Taking care of man’s best friend
A friend in need is a friend indeed! A group of volunteers in and around Besant Nagar have lived this motto with the Man’s best friend - the dogs. With the lockdown in place since March, many of the street dogs in the city were left hungry, but not in Besant Nagar.
Compassionate souls Janani Radhakrishnan, Sumanth Subramaniam, Archana Manavalan, and many other animal lovers from Besant Nagar had known each other by face till the lockdown. As each one of them prepared food for the dogs and came out to feed, they bumped into each other, and the commonality binded them into a team to collaborate better to feed the dogs. “I used to feed the dogs, on and off. But when the lockdown started, I prepared pedigree for them and went out to feed them. Once we formed a team, we scheduled the feeds across localities,” says Archana.
Janani Krishnamurthy, Trustee of Chennai Animal Rescue and KSPCA Kodaikanal, explains, “On March 14th, I started feeding 5 dogs and slowly with the janta curfew and lockdown, I ended up feeding more and more dogs and lots of cats in the neighbourhood. I have the last shift of the day and I call it the best shift as I get to not only feed them but also give them lots of love by leisurely petting each one of them. I make rice cooked with soya chunks and moong dal and add a dash of ghee in it. After it’s cooked I add pedigree in it dry or wet.”
“I have been associated with many animal welfare organisations. The lockdown gave me an opportunity to do something for the animals myself. So I started feeding the dogs. I am now preparing nearly 30 kg of dog food and feeding nearly 100 - 150 of them,” tells Sumanth.
The dog feed also consists of vitamin and nutrient supplements and are also given medicines for ticks and skin problems. “The coats of the dogs are shining now,” exclaims Sumanth. The dogs are also given regular baths. Water filled bowls are also kept at various places for animals. “I had kept nearly 25 water-filled bowls. Now only 5 remain. So I now keep them at places where there are people to take care of it,” says Archana.
The team is also taking care of neutering the dogs. Janani narrates, “My house currently has a female dog named Brinda a.k.a Mayuri who has littered 10 puppies. Though she has an ear notch - an indication that she has been neutered by the Corporation, she still littered. Since it started raining, I guided her along with her puppies to my home. She is the most gentle girl ever. Eight of her puppies are already adopted and I’m looking forward to neutering her properly once she stops lactating. We are tying a pink ribbon around neutered dogs as identification.”
She further adds, “I have grown so fond of them that every single dog has a name - Gunda, Karuva, Beef, Raja, Choco, Chip, Twins, Howler, Shorty, Kanmani, Alpha, Nirmala, Drama king (DK), Willie, Wolfie, Pity, Grandpa, Grandma, Sadhu, Yogi, Chony and so many more. Casper the black boy is my favourite and he’s such a lovely dog. Alpha is the rowdy of the area. So every night if the dog behaved well, I would give them biscuits as treats.”
All the expenses for the feeding and medicines, for around 150 dogs each, has been borne by the volunteers themselves. “I have also raised money for INCARE for feeding 500 dogs every day. People need to open their hearts for the animals as well,” says Sumanth talking of the struggles faced in collecting funds.
All the volunteers say that they would be continuing this work even after the economy opens up. “Now whenever I go out for grocery shopping, the dogs come to me for petting. Everyone likes to be loved,” tells Archana.
Janani, who has been part of multiple animal welfare boards, states, “As years went by in rescues and welfare work, I realised that there is so much cruelty that takes place - from the cosmetics we use to clothes we wear, to most of the products we consume. It has made me choose plant-based alternatives and go completely vegan. Animals are my friends and family, they are not food or accessories for me and can never be. Every Life Matters!”
To reach out to the volunteers or be a part of the efforts, reach out to 89035 01395 or mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.