Dog Stories And Voiceless Pleas
Pomeranians in the shelter, rescued from a circus company, were walking on their hind legs for some time until they knew they could walk on all fours | Beena Lal
On Dec 07, 2016


Most of us call ourselves humans. When humans commit despicable acts, we don't hesitate to call them animals. The fact remains that there are worse ‘human animals’ than animals amongst us.

Let's listen to the story of this poor Rottweiler whose eyes look hollow. At first he had just an eye infection which could have been treated with a visit to the vet. Instead, the dog’s owner used Hydrogen Peroxide, a rather rude treatment method, to treat the infection. This made matters worse. 

The poor dog almost lost its eye sight while the area around its eyes was badly festered. The story didn't end here. Later he was abandoned, tied to a street post, in a posh locality of our city. That day it rained cats and dogs and here was this poor Rottweiler tied to a post. The dog’s wailing all night got the attention of a good soul, who alerted 'People For Animal' (PFA). Soon enough PFA rescued him.

Jasmine is extremely docile. She was an explosives sniffer dog with the Police department. They couldn't keep her once she was old. She is also under the protection of the 'People For Animal' shelter now. 

The Pomeranians in the shelter, rescued from a circus company, were walking on their hind legs for some time until they knew they could walk on all fours! Even now when they hear the roll of drums, all of them stand in line on their hind legs. 

These dog stories (with respects to James Herriot) egged me to check out the 'People For Animal' shelter. When I reached the two storied building in Shasthamangalam, I was welcomed by some not-so-friendly barking. I decided to trespass into their territory along with Beena, their helper. To my relief the pack of dogs stayed put, but still barking. Obviously most of them were at some point ill-treated by one of us. 

Shobitha (one of the five ladies along with Maria, Latha, Hema and Leela Latif, the founder of PFA, run this place), walked to the front of the house, inviting me to have a seat on one of the paved raised spaces. 

Sometime back PFA was approached by people in Delhi to find a place for nine dogs rescued from a circus company. Without thinking twice Shobitha opened this house, her husband's ancestral home, for them. The effort these ladies take in taking care of these voiceless animals are incomparable. They are like any other lady who runs a family, in addition to running a business or working somewhere. Yet they chose this different and difficult path since they are passionate about animals and their welfare. They are ably assisted by a few dedicated and like-minded people who consider these dogs to be their own children!

Dogs are very friendly animals, whose unconditional love and adoration to their owners or to the people who take care of them are unparalleled. According to Shobitha, people usually get dogs either as a pet or for guarding their homes or for kids to play with. Once they have served their purpose many just abandon them on streets like waste. Often times in pathetic condition.
It's here individuals like Shobitha make a huge difference and impact. These compassionate people listen to the dogs’ voiceless plea. They become their guardian angels. Shobitha adds, “By giving voice to these voiceless animals, I find happiness.” This gives her and the group members the ability to move ahead in spite of adverse conditions. They have a group of volunteers from Infosys who come and clean these dogs once a month. Thanks to these beautiful minds who believe in ‘To live and let live', not just for humans but for animals too.

Shobitha recalled how they sent nine horses who they rescued from a circus company, brought to their shelter in Malayinkizhu (PFA’s main shelter, which is off city limits) and later on sent to Ooty. These four ladies worked past midnight to complete this tiresome task of coaxing these horses to get inside a truck. Looking at Shobitha, I wonder how and from where this soft spoken lady finds this strength. But can one under estimate the inner power, the inner strength and the steadfastness of purpose? I guess not. 

PFA does yeoman social service in the Malayinkizhu panchayat. Every week they sterilize about ten stray dogs and after recovery, PFA leaves them at the place they were caught. The government compensates PFA Rs.1000 per dog. But when you add up expenses like the fees for vets, nurses, helpers, transportation, medicines, and food it goes beyond the allocated amount. 

They need 25 kgs of rice a day for both shelters put together. Usually they procure low priced rice but for the past couple of months they are unable to find rice for that price. So they have switched to more expensive rice. Of course there are always some good souls and organizations/clubs like Sri Mulam club, who help them on and off. Interestingly a cloth exporter from Bangalore gives them clothes and lets them sell and take that money. To maintain these two shelters, PFA needs a minimum of Rs.2 lakhs each month. They struggle to keep this going but they are determined to do so at any cost.
Every story has two sides. When we discuss cruelty by humans towards animals there are stories of stray dogs attacking humans, sometimes even killing them. What could be the reason for these attacks? Shobitha, from her experience says, “These dogs get aggressive mostly in abandoned areas where they live in packs, where they get abundance of food, meat waste. They come, eat and go back to where they live. If anybody crosses that area they simply attack. They are protecting their territory. Unless they are threatened or abused they don't usually attack.”

It is the society’s responsibility to ensure not to create an environment to breed stray dogs. To begin with let's stop throwing away meat and waste on to the street. One can hope that we will find a solution by which both humans and animals can co exist, without killing each other. 
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