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 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 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 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 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 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.

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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 Articles/Posts in Hindi, General/Animals

Pet dogs and your personality

The dogs you pet gives an insight into your personality as well. Click on the thumbnail below to enlarge the image, which is a scanned version of the article that was published in the ‘Hello Delhi’ supplement of Navbharat Times newspaper on 4th May, 2010

(Courtesy: Navbharat Times_4th May 2010)