Posted in Against Animal Cruelty, Animal Birth Control (ABC) Programme/Street Dog Sterilization, Animal Laws of India, Articles, Be the Change, Do you know?, Do-it-Yourself (DIY) Series, Information that empowers!, Street Dogs of India, Take Action!

Noida Federation instructions to Resident Welfare Associations regarding lawful manner of dealing with street dogs

After the Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon’s directive to Presidents of all Gurgaon-based Residential Welfare Associations (RWAs) to stop harassing people/residents who have pets and tend to street dogs, comes the below mentioned letter issued by Federation of Noida Resident Welfare Associations to all its member RWAs in Noida, apprising them on the lawful manner of dealing with street dogs and the people who tend to them, feed them, get them sterilized and vaccinated.

So, for all those of you who stay in Noida and are being harassed by your respective RWA for feeding and tending to street dogs, please take note of this important letter, download it from the link below and use it to fight your case for the animals you care for.

Download by clicking here – Noida Federation instructions to RWAs regarding lawful manner of dealing with street dogs

Noida Federation instructions to RWAs regarding street dogs_Page 1 of the letter
Noida Federation instructions to RWAs regarding street dogs_Page 1 of the letter
Noida Federation instructions to RWAs regarding street dogs_Page 2 of the Letter
Noida Federation instructions to RWAs regarding street dogs_Page 2 of the Letter

Please also read:

Gurgaon Municipal Corporation’s Directive to Presidents of Residential Welfare Societies to stop harassing people who have pets and tend to street dogs

Posted in Against Animal Cruelty, Animals, Do you know?, Games people play, Information that empowers!, News Reports, Pets, Take Action!

The law on pet owners in apartments

The Hindu published the following article on the laws pet owners have to keep animals in their houses

With apartment complexes becoming the norm, it becomes important for pet owners to understand their rights and responsibilities, for the welfare of their pets and their neighbours. Residents sometimes find a letter taped to the notice board (on behalf of the Apartment Association) that says that pets are banned and that owners must either vacate or abandon their pets.

“This is tantamount to harassment, and utterly unlawful,”says Anjali Sharma, Advocate, practising at the Delhi High Court and Supreme Court of India, who is an Executive Committee Member of, and Legal Advisor to the Animal Welfare Board of India. “Apartment owners’ associations and residents’ welfare associations cannot ‘legislate’. They cannot take it upon themselves to issue ‘edicts’ and restrict rights available to citizens. There is no law enacted by Parliament or any State Legislature that ‘bans’ companion animals. At best, municipalities and local authorities can regulate, or insist on registration or licensing of pets. These high handed circulars and letters suddenly taped to notice boards are therefore illegal. By pressurizing people to abandon their pets in this manner, they actually compel them to violate the law, since Section 11 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, declares the same as being an offence.

She notes that consumer courts at Mumbai have at least on two occasions upheld the rights of residents faced with similar harassment, and observed that in the present times, pets are akin to children. Denying pet-owners the right to use elevators or common areas with their pets has been held to be deficiency in service on the part of these associations. She therefore urges pet-owners to stand by their companion animals in the face of such harassment, and refuse to ‘give them up’, or abandon them.

These rights, however, do come with duties. Pet-owners must earn the goodwill of neighbours by keeping their dogs on leash while in common areas and cleaning up after them if they soil the place. Sharma tells pet owners that being considerate is a must, and a basic courtesy. “Be reasonable”, is her simple, yet powerful advice to pet owners. “Exercise care. Ensure that their vaccinations are always up to date. And always walk your dog with a leash”. She signs off with the advice that being a responsible pet parent is important to ensure harmony in community living.

Posted in Against Animal Cruelty, Animal Laws of India, Be the Change, Do you know?, Do-it-Yourself (DIY)Series: Animal Rescue and Treatment, Games people play, Information that empowers!, Pets, Stories from Ground Zero, Take Action!

Gurgaon Municipal Corporation’s Directive to Presidents of Residential Welfare Societies to stop harassing people who have pets and tend to street dogs

Below are embedded image files/scans of a 3 page letter issued by Commissioner of Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon to Presidents of all RWAs in Gurgaon to stop harassing people who tend to street dogs and those who have pets (by passing unlawful dictats of banning pet dogs). Please use it to contest against your respective RWA’s who come out with weird aristocratic bye-laws on the same.

You can download all these pages combined together as  PDF File by clicking on the link below.

Gurgaon-Municipal-Corporation-Directive-regarding-pet-dogs-and-stray-dogs_2012 (https://jaagrutiindia.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/gurgaon-municipal-corporation-directive-regarding-pet-dogs-and-stray-dogs_2012.pdf)

Gurgaon-Municipal-Corporation-Directive-regarding-pet-dogs-and-stray-dogs_2012_Page 1
Gurgaon-Municipal-Corporation-Directive-regarding-pet-dogs-and-street-dogs_2012_Page 1
Gurgaon-Municipal-Corporation-Directive-regarding-pet-dogs-and-stray-dogs_2012_Page 2
Gurgaon-Municipal-Corporation-Directive-regarding-pet-dogs-and-street-dogs_2012_Page 2
Gurgaon-Municipal-Corporation-Directive-regarding-pet-dogs-and-stray-dogs_2012_Page 3
Gurgaon-Municipal-Corporation-Directive-regarding-pet-dogs-and-street-dogs_2012_Page 3

Suggested reading:

For all yours reference again, please click the link below to the Notice issued by a battery of lawyers to a Gurgaon based RWA that came out with an absurd ruling to ban people from having pets.

Legal notice issued to Kanchanjunga Coop.Group Housing Society at Gurgaon 

Also, please refer to this page on the website of Pet Parents Association.

Posted in Against Animal Cruelty, Animals, Be the Change, Do you know?, Games people play, General/Animals, Information that empowers!, Pets, Take Action!

Pets and Resident Welfare Associations (RWA): How does the law treat your pet?

Everyday, we receive many queries and calls over the Jaagruti helpline complaining about how their Residential Society’s Welfare Associations (commonly abbreviated as RWA’s) putting up notices ‘banning pets’, coming out with ‘no pets allowed’ clauses in their society bye-laws, ‘asking people to abandon their pets’, ‘mistreating street dogs’ etc. The article below by Rishi Dev of Citizens for Animal Rights, is a must-read for all those facing such a situation. This article explains as well as empowers you with information to fight your own respective battles in this regard for your sake and for your pet child..who has no one other than you in this world to fight for him/her or their rights.

Guest Post* by Rishi Dev, Citizens for Animal Rights

In 2010, the Central Mumbai Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum gave a strong directive to a group housing society who was charging a pet owner resident monthly fees for using lifts. The court clearly said – “Dogs are part of a family hence they have the right to use the lift just as any other member, and we cannot decide who is a family member and who isn’t, each family decides for itself.”

Before this in 2008 a similar order came from a lower court that clarified that pets are part of family and cannot be restricted from living or using the residential complexes.

In 2012, the Gurgaon Municipal Corporation was the first of their kind to issue strict notices to all CGHS and RWAs in Gurgaon, warning them not to formulate rules and regulations against pets and that any such move is in conflict with the law. The notices clearly stated – “Such a move may lead to dissolution of the RWA and prosecution of its office bearers, says the letter. It is illegal to remove animals from the area through security guards employed by RWAs. Nor can they intimidate residents who may be feeding those animals. Under stray dog management rules 2001, it’s illegal for an individual, RWA or estate management to remove or relocate dogs. The dogs have to be sterilized and vaccinated and returned to the same area. Vaccinated and sterilized dogs cannot be removed by the municipality too. Under Section 506 of the IPC, it’s a crime to threaten abuse or harass neighbors who feed animals.”

So what is origin of these laws protecting dogs and cats from humans who treat them unequal?

The system of law in Indian is a tiered system, based on Arthashastra from 400 B.C. & Manusmriti from 100 A.D. wherein the central philosophy was tolerance & pluralism. This is the reason the constitution declares India to be a sovereign socialist secular democratic republic, assuring its citizens justice, equality, and liberty.

The hierarchical system of Indian constitution thus forbids the lower hierarchies to overrule or override the higher orders, laws, directions or acts. This means that if Supreme Court says ‘yes’ to something, the ‘no’ by the high courts’ gets automatically nullified. This hierarchy comes down to the lowest local urban body or court. In India most courts have already ruled in favor of the animals in all respects. Hence any organization, individual or body ruling or following actions against such orders are automatically breaking the law and in contempt of the constitution and the honorable courts.

There are laws and constitutional provisions directly allowing people to take care of animals, whether inside or outside their places of work or living. The laws clearly protect people and their animals from all kinds of discrimination.  The Indian constitution states them very clearly via various sections. Article 48-A – “The State shall endeavor to protect & improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wildlife of the country.” Article 51-A deals with the fundamental duties of the citizen.  Article 51-A(g) states – ” It shall be duty of every citizen of India to protect & improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wildlife and to have compassion for living creatures.” Article 19 deals with the fundamental rights of the citizen. So “Right to Protect the Environment ” comes within Article 19. After the Stockholm Declaration in 1972 the Indian Constitution (Forty-second Amendment) Act, 1976 inserted for the first time specific provisions to protect & improve the environment. I.P.C. Section 428 and 429 provides severe punishment to people resorting to dislocation, abduction and acts of cruelty towards community animals or pets. Ministry of Public Grievances notification and a similar notification by Animal Welfare Board of India dated March 2008, provide immunity to animal feeders and restrict government employees or bodies such as Resident Welfare Associations from harassing people who try to feed or help animals. Article 25, 26, 27, 28 provides religious freedom to all citizens and preserves the principle of secularism in India. According to the constitution, all religions are equal before the State. Citizens are free to preach, practice and propagate any religion of their choice in their own way. Keeping or feeding animals is a part of the same right. The other acts which protect animals are The  Environment (Protection)  Act – 1986 & Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972.

Hence, anyone taking care, keeping pets or street animals has natural immunity in the law. There are many orders pertaining to street animals by many courts. But in the recent times many RWAs have shown their autocracy over residents keeping pets. Keeping the same in mind the Animal Welfare Board of India and many municipal corporations have time and again written to the Registrar of Societies (ROS) and their RWAs to refrain from these undemocratic actions.

An RWA is a private, representative body which has no legal sanctity. It is just a group of people who have come together and formed a club. Their resolutions and bye laws are not legal mandates and especially if they violate the fundamental rights of a citizen or even more goes against an existing court order. Such RWAs can be legally prosecuted and if need be can face fines or imprisonment or both. Such precedence has been set before. If any resident faces such harassment from RWAs, must immediately approach the local magistrate and file a complaint of harassment and violation of their fundamental rights. The complaint must also be sent to ROS asking them to dissolve the RWA with immediate effect. AWBI must also be approached for taking appropriate legal action against such RWA members.

Posted in Against Animal Cruelty, Be the Change, Games people play, Inspiration, News Reports

If you’re different from the crowd, be proud of it

A few weeks back, someone happened to share with us the following article over an e-mail, the reason we are sharing it here is because we also get asked such questions repeatedly, by the people whom we interact professionally or personally, the most common of them being Why do you work for animals, when there are so many suffering humans around?

Also when we attend to animal-issues specific calls on the Jaagruti helpline, some callers often try to argue with us on the subject saying, ‘human lives are more precious than animals, Madam!’

This article, kind courtesy of OpEd News by Dr. Charles Patterson, author of Eternal Treblinka: Our Treatment of Animals and the Holocaust makes for an inspiring read for people like us, and also tries to address those who question people like us who dare and care to be different in their own quiet ways to make a difference to the animals around them and the humans who care for them.

“Against the Current”

How often have you heard complaints that animal activists are misguided and have misplaced priorities? The implication is that people who care about animals are disrespectful of or even hostile to human values, the oppression of animals being the oldest and most strongly defended human prerogative. Critics ask, how can the interests of animals in any way be as important as human problems like war, poverty, disease, hunger, AIDS, racism, genocide?

Those who claim that the lives of animals are of little or no importance reflect the deep-seated speciesism of our society. They defend the status quo of human supremacy as strongly as the supporters of slavery and white supremacy used to claim that the lives and well-being of slaves were of little or no importance.

Another deep-seated conviction of our society is that when it comes to animals, might makes right. The late AIDS and animal activist, Steven Simmons, described the attitude: “Animals are the innocent casualties of the world view that asserts that some lives are more valuable than others, that the powerful are entitled to exploit the powerless, and that the weak must be sacrificed for the greater good.”

This is, of course, fascism pure and simple. Indeed, it was Mr. Fascism himself, Adolph Hitler, who stated the matter directly: “He, who does not possess power, loses the right to life.” How ironic that Hitler’s view is now flourishing in the United States where millions of cows, pigs, sheep, chickens and other innocent animals are killed every day because they are powerless to defend themselves against the might of the master species.

The great divide between humans and the rest of the earth’s inhabitants began about 11,000 years ago in the Middle East with the so-called “domestication” of animals. The enslavement of oxen, sheep, goats and other animals quickly led to human slavery and the treatment of human slaves like animals. The enslavement of animals increased significantly the level of cruelty, oppression, and conflict in human history.

The vilification of other people as animals followed. Europeans called Native Americans beasts, wolves, and snakes, and Africans transported to the Americas to be sold into slavery were treated like domesticated animals. During World War II Americans described the Japanese as yellow monkeys, dogs, rats, and vermin to be exterminated.

The vilification of people as animals made it that much easier to kill them because most humans have been brain washed from an early age to have little regard for the lives of animals.

In the memoirs of Holocaust survivors, the constant refrain is “they treated us like animals.” Victims of the Nazis were transported to extermination camps in cattle cars and were killed in assembly-line fashion, much like animals are killed today in American slaughterhouses.

The grim but undeniable truth is that our civilization is built on the exploitation and slaughter of animals, and it is from this core oppression that all other atrocities flow. The abuse of animals and the destruction of the earth are the crux of what’s wrong with our society.

Those who advocate for animals and fight for their liberation, radicals in the best sense of the word, are attacking the roots of human oppression in the most direct and effective way. Thank goodness there are people willing to go right to the heart of the matter with their dedicated activism. Each and every one of them is a hero and will be judged as such from the hindsight of history.

I’m reminded of the observation that Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, made more than a century ago. “It’s a matter of taking the side of the weak against the strong,” she said, “something the best people have always done.”

Don’t let anyone tell you that the life-and-death struggle for animals liberation against the fascist underpinnings of our society is anything other than a noble enterprise of the utmost urgency. Nothing is more important.

And don’t worry too much about complaints and criticism.

You will be going against the current of what society thinks, but so be it.

To quote the German poet Goethe, “The world only goes forward because of those who oppose it.”

 

About the author – Dr. Charles Patterson:

Dr. Charles Patterson is a social historian, Holocaust educator, editor, therapist, and author. His first book, Anti-Semitism: The Road to the Holocaust and Beyond, was called “important” by Publisher’s Weekly. The National Council for the Social Studies in Washington, D.C. presented Patterson with its Carter G. Woodson Book Award for his biography of Marian Anderson at a special luncheon at its annual convention in St. Louis, Missouri in 1989. His most recent book is Eternal Treblinka: Our Treatment of Animals and the Holocaust (now in 15 languages). For more information on his writings and activities, see his website.

Posted in Animals, Be the Change, Inspiration, Relationships

Thought for the day

“It doesn’t matter who you are or what you look like, so long as their is somebody to love you”, said Roald Dahl.

Each rescued dog we revisit after rehabilitating them back to their home territories post treatment showers us with bountiful of love, we visited two of them the night before yesterday as we passed by their ‘areas’ (streets where they stay).

Image Courtesy: http://www.drawthedog.com

For most of us who do anything off the conventional track, like choosing not to burst crackers or spending our Diwali trying to get an injured dog treated, in all likelihood we may be mocked upon and today we just want to tell you, “do not care abut what the world says, its their job to say and we can choose ours, by not listening to their chatter and instead focussing on doing things we love”. For the unconditional love, we get in return from these supposedly ‘speechless beings’ is priceless, that lick on our hands, the tail wagging up and down or sideways, the elated jump…it is all these memorable little moments that make life so worth living.

We believe it when we read that you only get happiness when you give happiness to someone.

We get a lot of calls on the Jaagruti helpline by animal lovers sounding weak, lonely and dis-spirited in their battles fighting their RWAs, neighbours and the world who tries to abuse them, ridicule them, physically assault them, humiliate them, term it whatever..in short anything that breaks their spirits!

We request them all to dig deep through their reserves of courage and hope and amass all strength they can to stand up for, rescue or treat/get treated all those beings whom they love, respect and/or care for.  There is no other way!

Because when that dog or any other animal rescued and treated with your efforts, expresses himself to let you know you are the best, you really don’t need to go around seeking a second opinion. Please remember that this world is a better and compassionate place all because of people like you.

On this day after Diwali, we wish all power to your elbow and all strength to the heart of all such people who carry on doing all that they love.

Posted in Against Animal Cruelty, Animal Laws of India, Animals, Be the Change, Do you know?, Games people play, Information that empowers!, News Reports, Pets

Residential Societies can’t ban people from having Pet Animals

Over the past many months, Jaagruti’s helpline has been inundated with calls and queries from people across many major Indian cities, like Gurgaon, Mumbai, Bangalore and other metros where RWAs or Residential Welfare Associations that are formed in various societies have come up with ‘no pet clauses’ and are forcing residents therein to abandon their pets! This post is to apprise you all that ‘RWAs cannot come with such clauses which are both unconstitutional and unlawful.

Please click on the link below to download the notice that was sent to a society in Gurgaon sometime back by a team of well-respected lawyers. If you are facing a similar issue, then take guidance from the text mentioned therein and with the help of a competent advocate/law firm/your very own lawyer friends – get a similar notice drafted and get it sent across to the Office Bearers in your Housing Society. If they don’t get the point on reading your notice, drag them to the Consumer Courts. Remember that all those who have taken this step have won the case and so have their pets and dogs!

Click, Download and Read: Notice issued by respected law firm in Delhi to Kanchanjunga Coop.Group Housing Society in Gurgaon that was asking residents to abandon their pets

Also, read the below pasted Times of India article dated 24th May 2012 and spread it around!

Housing societies can’t prohibit pets, say legal eagles

By Journalist named Swati Deshpande

MUMBAI: Pet owners need not worry. Senior advocates say that housing societies cannot introduce by-laws to prohibit residents from keeping pets in their flats.The Maharashtra Cooperative Housing Societies Act does not prohibit members from keeping pets and no society can pass by-laws to ban pets or families with pets from society premises.

Mulraj Shah, a lawyer, says a cooperative housing society may-by majority vote- make a by-law against pet ownership, but that is only on the valid grounds of continuous nuisance created by such pets. Even such a resolution may not be binding on occupants as it would have to be tested for legality in court, said a constitutional law expert practising at Bombay high court.

In the past, courts have ruled in favour of pet owners. A housing society in Navi Mumbai was fined for having restrained a family pet from using the lift. The Thane consumer court in 2008 imposed a fine of Rs 5,000 and held that the society’s decision to prevent pets from using the lift without any valid reason amounted to “deficiency in service”. A family residing in a housing society is a “consumer” under the law.

In another important ruling in December 2010, a consumer forum in Mumbai Central ordered a housing society in Mahim to stop charging a family an additional Rs 500 for each of its pet dogs, which it said was illegal and directed that the amounts already collected be returned. Societies have a right to make rules for the benefit of its members but the law has to be reasonable and not impinge an individual’s fundamental freedoms and right to life, said lawyers.

Posted in Animals, Be the Change, Games people play, General/Animals, Inspiration, Man and Animal: Stories of Kindness, News Reports, Relationships, Stories from Ground Zero, Street Dogs of India

Educating emotions

The below article written  by Eunice deSouza in Pune Mirror is worth reading and sharing with as many ‘humans’ as you know.

For this post says so much of what we at ‘Jaagruti’ always wanted to put in words. As she rightly pens, ‘People need lessons in empathy, the imagination to put themselves in place of others or animals’…to spare a moment and feel the way the animals would with all that we humans mete out to them.

People need to realise the
benefit from contact with animals
and the natural world

I happened to be standing at a local bus stop one day when children were returning from school. I suddenly noticed a small group of young boys had collected and were staring at something on the wall behind me.

They were picking up stones. I look around, and there was a chameleon on the wall which the children were determined to kill. I shooed them away, but they kept coming back. Would “blood-lust” be too strong a term to describe the way they behaved?

Children as young as two pick up stones to throw at inoffensive dogs having a nap, while their bovine mothers stand there saying nothing. Of course, if the dog were to give the child a nip in return, all hell would be let loose.

Then there was the dog whose eyes were bleeding. We were to take him to hospital, but he was in a panic and rushed here and there. The young men who were trying to catch him finally succeeded. But in the meantime, a crowd had gathered, laughing and cheering.

You wouldn’t think all this could happen in a country where we are so ready to say our feelings have been hurt! Is this because, in our educational system and elsewhere, we don’t think seriously in terms of educating emotions?

In his autobiography, John Stuart Mill talks about the rigorous system his father put him through. If I’m not mistaken, he says that from the age of three or so, he was made to study Greek, Latin, History, and a great deal more.

At some point in his life, he felt so dead that he was near a nervous breakdown. It was then that he found relief and salvation in reading Wordsworth, whose work put him in touch with feelings that were both experienced and explored.

He is a poet who was as relevant then as he is now: “The world is too much with us; late and soon,/Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers: Little we see in Nature that is ours;/We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!”

Valuing Science, Engineering, Medicine, Technology is fine. But we are more than scientists, engineers, doctors or computer specialists. Empathy, the imagination to put ourselves in the place of others, doesn’t always come naturally. (It does to my dog.

When I came home with a bandaged eye, he looked at it for a while and then licked my hand.) Nor can we expect to feel empathy all the time for everyone and everything. I, for one, would have happily machine-gunned that lot laughing and cheering while looking at the blind dog.

Sometimes, when I reach a point when I feel I can’t stand any more of this, something reassuring happens. One of half-a-dozen or so of small businessmen who look after animals, and are around the corner from me, asked me to look at a dog the other day.

The dog had a head wound infested with maggots. He was not a local dog. Wounded dogs often run from place to place because they are so distressed. Often people shoo them away. I knew there was really no hope for the dog. When I said this, the shop owner said, “Let’s give him a chance.” So we called the ambulance.

Obviously, people like him don’t need lessons in empathy. They know that we benefit from contact with animals and the natural world as much as animals/ birds benefit from our caring. But perhaps, till the great revolution in empathy arrives, we can make a small start: persuade ourselves to put out a bowl of water for thirsty animals and birds in this awful weather.

Posted in Man and Animal: Stories of Kindness, Pets, Relationships, Stories from Ground Zero

A dying boy’s special bond with a rescue dog

The most important thing in this world is to learn to give out love, and let it come in.

– Morrie Schwartz –

 

Every moment is extra precious for 4-yr-old Lucas Hembree. Suffering from Sanfilippo syndrome, he isn’t expected to live past 15. As the disease started to take a toll on Lucas’ joints, his father Chester looked into getting a service dog to keep Lucas steady when he walked. A combination of prayer and persistence led Chester to Juno. “I had the feeling in my gut that I had to go see this dog,” said Chester. But Juno herself was in bad shape: “She was emaciated, and was days away from being euthanized,” said Chester. Right away, there was something instinctive about the relationship between Lucas and Juno. One day, Chester noticed Juno circling Lucas while he was in his wheelchair. “She was whining and nudging him with her nose,” Chester says. “I checked his oxygen levels and they were very low.” After giving him oxygen, Lucas returned to normal and Juno greeted him with licks and affection. The full, heart-melting story: { read more }

**Please note that this post is kind courtesy of the Daily Good Newsletter dated 8 February 2012

Posted in Inspiration, Man and Animal: Stories of Kindness, Relationships, Stories from Ground Zero, Street Dogs of India

~Dog’s best friend!~

*This story is authored by Ramendra Singh and is kind courtesy of The Times of India

Kind courtesy and Copyright held by http://www.hollymonroe.com

BHOPAL: He does not mind skipping his lunch In fact, he did so on many times in the past. But there is one practice he has followed doggedly –feeding stray dogs-for the past 20 years.

The man, Laxmi Narayan Sharma, a clerk with ‘Barkatullah University’ (located in city of Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India) been feeding rotis to street dogs on the varsity campus from the day he joined the service, without fail. To some it may appear as fixation but the man, now popularly known as ‘Kutte Waale Baba‘ (which would lovingly mean something like ‘Uncle with dogs’), is beyond all such worldly cares. He carries a bagful of rotis for dogs everyday.

Sharma, a resident of Vidisha, a town 70 km away from Bhopal, comes to his work place with a bag full of rotis. And wait a minute, before setting out on his journey, he starts his day by collecting rotis from hotels and dhabas in Vidisha. “I provide flour to hotels and dhabas in the night and they hand over tandoori rotis in the morning,” Sharma said, adding this gives me immense satisfaction. He said, “I had to once borrow money from my friends to buy food for dogs. I can skip my meal, but cannot leave my friends hungry.” “When he reaches university in the morning, one can see him surrounded by dogs,” Anil Tanwar, an employee of Barkatullah University, said, adding “his devotion for canines must be appreciated.” Sharma spends around Rs 10,000 every month on feeding dogs. “They are my friends and I don’t think it’s a big amount”, he said.

On his off-days, he ensures that ‘his friends’ get proper food in his absence. For this he seeks services of his university colleagues living in nearby colonies.

Posted in Inspiration, Man and Animal: Stories of Kindness, Relationships

A 15-yr-old Dog’s Gift

‘The next time you are a little down, do an act of service — it might just be the gift you need.’

This was the message that came to us through a mail that shared the story of Roadie, a 15 year old dog and his gift to a grieving man. This story was penned by Laura Simpson, a tireless advocate for animals.

Courtesy: The Daily Good Newsletter dated 19 November 2011

Laura writes….”I have the pleasure of meeting hundreds of incredible heroes, but this one caught me off guard. Your hair will stand on end as you read the story of this man and this dog who picked one another up time and time again: ‘I saw in the front yard what appeared to be a very old dog that was in obvious distress. He would walk in a semi-circle, then fall to the ground, then struggle back to his feet and do it again. I saw him do this same thing at least three times as I walked over to him. This was to be by far my easiest rescue because this poor old boy was in no shape to run from me, but also the most heartbreaking”.

To read the complete story, please click here

Posted in Pets, Relationships

Adopting a Pet is therapeutic

Courtesy: The Times of India (dated 2 October 2011)

Credit and Author: Gajanan Khergamker (The Times of  India, dated Oct 2, 2011)

Forty eight-year-old Smriti Parmar had been suffering from chronic depression and her blood pressure had shot up alarmingly since her husband’s death last June. Medication didn’t seem to be helping and her family was at its wits end trying to figure a way out of this problem. That’s when somebody suggested pet therapy. And, it worked! “Since we got Pia, our one-and-half-year-old Alsatian home last month, my mother’s health has improved considerably.

Her blood pressure is under control and she seems a lot happier too,” says Ms Parmar’s son Chirag, an SYBA student. In fact, Ms Parmar spends most of her time with Pia, talking to her, disciplining her, singing to her or doing just about anything . And, now she also wants to get another pet Alsatian to “give Pia company’ ,” says Chirag. Research has proved time and again that petowners tend to be healthier and happier than those who do not have pets at home. They not just have higher survival rates following coronary heart disease ; they are also believed to be less prone to death due to heart attack. “Pets are great stressbusters , they’re good companions , who listen to all your woes without any complaints!” offers senior veterinarian Dr Siloo Bhagwager .

// // Besides the therapeutic value of keeping a pet, they are known to do wonders to a child’s development. “Children who own pets develop a nurturing behaviour, positive self-esteem and an enhanced all-round development,” says Dr Bhagwager. And then, pets are known to be much more perceptive than human beings. Your spouse may not notice that you are in a foul mood, but your pet definitely will! “Just as I enter my home, I know Tarzan – my two-year-old Doberman – knows how my day has been!” says realty consultant Tarun Mehra. “And, he’ll do all that he can, roll on the floor; dance even play dead to fetch a smile on my face, if
I’ve had a crappy day at work,” adds Mr Mehra, who “can’t really say the same” about his wife Nandini though.

“Interestingly, dogs pick up even on the subtlest of body signals, especially of their owners. They can easily gauge your disposition from the smell of your body,” explains Canine Behaviour Counsellor Shireen Merchant. “Besides, they understand your non-verbal signals – facial expressions, body language, et al – too well so you don’t need to tell them everything,” adds the counsellor. Unlike
children, pets are not wilful; they don’t have mood swings and never talk back. “Whether I’m irritable or not, I know Canny, my two-and-halfyear-old cat, adores me unconditionally. She makes me feel that I’m great just the way I am!” says marketing executive Deepika Pradhan. Now, that’s something most human beings just can’t do, can they?

PET FACTS

Pet-owners visit the doctor less often than those who do not own pets. Pet-owners are said to have lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels than non-pet-owners .

Pets reduce stress, anxiety and loneliness especially among single owners . Walking with a dog or sharing space with a dog, fills the pet-owner with a sense of security. Children who own pets are known to have positive self-esteem and better cognitive development. They tend to have an enhanced all-round development . Companionship of pets helps one deal better with some serious illness or death in the family.

Posted in Against Animal Cruelty, Pets, Poems, Relationships

You didn’t even say goodbye :'(

Courtesy: This poem made its way into our inbox someway through this link of Meigs Co Dog Shelter, whom we hereby credit for penning this down.

Please share this poem with anyone who has abandoned or is thinking of abandoning their pet. It may make them think atleast once over the most painful act they will ever commit in their life…

 “Woof”!

 I said as you started the car,
“Hooray!” I said, it’s my first time afar.
The scents we were passing were all new to me,
For it was my first introduction to this mystery.
As we got out of the car I embraced you with joy,
After all you remembered to bring my favourite toy!
You threw it once or twice, of which I retrieved,
But on the third it seemed you were ready to leave.
You threw it long and hard and I chased it like lightning,
But when I turned to bring it back I saw a sight quite frightening.
I gripped my toy hard as I tried to comprehend
What it was I did wrong to make our relationship end.
You walked back to your car as I sat there still loyal.
Why am I subservient and you so royal?
Your engine started, and you peeled out into the night,
You didn’t even care about my overwhelming fright.
As I sat in my pose determined you would come back,
The sun faded behind me while the surroundings turned black.
Day after day I stayed in that park,
Lying… waiting… too feeble to bark.
As I lay there dying thinking of you master,
I asked myself how I got into this horrifying disaster.
With my last breath of life, I whispered your name
Then I collapsed in a heap overrun by pain.
Why didn’t you love me master? Why didn’t you care?
Had I no significance, was I just a clump of hair?
I stayed there master and I waited for you
I guess taking care of me was just too much to do.
I’m gone now master, no more You-and-I
But what I can’t figure out is why you didn’t even say goodbye…

Posted in Animals, Man and Animal: Stories of Kindness, Relationships, Stories from Ground Zero, Street Dogs of India

Dolly and Chotu: Neighbour’s envy and owner’s pride!

Author: This story has been contributed by Rishi Dev (Citizens for Animal Rights)

Four cooperative group housing societies in sector 10, Dwarka are facing a new kind of menace from two street dogs, Dolly and Chotu. Both of these dogs have lived outside these four apartments for almost 8 years now, making them the only two dogs in a human population of 2000. Initially there were only a handful of people feeding these dogs and taking regular care of them. But then something happened which changed many a perceptions.

Dwarka still being gripped and plagued with daylight petty crimes like chain snatching, eve teasing, carjacking and so on, is one of the easiest places for any thief to run and hide. Two years back, on one of such evenings when two ladies were taking a walk outside one of these society gates, two thieves on a bike came from nowhere and snatched the chain from one of these ladies and drove away. Within a split second both these dogs, who were sitting outside the gate of the society ran after this bike. Dolly being faster than Chotu approached the bike from the front, almost running in front of the bike slowing and confusing the driver, albeit risking her own life, while Chotu being the tough one ran behind the bike, intimidating the pillion rider, who was transferring the fear on to the rider like a domino effect.

After almost 800 meters of chase, the bikers lost control and fell down. They left the chain, the bike and ran away before people could catch them. Surprisingly both these dogs didn’t bite them or chase them further. They stood there for almost a minute till the residents reached the spot and claimed the bike and the chain. It was later discovered that the bike was also a stolen one.
Since that day onwards everyone in the colony started loving these dogs. They now fight over who feeds, or over feeds these two dogs, because everyone wants to claim their ownership on them. The residents recollect that in the last 8 years there has not been a single case of theft, robbery, crime around these blocks, not excluding zero dog bites. Beyond these four apartments there have been many such cases of crime, but every time there were attempts to infringe into these four apartments in the night, these dogs have barked the hell out of the night guards who are often found sound asleep. The supervisor of the guard agency called “Rakshak”, has instructed all his guards to keep these dogs around while they choose to sleep inevitably. He swears by their dedication all the time. The rickshaw pullers and the other informal shops in and around this area pamper Dolly and Chotu and often treat them equal to their children. They are always ready to face any impending danger which may befall upon these two creatures. For the thieves these two dogs may be proving to be a real menace, but these canines care the least as they are busy playing other roles which are almost invisible to the residents.


Dolly and Chotu are often seen chasing rats, snakes, monitor lizards and so on. Dwarka region registers one snake bite a day in Delhi. Dogs are predators for burrowed animals and such dangerous reptiles and are known to have been a keystone species by many ecologists in maintaining the epizootic balance of the region. Dolly does not produce litter as she and Chotu have been sterilized and inoculated for rabies by the MCD. This makes them less aggressive towards general humans unless anyone is a threat to the residents, these dogs now consider as their own pack leaders. So it has been a common practice for years now, to feed Dolly and Chotu in turns, so they recognize their own residents and protect each one of them from any potential threat including other dogs which are often driven away by Chotu even before they enter this colony.

Chotu is also a favorite of the children who pat, sit, and cuddle this big, dark brown, scary looking dog in the way they like. And while he enjoys his daily tummy rubbing treats, he pays them back with love and protection by accompanying many to their bus stops and metro stations in the morning. Many are seen talking to these dogs in their own language which is easily understood by these canines as if they were Homo sapiens themselves. Many strangers often find Chotu and Dolly barking endlessly at night or running after vehicles and complain of the same to the residents. But the residents shrug it away by telling each one, this chronicle of Dolly and Chotu without missing any detail and on every single opportunity made available to them. They now associate the running of dogs with that incident, clearly.


While the barking and chasing at night by Dolly & Chotu continues and may be a nuisance for strangers and thieves, but the residents enjoy such chases with a sense of belonging and ownership. And so it seems why the courts across the world have thus not been able to define the true meaning of the word “nuisance” for genuine reasons. Someone has rightly said, “neighbour’s envy may be owner’s pride”, so while we may endlessly continue to find correct answers to complex questions like, “How to end the dog menace?” or “What is really a dog menace?”, these canines nonchalantly would do what they have to do, in their own stride and thriving to be man’s best friend.

Posted in Animals, Pets, Relationships

Adopt a dog, stay medically fit

By Ipshita Mitra (Courtesy: The Times of India, dated 14 July 2011) 

They are cuddly, cutesy and furry but that’s not about it. More than just friends, dogs can be your medical guardians too.

Dog ownership can assure you a healthy living sans the dreadful pills. And yes, more than often they take on the role of teachers too. Pets double up as friends and add novelty to your life. Here’s how:

Pets chase loneliness away
Pet companionship has therapeutic value. When everything seems to fail, there is chaos and distress everywhere, a tight hug or an emotional release with your pet heals you in no time. When a bad fight with a friend, an unexpected tiff with your lover or a verbal brawl with parents unsettles you, a pet comes to your rescue. Shubhankar Paul, a media professional, says “In times of gloom and disturbance, a gentle caress of my dog washes off all my worries. It strengthens me to face situations with confidence.”

When you bid goodbye to your pet in the morning before leaving for work, you are well aware that somebody would be waiting to greet you at the door once you return after a hard day’s work. The unconditional love that a dog gives you transcends all definitions of love that in human relations is governed by ‘terms and conditions apply’.

Heart condition? Bring home a pet
Allopathy may disappoint you but pet therapy works wonders and is medically approved.

Dr. Stephen Sinatra, cardiologist and nutritionist in his book Heart Sense for Women says for heart disease patients, grief and loneliness can be debilitating. According to the study by Sinatra, heart patients who own pets have a higher survival rate than the ones who don’t. Moreover, pets help in reducing blood pressure and stress.

If you have an ailing elderly person at your residence without adequate company, a pet is an apt solution. Be assured of positive results with pet companionship. No medical bills and absolutely free of side-effects!

Psychological security
We are often put out by unnecessary judgmental behaviour of others. But a pet never imposes moral dictates on you. He listens silently and responds with adorable gestures that calm you down.

Connecticut psychologist Herbert Nieburg, author of Pet Loss: A Thoughtful Guide for Adults and Children confirms that “pet ownership is psychologically beneficial”. Pets offer you comfort without asking for anything in return.

Avers Srishty Chaudhary, a media professional and owner of two Pomeranian dogs, “It is like writing a diary entry where you can pour your heart out without the fear of being reprimanded or jeered at. Whenever my mother scolded me, my dog would cast an angry stare at her only to prove his allegiance towards me. And I would feel so secure.”

With pets come responsibility
Pets are popular across age groups. Research shows that married couples who are without kids often prefer to adopt a pet to cultivate a sense of responsibility in the process of nurturing their pet.

Children and the elderly are among others who bask in the company of a pet, preferably a dog. Dr. Rima Sehgal, psychologist and counsellor says that “a pet in the house exudes a healthy atmosphere and makes you learn the nuances of nurturing and responsible behaviour.”

Pets are a blessing for kids with working parents and no siblings. Inanimate toys can never substitute a living, receptive and responsive companion. Pets are a vibrant company therefore.

Learning tolerance
Besides making you more responsible, a pet has a sobering effect on you. It’s a beautiful feeling to share with your dog, from food to love of your family members, not to mention, giving in readily to its attention-seeking antics. An impatient self is healed in a pet’s company.

With them you laugh, learn and love. Bring home a pet and discover the joys for yourself.

 
Posted in Against Animal Cruelty, Animals, Do you know?, News Reports, Pets

Priya, Dog breeding and the Income Tax Department

On a visit to an animal shelter a few weeks back, we met Priya, a female great Dane who was found abandoned on the road side by an animal ambulance. She was suffering from a tumour- a seemingly malignant one. Looking at her condition, it was quite evident that she was chucked out by a Dog breeder when she was no longer ‘a machine’ of use to him in his ‘puppy farm/factory’, i.e. ‘factories run by greedy humans in which female pedigreed dogs are repeatedly mated and bred so that they could give birth to puppies that can be sold at handsome rates’ and fill in the coffers of these ‘dog breeders’!

Photo copyright: 'Jaagruti'
Priya, a Female Great Dane abandoned by a Dog breeder to die on the streets- Her eyes say it all! Photo Copyright – ‘Jaagruti’ 

So, when dogs like Priya are no longer able to produce babies or turn sick beyond cure, these people who had over the years exploited her to give birth to pups repeatedly find her a burden and cose thereby to dump her on the roadside!

For a peep into the horrendous puppy mill trade, please look at the video below.

So, Next time you wish to adopt a dog, adopt for an Indian dog on the street or adopt one from a nearby shelter. Please do not buy a puppy ever because demands create supplies!

Remember ADOPT, Dont BUY!

Dog breeding in India is an unregulated business in alomost every city, a business that brings in huge profits to those who do it, be it big breeders carying this out in their farms, dog trainers who carry it out on their roofs atop their shanty quarters in areas like Dwarka Mod, Palam and across many such habitations in Delhi or even those who carry it out in their houses next doors to yours by repeatedly getting their pet dogs to mate and breed.

That is why news items like the ones below come as a breath of hope!

Income Tax Department issues directive to keep tabs on all breeders who sell newborn puppies for huge profit (Source: Mid Day, 23rd March 2011)

The Rs 500-crore pet dog business has come under the scanner of the Income Tax department.

The I-T department headquarters, New Delhi, has issued fresh directives to all its regional offices to keep tabs on all dog breeders who sell newborn puppies for huge profits.

All pet shops and known dog breeders are now under the surveillance of sleuths.

A senior I-T officer said, “Most canines of good lineage are sold at exorbitant prices and without any receipts. Some of the deals even run into crores.”

According to the I-T directive (copy available with MiD DAY), it has been noticed in recent years that pet shops have spread rampantly across the major cities.

These shops are technically licensed to sell animal food and accessories, but they also deal in canines and exotic birds to make a quick buck.

The order stated that it is suspected that a majority of these transactions are outside the tax net, so appropriate action should be taken against them.

Senior I-T officials, including Chief Commissioner P P Shrivastava, however, are tight-lipped about the directive and how they plan to crack down on the tax evaders.
 
According to I-T sources, the demand for exotic dogs increased after a cellular company used a pug in its advertisements.

According to sources, a 45-day-old pug is priced at more than Rs 40,000 in the open market.

Pet dealers at Crawford Market told MiD DAY that a Cocker Spaniel puppy is priced around Rs 7,000.
 
“Pet dealers are not sensitive to the health of the animals as they are more concerned about making money. Breeding is done regularly. This should be banned,” said Dr J C Khanna, member, Animal Welfare Board of India.

500 breeders

According to a modest estimate, there are more than 500 commercial dog breeders in Mumbai, Thane and Vasai. There are an estimated 7,000 such breeders across the country.

Dog breeding is a flourishing business in New Delhi, Chandigarh, Gurgaon, Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Chennai as well. The turnover is estimated to be around Rs 500 crore.

The volume of the business can be gauged from the fact that even a fake certificate to prove the breed of canine fetches between Rs 2,000 and Rs 3,000 on the streets of Mumbai. 

But, all dog breeders are not tax evaders. Mayur Shinde, owner of Shinde Kennel, Pune, said, “Dog breeding and selling is my full-time business. I give genuine receipts and also pay income tax regularly.”

Procedure to buy a puppy
Before buying a puppy, it is necessary to get a licence from the respective municipality. BMC charges only
Rs 100 as fees and Rs 200 for vaccine per year. The seller should be registered with the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI).

Posted in Animals, Articles/Posts in Hindi, Games people play, General/Animals, News Reports, Street Dogs of India

यह गली के कुत्ते ….

By आशीष पांडे

Courtesy: Navbharat Times Monday March 14, 2011

एक शख्स ने पेपर में छपने के लिए शिकायत भेजी कि हमारे मोहल्ले में कई आवारा कुत्ते हैं। जब देखो भौंकते हुए पीछे पड़ जाते हैं, सड़क पर आराम से चलने भी नहीं देते। मौका मिले तो काट भी लेते हैं। उन्होंने इस बात पर अफसोस भी जताया कि हमारे कानून ऐसे हैं कि आवारा कुत्तों को मारा नहीं जा सकता।

एमसीडी (दिल्ली नगर निगम) वाले मरे मन से उन्हें पकड़ते हैं लेकिन जल्द ही छोड़ना पड़ता है। बाहर निकलकर वह अपनी तादाद फिर बढ़ा लेते हैं। इनकी समस्या इतनी बेकाबू हो गई है कि इंसानों का घर से बाहर निकलना भी मुश्किल हो गया है।

बहुत ही जेनुइन प्रॉब्लम है। कुछ वैसी ही जैसी हमारे दफ्तर में काम करने वाली, हमारे मोहल्लों में रहने वाली और हमारे कॉलेजों में पढ़ने वाली लड़कियां, औरतें और बुजुर्ग महिलाएं रोज झेलती हैं।

फर्क बस इतना है कि आवारा कुत्तों की जगह हमारे समाज के मर्द ले लेते हैं। जो जब देखो फब्तियां कसते हुए पीछे पड़ जाते हैं, सड़क पर तसल्ली से चलने भी नहीं देते। मौका मिले तो रेप करने या मर्डर करने तक से नहीं चूकते। अफसोस ऐसे लोगों के खिलाफ हमारे पास मौत की सजा का कानून नहीं है।

जो मजबूरी कुत्तों को पकड़ने में एमसीडी की है, कुछ वैसी ही मजबूरी दिल्ली पुलिस की भी है। मरे मन से पकड़ तो लेते हैं लेकिन जल्द छोड़ना पड़ता है। समस्या इतनी बेकाबू हो गई है कि लड़कियों और औरतों का इस दिल्ली में घर से निकलना मुश्किल हो रहा है।

बहरहाल, कुत्तों से परेशान मर्दों का सुझाव है कि इसका एक ही इलाज है, सभी आवारा कुत्तों को मार दिया जाए। न रहेंगे कुत्ते न रहेगी समस्या। भले ही एकाध कुत्ते ही इतने खतरनाक हों जो काटने को आते हों, लेकिन वे मानते हैं कि सभी को मार देने से यह समस्या खत्म हो जाएगी।

उनकी इस सोच के आधार पर मर्दों से परेशान औरतें क्या सोचती हैं, वह बताने की जरूरत है क्या….

Posted in Be the Change, Inspiration

PAWS for a cause…

By Vasudha Mehta ‘Jaagruti’, A visit to PAWS (Plant and Animals Welfare Society), Thane

This is a month overdue report of my February 2011 visit to PAWS in Thane, an animal rescue and welfare organisation located in the Dombivli East, a suburb about 70 kms from Mumbai.

PAWS (Plant and Animals Welfare Society), was founded in 2001 by the young and dynamic Nilesh Bhanage and his college friends. However the journey began three years earlier in 1998, when Nilesh first saw an injured pigeon on his rooftop, his eye was hurt and crows were attacking that helpless pigeon. Nilesh and his friends intervened and rescued that pigeon, but even then they were clueless on how to treat that bird or the nearest place where they could take it to where it could be treated. It was then that Nilesh’s eldest cousin brother who runs a Photo Studio shared with him the details of a young lady named Anamika who used to come to this photo studio to get her photographs featuring animals developed from here. Following this, Nilesh decided to take that pigeon to Anamika’s place and that was the beginning of a new chapter in Nilesh’s life and in the life of many an animals in need in and around Dombivili.

Nilesh shared that, “Anamika was the one who taught me first aid for animals. The other lady that I am inspired by is Goodicia Vaidya who is now the Vice President of In Defence of Animals-Mumbai and who in 1998-99 used to drive an Animal Ambulance from Dombivli to Mahalaxmi,  distance of 90 kms one way and back every day tirelessly helping rescue animals in need”.

PAWS was formally registered in 2001 and it got a lease of life when Ahmednagar SPCA donated its ambulance to PAWS in the first formal year of its operations.

The journey thus far

In the world of animal welfare that I had closely observed as a volunteer and a working professional with this sector (which I pursued for about 3 years-2006 to 2008 after I finished studies), the thing that struck me most hard was that sadly, most Animal Welfare Groups don’t work together, there is too much infighting and back-biting that it can easily make a genuine animal lover feel disillusioned and heartbroken. But Nilesh and his team at PAWS were for me a ‘blessed’ exception to what I had seen and experienced thus far.

I first met Nilesh at the Asia for Animals Conference held in Chennai in 2007 and what struck me were his unassuming nature and modesty and his ever-so-willing intent of helping and guiding other groups and people like me who are keen to do more for animals. Also, what impressed me were Nilesh’s extremely professional and transparent ways of operating PAWS, his effective media outreach and awareness initiatives, the timeliness of PAWS newsletters and stories of the month, the transparency and accuracy with which he shared the figures of animals rescued, treated, released, vaccinated and even those that have died.

The fact that PAWS doesn’t have an animal hospital of its own has not been a deterrent in their efforts to help animals as Nilesh works with a tight knit staff and team of volunteers at PAWS and believes in administering on the spot first aid treatment for animals, wherever possible and for those who are severely injured, the PAWS ambulance takes on the onus of dropping the animal, domestic or wild at the designated shelters nearby. And once an animal is dropped for treatment at a veterinary hospital or shelter, Nilesh at PAWS ensures that he keeps following up on the animal’s health status and have it released when the animal has recovered and is in good health. By tying up with veterinary units doing Animal Birth Control programmes I nearby major districts, PAWS has also ensured that they get as many dogs in their area of operations sterilized over the years and all these first aid, and treatment based pick and drop services are catered to by the PAWS team of two ambulances and trained drivers cum paravets. PAWS runs two ambulances, Nilesh oversees the operations of the ambulance operating in Dombivili, Kalyan and Ulhasnagar and Anuradha Ramaswamy, a founder trustee of PAWS since its inception oversees the working of the PAWS ambulance in Thane, Kalwa and Mumbhra regions.

When Nilesh officially registered PAWS as a charitable society and trust in 2001, till uptil July 2010 (i.e. last year), Nilesh was doing a regular job in Mumbai as well besides managing PAWS and it is this that was most inspiring to us. For he wasn’t drawing any income from PAWS and its operations rather spending whatever he had personally, be it time, effort or money to still run an effective animal rescue organisation that was volunteer-driven.

And the above is what we at Jaagruti are also successfully aiming to do, thus despite me and my brother having regular full time jobs to cater to, we started ‘Jaagruti’ formally in end of 2009 and do try our best to spread awareness on these issues, treat and rescue as many animals in our area as possible while facilitating those we can’t besides hosting a 24 hour helpline of ours to attend to any and every animal and environment based query that could help guide a person to care for animals and help the environment in their own little ways.

Now, Nilesh works as the Manager of the India National Rabies Network with the Worldwide Veterinary Services and this job is helping him drive his income from also doing what he likes doing, which is helping animals besides devoting all of his attention and time to managing and expanding the operations of PAWS.

Staff and Volunteers at PAWS

PAWS has a network of 300 registered members connected via a google group and off these about fifty are dedicated volunteers who take turns to contribute their skills, be it rescuing all kinds of birds and animals, administering them first aid, designing brochures and other awareness literature and hosting fundraisers and awareness events etc.

PAWS looks after its volunteers by administering them preventive anti-rabies and tetanus vaccinations as part of its ‘Protect the Protectors’ vaccination drive, the volunteers are reimbursed their vehicle expenses post submission of the animal rescue form and the receipt from the animal hospital where the injured animal was dropped post rescue, the top 20 volunteers who help in rescuing animals are also aided by PAWS with a Medical/Health insurance policy and besides this PAWS has distributed First Aid kits to 5 volunteers in Dombivili who help out with Animal First Aid regularly and their medicine stocks are also replenished as and when they run out of it.

How we at Jaagruti wish that there were dedicated volunteers like this around in Delhi too! But I guess a big city like Delhi has its own problems where volunteering is a matter of convenience and not commitment, but we do hope things will change and one day, all other cities would also have dedicated volunteers like the ones PAWS can proudly boast off.

I also had the opportunity to participate at a Vaccination Drive organised at Kharegaon, Kalwa (Supervised by PAWS trustee Anuradha) in which with the help of 8 volunteers, lead by the just graduated Veterinary Doctor Anahita, 55 street dogs were administered Anti-Rabies vaccines, many animals were administered first aid, and many little pups dewormed. PAWS organises such Anti-Rabies vaccination camps every weekend in various areas of Thane District along with community support and help spread awareness amongst community residents as well on how best to live in harmony with street animals and look after them.

PAWS Volunteers at Anti-Rabies Vaccination Camp_20 Feb 2011 at Kharegaon (Courtesy: http://www.kharegaon.com)
Dr. Anahita, a just graduated veterinary student and PAWS volunteer helps vaccinate a street dog during the vaccination drive at Kharegaon on 20 February 2011 (Photo Credit: Vasudha Mehta/ 'Jaagruti')

 

Other than the volunteers, the full-time staff employed by PAWS includes two part time office assistants, two ambulance staff who act as both drivers and paravets and two rescue staff, both of who are young boys from orphanages housing kids orphaned in the Latur earthquake of 1993.

PAWS has a philanthropic side to its activities in the domain of ‘human welfare’ as well as we learnt that PAWS donated its first ambulance received in 2001 from SPCA Ahmednagar, which happened to be a matador to St. Josephs’s School which happens to be a schools nearby PAWS office where children with special needs are taught alongwith ‘normal ‘kids uptil Class 4. Besides this, PAWS regularly ties up with societies working with blind and under-priveleged children to organised joint fundraising activities through merchandize made by these societies.

Often, people like Nilesh and us at ‘Jaagruti’ and many who work for animal welfare are asked this question of why we care for animals when there are so many humans suffering? And to this my answer is that caring for voiceless animals doesn’t mean that we care less for humans, infact the activities done by PAWS for children with special needs and other societies working with orphaned, disabled and underprivileged children only goes to prove that people who think and care for animals and their suffering have a very high empathetic quotient, they are sensitive people who care equally deeply about humans and their suffering, it is just that they prefer volunteering their hands-on efforts to animals, because there are in any case man few people fighting for animals and their rights to live lives of respect and dignity.

Family

For anyone working for the cause of animals or for that matter, any alienated social cause, the support extended by ones’ immediate and extended family is of extreme significance. For working selflessly and tirelessly for a social cause takes away more than your time, it draws on your personal space and even your mental and emotional energies extensively. I say this for me and my brother-Vivek too for we couldn’t have continued with our and Jaagruti’s efforts had it not been for the immense moral and priceless support we had received from our mother. A strong and supportive family surely helps retain our state of mental and emotional well-being, staying grounded, practical and should I say ‘sane’!

And this is what prompted me to understand how Nilesh’s family thinks about the work he and PAWS does? Nilesh is the youngest of 7 cousin brothers (and a sister) in his big Maharshtrian family. His parents work in the Railways and are now very supportive of the work he and PAWS does.

Though initially Nilesh’s parents found the animal rescue work he did a bit strange! When I asked him how their perception about his and PAWS work changed, Nilesh shared, that, “One day my mother went to the vegetable seller in the nearby market to buy vegetables and it was then that, the vegetable seller and his wife spoke highly of the work PAWS does as we had once helped get their pet female dog sterilized and treated for which they week extremely grateful to my mother. That bitch of the vegetable sellers is now over 10 years old, hale and hearty. That incident changed my mother’s perception. Many such incidents followed wherever she went in our area and soon she and my father started feeling proud of what I did through PAWS.”

Nilesh’s family is extremely supportive of his efforts; his parents live in the floor beneath his in the building named ‘Savitri Sadan’ after his paternal grandmother. ‘Savitri Sadan’ was once a the big family home of Bhanage family but about a decade back, the family decided to convert it into a building and the different brothers moved into different apartments and floors in the same building. But in this age of nuclear families and rifts in relationships, the Bhanages are indeed a family that stays and prays together as they keep teeming up and meeting for each of the festivities and little joys the family celebrates. The whole family also extends its support to PAWS by housing injured animals received from volunteers in their premises when Nilesh is not around.

*Manasi and Dishita:

In the world of animal welfare that I had seen thus far, many people are not married and even if they are, their marital lives are far from being ‘ideal’, but by God’s blessings, Nilesh and his wife Manasi are a ‘super couple’, devoted to the cause of animals and their welfare.

Manasi and Nilesh Bhanage

Before meeting Manasi, I had always imagined that Nilesh would have met Manasi while rescuing an animal somewhere or the other, but to my surprise that was not the case. Nilesh shared that his meeting Manasi was purely ‘divine intervention’ as they met in a Tourist Bus in 2006 when Nilesh was travelling with his friends on a short pilgrimage trip to Sai Baba of Shirdi. Manasi was in the same bus taking her grandmother to the holy place. Manasi was not an animal lover or animal welfare person to begin with, she was an HR Management Professional working in a Mumbai based company; but as Manasi shared, “I always knew rescuing animals was a way of life for Nilesh. Even in our courtship period, I was truly amazed by all that he had accomplished and aimed to do at such a young age for animals and PAWS uptil then”.

But Manasi’s life was to change as well, when she started accompanying the PAWS ambulance on its daily rescue calls following the birth of their daughter Dishita which had prompted Manasi to leave her regular job as well. As Manasi saw the suffering of animals on the street and the tender affection and commitment with which Nilesh and the PAWS team nursed them back to fitness, Manasi was gradually inspired to do her bit, she and she surely has done more than her bit and her efforts are only growing by the day in aiding Nilesh in all his efforts with PAWS.

Manasi and Nilesh complement each other’s skills tremendously in life and also while working for PAWS. While on one hand, Manasi’s strong interpersonal skills help her organise and arrange for funding to sustain PAWS activities, her HR skills also help calm down (and retain) the staff and volunteers who may sometimes feel overwhelmed by Nilesh’ strong and tireless work ethics and his methodical attention to details, on the other hand, Nilesh’s vast experience in animal welfare and his global network coupled with his diligence, determination and professionalism have helped ensure that PAWS has continued to remain the lifeline for the animals living in the suburbs of Mumbai.

And expectedly so Nilesh and Manasi’s two year old daughter is following in her parents footsteps, she is not afraid of animals and keenly observes her father rescuing and treating all animals, be it birds, dogs, cats or even snakes! Manasi’s companion these days are their pet cats Bitty and Kitty. Kitty who happens to be adopted and blind is about an year old and Nilesh adopted her the moment he first received an SOS adoption message about her many months back, Kitty has learnt to find her way in the house, the PAWS office and the accompanyiong staircase. She is extremely lovable, gorges on her favourite catfood ‘Drools’, is potty-trained and now also sterilized and Kitty with Dishita are surely, by the way it seemed, are both adorable darling apples of Manasi’s eyes too!

Dishita Bhanage: 'Start them young'
Nilesh's pet cats, Kitty (Blind and back & white) and Bitty (the white one)

Nilesh’s 16 year old pet dog Raju, who passed away in December 2010, was Dishita’s first introduction to animals, she used to even sit on his back and take rides on him and Raju patiently let her do all of it as Manasi watched in awe! Raju was a special dog in Nilesh’s life too; his photo now adorns a prime place in the walls of the living room of Nilesh’s house. “Raju has seen both me and PAWS grow, he was 3 years old when I started working for animals in 1998 and had been with me and PAWS for 13 years thereafter. He has been with me and my family through everything and we all miss him and his presence in our lives and the void will remain so always.”…Nilesh also shared that in his younger days, Raju used to walk till the local railway station to drop off his parents as they left for their work in Mumbai early morning and then used to return back home on his own without getting into a fight with any of the dogs along the way!

The journey ahead….

PAWS formally got access to a Rescue Centre of its own last year thanks to the generosity of Mrs. Maneka Gandhi of People for Animals which operated this premises in 1994-95 and the place was lying unused ever since. This rescue centre is located at Murbad, about 50 kms away from Dombivili .

With this PAWS Rescue Centre at Murbad nearing completion and renovation, Nilesh aims to generate more funding resources to make the Rescue Centre sustainable. Like us at Jaagruti, Nilesh agrees that Rescue centres should only be aimed at treating animals to fitness and then releasing them back in their natural surroundings or where they were picked up from. “Only those animals who are so badly handicapped that they can’t fend for themselves should be housed at a shelter for life”. Says Nilesh and we at Jaagruti second that, for if animal shelters keep on housing and feeding healthy animals then according to us at Jaagruti also this habit of ‘hoarding and collecting healthy animals at shelters’ robs an injured animal in need of much needed space and the resources spent on feeding and fattening healthy animals at shelters can be best spent on treating many an injured animal.

“My aim now is to start an Animal Birth Control Unit and a full-fledged veterinary hospital at the PAWS Centre in Murbad. It will be a long drawn process but I am sure we will be able to do so”, shares Nilesh. Nilesh’s immediate goal is to recruit honest staff to support housekeeping and medical needs of animals at Murbad and generating resources for the same is something Manasi plans to take on with gutso as she plans a non-profit event management company of her own, that could help PAWS to generate funds for its operations through event-based awareness and fund-raising activities.

We at Jaagruti wish them and the team at PAWS the very best in all their efforts and promise hereby to continue to support them in whatever way we possibly can.

We also express our deep gratitude to Nilesh and Manasi for making these three days of mine spent with them one of the most enriching learning experiences of my life, which will for sure continue to inspire us all at Jaagruti in our efforts as we aim to expand our reach and efforts from a modest beginning thus far. A big thank you!

If you want to learn more about the work PAWS does and help support Nilesh and his team in their efforts, please click on www.pawsasia.org.

If any one of you reading this can draw any lessons and inspiration from this article penned by us, this whole effort of ours at Jaagruti will further strengthen our objective of informing, sharing and inspiring as many people as we can about animals, the people who work for them and make this place a kinder and a better place to live in!

–        Vasudha Mehta (vasudha@jaagruti.org)

Posted in Animals, Do you know?, General/Animals, Information that empowers!, Pets, Street Dogs of India

Foods and Poisonous Plants to avoid for Cats and Dogs

This post is kind courtesy of Charu Shah

FOOD TO AVOID FOR DOGS-

  • Alcoholic beverages–  Can cause intoxication, coma, and death.
  • Avocado– The leaves, seeds, fruit, and bark contain persin, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Bones from fish, poultry, or other meat sources–  Can cause obstruction or laceration of the digestive system.
  • Cat food– Generally too high in protein and fats.
  • Chocolate, coffee, tea, and other caffeine – Contain caffeine, theobromine, or theophylline, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea and be toxic to the heart and nervous systems.
  • Citrus oil–  extracts Can cause vomiting.
  • Fat trimmings–  Can cause pancreatitis.
  • Fish (raw, canned or cooked) – If fed exclusively or in high amounts can result in a thiamine (a B vitamin) deficiency leading to loss of appetite, seizures, and in severe cases, death.
  • Grapes, raisins and currants – Contain an unknown toxin, which can damage the kidneys. There have been no problems associated with grape seed extract.
  • Hops- Unknown compound causes panting, increased heart rate, elevated temperature, seizures, and death.
  • Human vitamin supplements containing iron – Can damage the lining of the digestive system and be toxic to the other organs including the liver and kidneys.
  • Macadamia nuts- Contain an unknown toxin, which can affect the digestive and nervous systems and muscle.
  • Marijuana – Can depress the nervous system, cause vomiting, and changes in the heart rate.
  • Milk and other dairy products- Some adult dogs and cats may develop diarrhea if given large amounts of dairy products.
  • Moldy or spoiled food, garbage- Can contain multiple toxins causing vomiting and diarrhea and can also affect other organs.
  • Mushrooms- Can contain toxins, which may affect multiple systems in the body, cause shock, and result in death.
  • Onions and garlic (raw, cooked, or powder)- Contain sulfoxides and disulfides, which can damage red blood cells and cause anemia. Cats are more susceptible than dogs. Garlic is less toxic than onions.
  • Persimmons Seeds- can cause intestinal obstruction and enteritis.
  • Pits from peaches and plums- Can cause obstruction of the digestive tract.
  • Raw eggs- Contain an enzyme called avidin, which decreases the absorption of biotin (a B vitamin). This can lead to skin and hair coat problems. Raw eggs may also contain Salmonella.
  • Raw meat- May contain bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Rhubarb leaves- Contain oxalates, which can affect the digestive, nervous, and urinary systems.
  • Salt- If eaten in large quantities it may lead to electrolyte imbalances.
  • String- Can become trapped in the digestive system; called a “string foreign body.”
  • Sugary foods- Can lead to obesity, dental problems, and possibly diabetes mellitus.
  • Table scraps (in large amounts)- Table scraps are not nutritionally balanced. They should never be more than 10% of the diet. Fat should be trimmed from meat; bones should not be fed.
  • Tobacco Contains nicotine, which affects the digestive and nervous systems. Can result in rapid heart beat, collapse, coma, and death.
  • Yeast dough- Can expand and produce gas in the digestive system, causing pain and possible rupture of the stomach or intestines.
  • Xylitol (artificial sweetener also used in sugar free chewing gums)-Can cause very low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), which can result in vomiting, weakness and collapse. In high doses can cause liver failure.

 

 

 

FOOD TO AVOID FOR CATS-

 

  • Alcoholic beverages– Can cause intoxication, coma, and death.
  • Baby food– Can contain onion powder, which can be toxic to cats fed baby food for an extended period of time. (Please see onion below.) Can also result in nutritional deficiencies, if fed in large amounts.
  • Bones from fish, poultry, or other meat sources– Can cause obstruction or laceration of the digestive system.
  • Canned tuna (for human consumption)- Large amounts can cause malnutrition, since it lacks proper levels of vitamins and minerals. It can also lead to thiamine deficiency (see ‘Fish’ below).
  • Chocolate, coffee, tea, and other caffeine– Contain caffeine, theobromine, or theophylline, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea and be toxic to the heart and nervous system.
  • Citrus oil extracts– Can cause vomiting.
  • Dog food– If accidental ingestion, will not cause a problem; if fed repeatedly, may result in malnutrition and diseases affecting the heart.
  • Fat trimmings– Can cause pancreatitis.
  • Fish (raw, canned or cooked)– If fed exclusively or in high amounts can result in a thiamine (a B vitamin) deficiency leading to loss of appetite, seizures, and in severe cases, death. for people who think fish is the only thing cats need to eat, please check thishttp://catnutrition.wordpress.com/2007/09/22/eight-strikes-against-fishy-feeding-for-cats/
  • Grapes, raisins and currants– Contain an unknown toxin, which can damage the kidneys.
  • Human vitamin supplements containing iron– Can damage the lining of the digestive system and be toxic to the other organs including the liver and kidneys.
  • Macadamia nuts– Contain an unknown toxin, which can affect the digestive and nervous systems and muscle.
  • Marijuana– Can depress the nervous system, cause vomiting, and changes in the heart rate.
  • Milk and other dairy products– Some adult cats and dogs may develop diarrhea if given large amounts of dairy products.
  • Moldy or spoiled food, garbage– Can contain multiple toxins causing vomiting and diarrhea and can also affect other organs.
  • Mushrooms- Can contain toxins, which may affect multiple systems in the body, cause shock, and result in death.
  • Onions and garlic (raw, cooked, or powder)- Contain sulfoxides and disulfides, which can damage red blood cells and cause anemia. Cats are more susceptible than dogs. Garlic is less toxic than onions.
  • Persimmons Seeds– can cause intestinal obstruction and enteritis.
  • Raw eggs– Contain an enzyme called avidin, which decreases the absorption of biotin (a B vitamin). This can lead to skin and hair coat problems. Raw eggs may also contain Salmonella.
  • Raw meat– May contain bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Rhubarb leaves– Contain oxalates, which can affect the digestive, nervous, and urinary systems.
  • Salt– If eaten in large quantities it may lead to electrolyte imbalances.
  • String– Can become trapped in the digestive system; called a “string foreign body.”
  • Sugary foods– Can lead to obesity, dental problems, and possibly diabetes mellitus.
  • Table scraps (in large amounts)- Table scraps are not nutritionally balanced. They should never be more than 10% of the diet. Fat should be trimmed from meat; bones should not be fed.
  • Tobacco– Contains nicotine, which affects the digestive and nervous systems. Can result in rapid heart beat, collapse, coma, and death.
  • Yeast dough– Can expand and produce gas in the digestive system, causing pain and possible rupture of the stomach or intestines.

 

 

POISONOUS PLANTS-

10 Most Common Poisonous Plants

  • Marijuana – Animals who attempt to snack on this plant can suffer serious consequences such as diarrhea, vomiting, increased heart rate, drooling, in-coordination, and even possibly seizures and coma.
  • Sago Palm – While the seeds and nuts of this plant are most poisonous, the entire plant is toxic.  Animals ingesting parts of this plant may suffer from diarrhea, vomiting, depression, seizures and liver failure.
  • Lilies – Plants of the lily variety are very poisonous to cats.  Even very small amounts of this plant could cause serious kidney damage.
  • Tulips – The toxic portion of this plant is the actual bulb, which can cause drooling, central nervous system depression, gastrointestinal irritation, cardiac issues and convulsions.
  • Azalea – The toxins in azalea plants can be very severe and potentially cause drooling, diarrhea, vomiting, central nervous system weakening and depression, and in some cases possibly coma or death.
  • Oleander – All portions of this plant are poisonous and can cause gastrointestinal irritation, hypothermia, heart problems and possibly death.
  • Castor Bean – Poisoning as a result of this plant can cause abdominal pain, drooling, diarrhea, vomiting increased thirst, loss of appetite and weakness.  More serious cases could also lead to dehydration, tremors, seizures, twitching muscles, coma and possibly death.
  • Cyclamen – The most poisonous portion of this plant is located in the root.  Ingestion of the plant can cause severe vomiting and gastrointestinal irritation.  In some cases death has been reported as a result.
  • Kalanchoe – Ingestion of this plant can cause gastrointestinal irritation and cardiac rhythm and rate problems.
  • Yew – Poisoning as a result of the yew plant can affect the nervous system and cause in-coordination, trembling and breathing difficulties.  It may also result in gastrointestinal irritation, cardiac failure and could possibly lead to death.

 

 

other well-known and common plants that can be poisonous or toxic to pets.

 

  • Aconite – Is a garden flower whose roots, foliage and seeds can be poisonous.
  • Apple – The seeds of an apple can be poisonous to pets.
  • Arrowgrasses – These are marsh type plants whose leaves contain poisons.
  • Atropa Belladonna – This is a type of garden herb in which the entire plant can be poisonous to pets, especially its seeds and roots.
  • Autumn Crocus – This is a commonly found garden flower in which the entire plant can be poisonous.
  • Baneberry – This is a wildflower whose berries and roots are the poisonous portions.
  • Bird of Paradise – This is a garden flower whose pods are poisonous.
  • Black Locust – This is a tree in which the entire plant can be poisonous, especially the bark and shoots.
  • Bloodroot – Is a wildflower and herb whose stem and roots are most poisonous, however the entire plant is toxic.
  • Box – Is an ornamental shrub that is poisonous in its entirety, but especially the leaves.
  • Buckeye – This is a tree whose sprouts, nuts and seeds contain poisons.
  • Buttercup – This is a wildflower and garden herb that is poisonous in its entirety but mostly in the leaves.
  • Caladium – Is a houseplant that is poisonous in its entirety.
  • Carolina Jessamine – This is an ornamental plant whose flowers and leaves contain poisons.
  • Chinaberry Tree – Is a tree whose berries are poisonous.
  • Chockcherries – This is a wild shrub whose poisonous parts include the leaves, cherries and pit.
  • Christmas Rose – Is a garden flower that contains toxic leaves and rootstock.
  • Common Privet – Is an ornamental shrub whose leaves and berries can be poisonous.
  • Corn Cockle – Is a wildflower and weed whose seeds are particularly poisonous.
  • Cowbane – This is a wildflower and herb that is poisonous in its entirety, especially the roots.
  • Cow Cockle – Is a wildflower and weed whose seeds are poisonous.
  • Cowslip – Is a wildflower and herb whose entire plant is poisonous, especially the leaves and stem.
  • Daffodil – Is a garden flower whose bulbs are poisonous.
  • Daphne – This is an ornamental shrub that contains poisonous bark, berries and leaves.
  • Death Camas – This is a field herb whose poisonous parts include the leaves, stems, seeds and flowers.
  • Delphinium – Is a wildflower that is poisonous in its entirety, especially the sprouts.
  • Dumbcane – This is a houseplant and is poisonous in its entirety.
  • Dutchman’s Breeches – Is a wild and garden flower whose roots and foliage are poisonous.
  • Elderberry – Is a tree whose poisonous parts include the leaves, bark, roots and buds.
  • Elephant’s Ear – This is a houseplant poisonous in its entirety.
  • English Ivy – Is an ornamental vine that is completely poisonous but especially the leaves and berries.
  • European Bittersweet – This is a vine poisonous in its entirety but especially in the berries.
  • False Flax – Is a wild herb whose seeds are poisonous.
  • False Hellebore – Is an ornamental flower whose roots, leaves and seeds are toxic.
  • Fan Weed – This is a wildflower and herb whose seeds are poisonous.
  • Field Peppergrass – Is a wildflower and herb that contains poisonous seeds.
  • Flax – Is a wildflower and herb whose seedpods contain poisons.
  • Foxglove – This is a wild and garden flower whose leaves are poisonous.
  • Holly – Is a shrub containing poisonous berries.
  • Horsechestnut – Is a tree containing poisonous nuts and sprouts.
  • Horse Nettle – Is a wildflower and herb poisonous in its entirety, especially the berries.
  • Hyacinth – This is a wild and houseplant whose bulbs are poisonous.
  • Iris – Is a wild and garden flower whose leaves and roots are poisonous.
  • Jack-in-the-Pulpit – Is a wildflower that is entirely poisonous, especially the leaves and roots.
  • Jatropha – This is a tree and shrub whose seeds are poisonous.
  • Jerusalem Cherry – Is an ornamental plant whose un-ripened fruit and foliage are poisonous.
  • Jimsonweed – Is a field plant that is entirely poisonous, especially the seeds.
  • Laburum – Is an ornamental plant whose seeds, pods and flowers can be poisonous.
  • Lantana – Is a houseplant whose foliage is poisonous.
  • Larkspur – Is a wildflower that is poisonous only as a young plant.
  • Laurels – This is a type of shrub with poisonous leaves.
  • Lupines – Is a shrub whose seeds and pods are poisonous.
  • Manchineel Tree – A tree containing poisonous sap and fruit.
  • Matrimony Vine – An ornamental vine containing poisonous leaves and shoots.
  • Mayapple – A wildflower poisonous in the form of its un-ripened fruit as well as the foliage and roots.
  • Milk Vetch – A wildflower poisonous in its entirety.
  • Mistletoe – A houseplant with poisonous berries.
  • Monkshood – A wildflower poisonous in its entirety, especially the roots and seeds.
  • Moodseed – A vine whose fruit and roots are poisonous.
  • Morning Glory – Is a wildflower containing poisonous seeds and roots.
  • Mountain Mahogany – Is a shrub with poisonous leaves.
  • Mustards – These are wildflowers whose seeds can be poisonous.
  • Narcissus – This is a garden flower whose bulbs contain poisons.
  • Nicotiana – Is a garden flower whose leaves are poisonous.
  • Nightshade – Is a wildflower and vine with poisonous leaves and berries.
  • Oaks – Are trees with poisonous leaves and shoots.
  • Philodendrons – Are houseplants poisonous in their entirety.
  • Pokeweed – Is a field plant containing poisonous roots, seeds and berries.
  • Poinsettia – Is a houseplant with poisonous leaves, flowers and stems.
  • Poison Hemlock – This is a field plant containing poisonous leaves, stems and fruit.
  • Potato – A garden plant whose shoots and sprouts can be poisonous.
  • Rattle Box – Is a wildflower that is entirely poisonous.
  • Rhododendron – Is an ornamental shrub whose leaves are poisonous.
  • Rhubarb – A garden plant with poisonous leaves.
  • Rosary Pea – Is a houseplant whose seeds are poisonous.
  • Skunk Cabbage – This is a marsh plant whose entire plant is poisonous but especially the roots and leaves.
  • Smart Weeds – Are wildflowers containing poisonous sap.
  • Snow-on-the-Mountain – This is a wildflower whose sap is poisonous.
  • Sorghum – Is a type of grass whose leaves are poisonous.
  • Star of Bethlehem – Is a wildflower poisonous in its entirety.
  • Velvet Grass – A variety of grass whose leaves are poisonous.
  • Wild Black Cherry – Is a tree with poisonous leaves and pits.
  • Wild Radish – A wildflower with poisonous seeds.
  • Wisteria – Is an ornamental plant containing poisonous seeds and pods.
  • Woody Aster – A wildflower whose entire plant is poisonous.
  • Yellow Jessamine – An ornamental vine that is entirely poisonous.
  • Yellow Pine Flax – A wildflower poisonous in its entirety but especially in the seedpods.

 

Posted in Against Animal Cruelty, Be the Change, Do you know?, General/Animals, Information that empowers!, Inspiration, Pets, Relationships, Street Dogs of India

15 reasons to adopt an older dog

This post is kind courtesy of  Luigi Aero‘s Facebook Page

"Blessed is the person who has earned the love of an old dog."- Sydney Jeanne Seward

One of the saddest things is an old dog left in a shelter by an uncaring human family. Common excuses people use are that they don’t have enough time for the dogs or that they are moving (although I have never heard of any state in the U.S. where dogs are illegal). In this disposable society we live in, some people actually dump their family dog in a shelter and walk out with a new puppy.  Imagine the fear, sadness and confusion that an old shelter dog faces.Even worse, their time in the shelter is spent watching people walk past their cages, barely seeing them, instead rushing to the cute puppies.

 

Why would anyone consider sharing their home with an older dog, when there are so many younger ones available?

By adopting an older dog, you can make a statement about compassion and the value of all life at all ages, as well as register a protest against the indiscriminate and inhumane breeding of dogs, whether it is for profit or to “teach the children about birth.” And, of course, just as a puppy has his whole life ahead of him, so does an older dog have the rest of his life in front of him. You can give that older dog the best years of his life while at the same time bringing a wonderful addition into your family.

 

 

1. What You See Is What You Get

 

Older dogs are open books—from the start, you’ll know important things like their full-grown size, personality and grooming requirements. All this information makes it easier to pick the right dog and forge that instant love connection that will last a lifetime. If you’re not so into surprises, an older dog is for you!

 

2. Easy to Train

 

Think you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Hogwash! Older dogs are great at focusing on you—and on the task at hand—because they’re calmer than youngsters. Plus, all those years of experience reading humans can help them quickly figure out how to do what you’re asking.

 

3. Seniors are Super-Loving

 

these dogs give you—and those of you who adopted dogs already in their golden years told us how devoted and grateful they are. It’s an instant bond that cannot be topped!

 

4. They’re Not a 24-7 Job

 

Grownup dogs don’t require the constant monitoring puppies do, leaving you with more freedom to do your own thing. If you have young children, or just value your “me time,” this is definitely a bonus.

 

5. They Settle in Quickly

 

Older dogs have been around the block and already learned what it takes to get along with others and become part of a pack.They’ll be part of the family in no time!

 

6. Fewer Messes

 

Your floors, shoes and furniture will thank you for adopting a senior pooch! Older dogs are likely to already be housetrained—and even if they’re not, they have the physical and mental abilities to pick it up really fast (unlike puppies). With their teething years far behind them, seniors also are much less likely to be destructive chewers.

 

7. You Won’t Bite Off More Than You Can Chew

 

There are those who yearn for a doggie friend of their own, but hold back because they worry what might happen in their lives in the years to come. And they are wise to do so—a puppy or young dog can be anywhere from an 8- to 20-year responsibility, which is not appropriate for the very elderly or those with certain long-term future plans. Providing a loving home for a dog in her golden years is not a less serious commitment, but it can be a shorter one.

 

8. They Enjoy Easy Livin’

 

Couch potato, know thyself! Please consider a canine retiree rather than a high-energy young dog who will run you ragged. Not that older dogs don’t require any exercise—they do—but they’re not going to need, or want, to run a marathon every day.

 

9. A good night’s sleep

 

Older dogs let you get a good night’s sleep because they’re accustomed to human schedules and don’t generally need nighttime feedings, comforting, or bathroom breaks.

 

10. Time for yourself –

 

Older dogs leave you time for yourself, because they don’t make the kinds of demands on your time and attention that puppies and young dogs do.

 

11. Companionship.

 

Senior dogs whose lives have been disrupted in their later years have so much love to give and like nothing better than giving it. They tend to rely heavily on their owner for companionship and therefore bond very quickly. The desire to reciprocate the companionship given to them is very strong.

 

12. Seniors for seniors.

 

An attractive concept used by many animal rescue/humane organizations, an older dog can be successfully matched up with a senior citizen. Lifestyle requirements of an older person often mix well with the lifestyle of an older dog. It’s a win/win situation, resulting in quality retirement companionship for both.

 

13. Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?

 

You sure can. While it may take an older dog a bit longer to adjust to new situations, they can; they will; they do. Their only requirement is to be given the opportunity. Generally, older dogs are calmer and therefore will focus much easier on what you are trying to teach them.

 

14. Save a Life, Be a Hero

 

At shelters, older dogs are often the last to be adopted and the first to be euthanized. Saving an animal’s life offers an unparalleled emotional return on your investment, and you’ll feel the rewards every day you spend together.

 

15. They’re CUTE!

 

Need I say more?

 

Please consider adopting a senior dog , you won’t be sorry. Your decision to adopt a senior pet will be rewarded with unconditional love and devotion..

 

Posted in Animals, Inspiration, Man and Animal: Stories of Kindness, Pets, Relationships, Videos on Animals

Faith – the two legged dog

The below story is kind courtesy and copyright of : Daily Good.

We are sharing it here because it meets one of the objectives behind the intent of ‘Jaagruti’ which is – spreading respect and compassion towards members of the canine family.

Two-Legged Dog to Inspire British Troops Wounded in Afghanistan

BY MARC HERTZ | WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 18, 2010 5:45 AM ET

A dog named Faith inspires others simply by being able to walk with just her two hind legs.

picture_2.png

There are some things you have to see to believe, and Faith is one of those. She’s a labrador-chow mix born without one front leg and another that was severely deformed, only to be removed when Faith was seven months old due to atrophy. What’s truly amazing about Faith is that, despite having only her two hind legs, she can still walk on them, as you can see in the video below.

Faith is something of a celebrity, having appeared on Oprah a few years ago, and according to The Sun, she’s actually an honorary sergeant. The US Army gave her that title because she’s helped disabled veterans trying to overcome injuries they sustained in war zones, even donning a military jacket when she visits bases or hospitals. As her owner, Jude Stringfellow, was quoted, “Faith seems to inspire these young men. It’s very emotional watching them respond to her. She shows what can be achieved against great odds.”

Now, she’s planning to go international. Stringfellow wants to bring Faith to the UK, so she can bring her own brand of inspiration to those troops wounded in Afghanistan. Before she can do so, though, quarantine rules will have to be met. For the sake of those wounded soldiers, let’s hope they have the chance to see Faith “marching” their way.

Posted in Against Animal Cruelty, Animals, Be the Change, Do you know?, Games people play, General/Animals

Abandoning one’s pet: Could there be a crime bigger than that?

Such scenes are an everday occurence all around many cities across the world.

People buy pets, some even pamper them BUT then dump them on the road, at a city shelter in their old age-at an age when they need them the most.

Next time you see someone abandoning them, try telling them: “FOR YOU HE IS A DOG, BUT FOR THAT DOG YOU ARE EVERYTHING”. If nothing else, at least you could try and guilt such people into shame for there could be nothing more inhuman than that act of abandoning one’s best friend.

Never abandon your pets! (Courtesy: http://blog.thewaterdish.com.sg)

Instead of heartlessly abandoning one’s pet at a ripe old age at a city shelter, we would rather advocate that you have a heart and put your pet to sleep, atleast that would save that speechless animal a life of agony and stress at the thought of having been separated from those he considered his very own family for all the years that he has lived thus far

The words below penned by Meera Ahmad speak on the agony of  a pet being abandoned, being dumped at a city shelter by its heartless owners.

Just visualize the people come in their car, the dog feels he is going for just another car ride….they take him out on the road, he thinks it is just another lovely walk, the dog trots excitedly beside them like he has done all these years looking up to them as his guardians…

Unknowing to their unsuspecting dog, they look for a place to dump him, soon they find one, the kid feels weird being tied at a strange lonely unfamiliar road….whines and tugs hard….his eyes turn large with an unknown fear, ears drop still his tail wags beacuse he can still see the people he loves….till they walk away, like a streak they speed away…not looking back even once…the kid starts yelping barking like mad, tugging at the leash for his dear life so hard that it strangles his neck, till he drops limply as if he was dead….had he got free he would have raced to catch them up trying to overtake the car it would have run and run, till it would have stumbled sore and spent…now it lies limply in the dust…

Will you do this to someone you really love?

What is more disturbing is that if they could do this to their dog after having him for ten odd years God only knows how they would have kept him in those years…for I am mighty sure of one thing that they couldn’t have loved him as a dog deserves to be leave alone thinking of him as their family member or kid.

It is as ghastly as dumping your old parents in a old age home. Stll that dog of theirs would never stop loving them..never give up on them or let go…he will keep waiting for them till his last breath..everytime he hears a car in the shelter he will think they have come for him..just like the parents in the old age homes…the widowed mothers packed off on trains to holy places like Vrindavan until they breath their last.

Remember,  what goes around comes around, so don’t do onto others what you don’t wish others to do to you!

Posted in Animals, Man and Animal: Stories of Kindness, Relationships, Street Dogs of India

Urvashi and her love for street dogs: A journey that will never end…

On her regular morning walks, Pooja Gulati of Faraidabad was amused by the sight of 4 street dogs regularly sitting on the boundary wall of a house in Sector 21, Faridabad (Haryana, India). Their unwavering devotion to guarding the premises of this house and the street facing it pointed to the fact these street dogs indeed had human guardians taking care of them and that is how Pooja was introduced to Urvashi and her 4-legged family!

On guard! Chotu, Noni and Motu

Urvashi Sharma, graduated from Lady Shri Ram College in Delhi and moved to Fraidabad from Delhi 25 years ago. She is now a lecturer in English by profession and stays her parents.

Her bonding with the dogs on the street began when in her younger years, she along with her elder sister Neelakshi befriended a few of the street dogs…after her sister’s marriage, Urvashi carried the baton forward.

Today, there are 4 four street dogs who maintain a vigil outside Urvashi’s house.  They have been loving named, Chotu, Chotti, Motu and Noni by her family and have been her friends for the past decade or so.

Urvashi is not only feeding the four of them on the street, she is also feeding and providing shelter to a female street dog named, Minni inside her house. On being asked about the possible cause behind Minni’s blindness, Urvashi shared that, ‘a few unruly boys in the street tried to pierce her eyes and that is what led her to lose their vision’.

Urvashi with Standlie-the Lhasa apso (in her arms) and Minni- the blind street dog (by her side)

Disability is no deterrent for Minni’s spirited personality; she now relies on her sniffing prowess and is a regular at going for her moring and evening walks. Urvashi’s retired parents guide her as she finds her way through the house.

Chiklu - Urvashi's Dachshund

Also sharing space with Minni at Urvashi’s home are her two pedigreed pets Chiklu, a Dachshund and Standlie, a Lhasa apso.

Initially (like many of us), she faced a lot of resistance from her neighbours towards feeding the dogs in her street. The neighbours knocked on her doors whenever the dog’s barked as well, not realizing that the dogs could well be barking on some unscrupulous elements that are walking past the street and scaring them away to keep the neighbourhood safe!

Street Dogs keep our streets safe from anti-social elements! (Cartoon Credit: Ajit Ninan and Vasudha Mehta)

Urvashi faced a tough time convincing and explaining them all the advantages and benefits the street dogs serve the society. But today, thanks to the Dog-feeding rules and growing awareness, things have gradually begun to show improvement.

For her these animals are an integral part of her world and caring for them is a journey that will never end…

In Urvashi’s words, “animals are a creation of God. We have no right to harm them. As human beings, the least we can do is respect them and their existence on this planet and in return be assured of their endless love and companionship, which makes each day memorable and worth living for us all”.

Posted in Articles/Posts in Hindi, General/Animals, Street Dogs of India

कौन ज़्यादा टेढ़ा है? – हमारे राजनेता या टेढ़ी पूँछ वाले जानवर..

टेढ़ी पूँछ वाला जानवर केवल पुचकार का भूखा है, पर हमारे यह राजनेता सत्ता, रुतबा, धन दौलत और ना जाने और किस किस चीज़ की कभी न भरने वाली भूख रखते हैं…..

(Courtesy: Navbharat Times 18th June 2010)

Posted in Stories from Ground Zero

Inspired by Bollywood movie, social activist made police post incharge for a day!

Balak Ram Prajapati- the one day cop!

19th April, 2010 (Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, India)

‘People think of police as men with sticks, who accept bribes and abuse people, I aim to change all of that”, declares 58 year old Balak Ram Prajapati.

Past Thursday, social activist Prajapati drove to meet city Police Chief Akhil Kumar on his rickety old two-wheeled scooter. He went to him with a sermon and a plan to reform the police’s image in public eyes; little did he expect that the onus of doing so would be put on him so soon!

Taking a leaf out of the script of a Bollywood movie, the Police chief asked Prajapati to take charge of Lisadi Gate Police Post for 24 hours on Saturday and execute his reformist ides for the Police.

The Police Chief’s order seemed to be inspired from ‘Nayak’, a Bollywood movie, in which the film’s hero was made the state’s chief minister for a day, which was magically enough for him to cleanse the rotting state’s political system.

But reality however is far removed from fiction, as Prajapati found out during the course of his day-long term with the police.

Earlier in India’s history too, Qutb-ud-din Aybak, the ruler of Delhi in 13th Century made a bhishti (term used for men who sell water on roadside from leather pouches), the state’s emperor for day and bestowed him with legal powers which were used by him to launch currency notes in ‘leather’!

But unlike the bhishti, devoid of any legal powers, Prajapati arrived at his office in plainclothes at around 10 am on Saturday morning and soon after was inundated with hordes of complainants.

Within a matter of hours, however, Prajapati started speaking the same language as the policemen do asking them ‘to stay calm and cooperate as the police did its work, despite its limitations’, which seemed like words borrowed from the police chief’s dictionary!

“Police’s precious time and resources go into resolving and dealing with complaints in which they can’t be of any help”, said Prajapati.

“For example, I attended and resolved through my mediation 26 cases of family dispute, what is required in such cases is not a policemen but a counselor!” he added.

A grassroots activist for the past 35 years, Prajapati heads a local social welfare group and earns his livelihood through beekeeping. ‘I work on empowering people through setting up SHGs or Self-help groups”, said Prajapati when asked about his focus area in social sphere.

“I suggested to the Police chief that police should play a role in reforming young people (serving their terms in prisons) by training them in employment skills. If young men are well-employed, they would stay away from performing crimes”, suggests Prajapati.

Prajapati went on routine police checking round too.

Thankfully, the day in the city was otherwise calm and there was no need for the police to involve or demonstrate to him, how the forces nab and kill criminals in a Police ‘encounter’, else this experiment would have had the police chief running for cover.

Somveer Singh, the ‘regular’ incharge of this police-post wasn’t impressed with Prajapati’s day in the office. “He kept on asking the constables to summon one or the other people mentioned by the complainants in their application. This is not practically feasible option every day however as we have a limited force”, said Somveer.

“I have 13 blocks of Meerut city under me and to manage such a big area I have an extremely small 26-man force, if all of them go to summon one or the other people based on people’s complaints then how will the police fulfill other duties of theirs?” questioned Somveer.

Whether Prajapati has completely understood the constraints, dilemmas and struggles that a policeman endures on the job is something that only ‘tomorrow’ can tell but till then Prajapati takes delight in the good press he has generated for the police in his few hours of fame and power.

To reform the police system and public’s perception is an arduous task. For the common man on the street, “this system, the police and bureaucracy is hopelessly stagnated; rotting at its feet, mired in corruption and weighed down by political pressure” but Prajapati isn’t giving up the fight just as yet.

“I am a man on a mission”, he concluded.

All power to his elbow!

Text: Vasudha Mehta (C) JAAGRUTI