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  Life   More Features  05 Sep 2017  City strays get a lifeline

City strays get a lifeline

THE ASIAN AGE. | DYUTI BASU
Published : Sep 5, 2017, 12:24 am IST
Updated : Sep 5, 2017, 12:24 am IST

It was not just Ganesh’s organisation, but also a number of other NGOs from the area who joined hands to help out the stray population of the city.

The city opened its doors during the floods — not just to people but also to the stray dog and cat population. However, animal experts say that there is much more that could be done for them during the monsoons.
 The city opened its doors during the floods — not just to people but also to the stray dog and cat population. However, animal experts say that there is much more that could be done for them during the monsoons.

Stories of bravery have come pouring in from all quarters as the city recovers from the sudden floods, after a heavy downpour, last Tuesday. And it wasn’t just humans that people opened their doors to. There were those good Samaritans who worked tirelessly through the night to ensure that Mumbai’s furry friends made it through the floods safely.

The monsoons are generally a difficult season for dogs and cats living on the streets, with the wet and cold clinging to their fur, bringing with them a hundred diseases. However, Tuesday was an exceptionally difficult time for them, as it was for the humans in the city.

Ganesh Nayak, head of Animals Matter to Me, said that he and his team had their hands full through the night, and into the next day, trying to help and treat as many animals as they could. “Malad (where their office is situated) was not flooded, so people from all over came to the shelter with stray dogs and cats that were injured in some way, or just needed a shelter. We never asked where they came from; we just got busy treating them,” recalls the hero of the night.

It was not just Ganesh’s organisation, but also a number of other NGOs from the area who joined hands to help out the stray population of the city. “All my volunteers stepped forward to help, and other NGOs too asked us if they could lend a helping hand in some way. So, overall, we had 70 volunteers. We not only treated animals, but also went on a massive food drive and helped out with around a thousand food packets for animals and humans alike. We also distributed water,” he adds.

While Ganesh was battling to ensure that strays got all the help they needed, on the other side of the city, the staff at Pawfect Life found themselves in a fix. Located in Marol, the pet shelter is on the ground floor of a low-lying area. “We have a step that leads up to our premises, so water didn’t come in from the door. But there are a number of holes along the wall, which help with pest control. Water started to seep in through there, since the whole compound was flooded,” recalls Niharika Sekhri, owner of Pawfect Life, who happened to be out of town that day.

“My staff was wonderful though. They all stayed through the night. We couldn’t take the dogs out for walks and there were 25 of them and several of them dirtied the complex. So the staff members spent the whole night cleaning up and mopping water from the floors. They kept the dogs company through the night,” adds a grateful Niharika.

While the floods saw an exemplary number of people stepping up to the plate to help out, both Niharika and Ganesh feel that there is much more that could be done on a daily basis to help out man’s furry friends.

“Dogs and cats are not that different from people. All they’re looking for during the rains is a place to take shelter for a while. So, if you can put out cardboard boxes or towels outside your door, they can keep dry during the rains. It really doesn’t take much effort,” shrugs Ganesh.

“Infections and injuries are common during rains. So, if anyone sees strays on the road that are suffering, its best to just take them to the shelter. I know it’s a bit difficult since not everyone is aware of where the shelters are, but if animal lovers can step up and do their bit, it would really make a difference for the city’s strays,” concludes Niharika.

Tags: stray dog, monsoons, floods