This one is our homage from Beyond Tricity to all those doing selfless service, looking after the voiceless pet dogs orphaned in the Covid 19 pandemic that is raging across the country. Our salute to the many people who have become the living examples of godliness, with their acts of saving the lives of hundreds of thousands afflicted by the deadly Coronavirus.
But it is not just the human lives that matter. Ladies like Parul Seth in Noida or sisters Manjula and Vedapriya of Chennai are part of an army of animal lovers rescuing and adopting or facilitating the adoption of countless pets that have lost entire families to Covid. These pets had lived sheltered and pampered lives.
Absolutely unfit to live on their own and lacking survival tactics and skills, orphaned pets and abandoned ones often are found in pathetic conditions – and turn into severe cases of malnutrition and bruises suffered in fights with strays that are ruling the roads.
Parul Seth, an interior designer by training and profession is a passionate animal lover and runs a shelter home for strays and abandoned “children” as she calls the many dogs of various breeds that she looks after with the help of two persons. “Running such a shelter is not possible in residential colonies as neighbours do not allow it. So, a shelter has to be either in a commercial area or in a residential colony nearing completion and not yet populated,” she told Tricity Scoop.
The pandemic has only made it worse for pets, as often these are kept as status symbols and never really cared for by the owners. So, it is not uncommon for us to find exotic breed dogs roaming around, and unable to fend for themselves. “Why last week alone I took in a Pakistani Bully, one St Bernard, a Husky and 5 Labradors,” she said adding that “often big ferocious dogs are difficult to handle. But we somehow cope.” She does it out of passion and pays from her own pocket, other than the small donations that come by now and then.
Manjula and Vedapriya of Porur in Chennai, are young, educated, and lead their own different professional lives. Love for animals is inborn as their parents are passionate about animals and welfare. Since she was in school, Manjula Ganapathy has been rescuing dogs and other animals in distress. Now 24, she runs a vegan food service and has built up a steady and rich clientele.
She also prepares and sends food for Covid patients. Manjula thinks nothing of spending her own money on taking care of dogs and cats, abandoned or orphaned. Her younger sister, a beautician by training, works in a pet grooming centre and contributes her bit to their family’s love for animals.
“Our house is very small, and we cannot keep the dogs at home. But still, we have 9 strays, Indian breeds, with us,” she said. At a rough count, “we have found foster homes for 900 abandoned or orphaned pets so far in over one year,” she said. Yes, nowadays we are finding many pet dogs being left abandoned by people who are finding it difficult to lead their own lives and cited the example of an auto rickshaw driver who abandoned a 50-day old Labrador puppy.
It is very expensive to maintain a Lab, costing Rs 6000 to Rs 8000 per month and that driver was earning only Rs 5000 per month. He bought the puppy after selling the family silver because his daughter wanted a puppy badly.
We can find all sorts of breeds, Alsatians, Rowtelliers, Labradors, and even Lhasa Apsos that are abandoned. Then there are many rich people who cruelly abandon pets.
Now, some people are leaving their dogs on the road as they are scared that they may get corona through their dogs. “This is absolutely false, but how can we do anything against rumours,” Manjula lamented.
Manjula and Vedapriya’s father is a silversmith and he lost his job with a local jeweller after four persons in the shop tested positive. She took it in her stride and said, “anyway father has crossed 55, so he should stay safe inside the house.”
“After rescuing a dog, we try to find a foster home and some animal-loving family to adopt them. I use social media extensively and believe me, many people are kind and helpful,” Manjula said. “Or else, just imagine how our life and world would have been,” she said.
Lakshmana Venkat Kuchi, Consulting Editor, is a senior journalist with over three and a half decades experience in the profession at the national and regional level. For the longest duration in over three decade career, he was associated with Hindustan Times for 18 years in New Delhi, Jaipur and Chennai. Email id: email@example.com & Twitter: @kvlakshman