street dog (or at best two or three) at a time and try to do our best in getting them treated/taking care of them and returning them back to the streets/areas where we picked them up/rescued them from.
We would like to share here what we have learnt, in our few years of doing this work on how best YOU can also try to pick an animal in need; place them in your car and take them to the nearest good vet for treatment/first aid.
Sometimes, a few regular visits to a good vet are all the injured street dog needs to recover back to full fitness. Also, try and learn some animal first aid yourself; and keep a first aid kit handy with regular medicines (please read this link: https://jaagruti.org/first-aid-for-dogs/)
Please remember sending each and every injured/ill animal to the animal hospital is NOT the solution. The animals recover better when treated on the streets, wherever possible, when tended to by animal lovers in the area and taken to vets, as advised periodically(and given supplementary medication mixed in food as advised by the vet) till they have completely recovered.
Some vets also do street dog sterilization surgeries (by prior appointments only) at their private clinics, at minimal costs for the dog lovers who tend to street dogs in their area and are willing to take care of the sterilized dogs in their homes for a few nights till they recover from the surgery, by sheltering them at their homes for this period of recovery. You need to find such good veterinary surgeons around your home so that tending to animals and getting them treated, sterilized and vaccinated doesn’t become a stressful chore for you, but rather a duty you perform with smile and satisfaction.
However, dogs do try to run away when they sense that you are trying to catch them…when they are injured, they may also tend to bite you, that is not because they hurt you, but because they are already in pain, that may have been inflicted by ‘humans’ only, and are thus less trusting of you
So here goes our checklist for catching an injured street dog and taking them for medical treatment:
1. Make sure you are at least two people, as two are always better than one, when it comes to extending moral, emotional and physical support to each other…all of which is required when it comes to getting an injured animal treated.
2. Take some dry dog food with you to tempt the animal to you and allowing the animal to trust you to pet/touch them.
3. Equipments you will need to catch a dog:
a. A naada i.e. a cloth string/rope that is used to tie pyjamas here in India)- it works better than a muzzle and we use the same to tie the dog’s mouth and then take it around the neck and tie it at the back of the neck. The naada is gentle and better on the snout.
b. A dog leash (one with collar and one without collar)- the handle of the leash without the collar also acts as a good thing to put around the dog’s neck, while sliding the leash through it so that it becomes a lock.
c. Cover your car seats/floor with a waterproof cloth or/and old bed sheets to avoid getting your car covers/flooring dirty, as the dogs may vomit (due to motion sickness), pee/urinate or poo/defacate en-route, please be prepared for it (Do this preparatory work in your car before you go to rescue the dog).
4. Lifting the dog: Once the snout is muzzled and the leash is tied around their neck (which also gives us a chance to ensure that the dog doesn’t run away once we land at the vet’s clinic), and then lift the dog up in your arms by placing your hands across/under their chest to establish a tight grip as you lift them up. Yes, you are thinking right, you need to be physically strong and firm on your feet to lift dogs up in your arms this way.
5. Place the dog in your car: We take the dogs in our car, we have a Santro, we push down/fold down the backseat, so that the boot of the car and this space adds up and the dog has enough space. Sometimes, for small-sized dogs, we have used pet carriers; but mostly, we just place them in the car the above way and then when we reach our destination (the vet’s place/hospital)…once you have placed the dog inside your car, roll down the window just by a few inches (for ventilation) and not too much the dog tries to stick its neck out and run away.
6. Also, try to ensure a crowd doesn’t gather (which may happen, as the dog being caught will try to scream as a defensive reaction); too many people crowding together will make the animal nervous. To disperse the crowd, take help of your team mates and gently try to explain them what you are doing and request them to disperse.
What we do? We have, through experience, learnt to talk and explain about such things gradually with different kinds of people; and when we are only trying to benefit a living being, what’s the shame in trying to answer curious queries…People do listen. While we request people to move inside their homes and not crowd about as the animal is in any case scared, some listen, some don’t and when they don’t, sometimes we have to be forceful and assertive in requesting them, while trying to make sure that we don’t enter into a fight by offending their sensibilities, its a test of patience we agree, but then it’s all worth it.
7. Once you reach the vet’s clinic, either request help from their paravets to take the dog from your car to the vet’s examination room/table. Or ensure that you lift the dog back into your arms carefully (taking care that all other windows/car gates are locked) and take him/her inside the clinic.
Please do share your experiences by writing to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or posting comments below. This is just a synopsis of what we do and what works for us.