Page 1   Page 2  Page 3    Page 4   Page 5   Page 6   Back

10th May 2002 - Page 3


The other day on a hot, dry afternoon after a gruelling day at school, I left for a stray dog shelter under the Defence Colony flyover with Cara Tejpal of class 8. Cara and her bunch of friends have been involved with this for quite some time and today she was successful in dragging me to the shelter! She is also a proud owner of a stray kitten called ‘Oreo’. 
Entering the office of Friendicoes one gets a strong and overpowering whiff of disinfectant. The phone never stops ringing and each time a gruff 'hello' greets the voice on the other end. This is the voice of Friendicoes, Mr. Gautam, the co-founder of this organisation. Adjoining the tiny reception cubicle is a makeshift operating table for these animals that resembles the setup of a vet. I gathered this from the fact that a Pomeranian was waiting to get her ear operated for a blood clot. Meanwhile in walked a robust local dog with an air of authority about him and he plonked himself right in the midst of us. ('Us' included both of us from school, a couple waiting to adopt a pup, a police officer who had come to enquire about the sniffer dogs which have been in the news recently and of course, the Pomeranian which was waiting to be operated upon.) 
Even as Gautam spoke to the police officer about their dogs which had gone to caring homes, he kept receiving phone
calls which ranging from an enquiry for a pedigree pup, to questions about what one could do to help. The response to the enquiry about the pedigree pup was interesting: all Gautam could tell them was that they had the ‘hardy variety of mixed Indian breeds’ which were best suited to the climate we live in. 

We spoke to Gautam for a short while about what we as priviliged citizens could do for these unfortunate animals. He said that the least we could do is to give away all our old newspapers on a regular basis which can be used to line the floors to keep the shelter clean. We could also give away old clothes for the maintenance of this shelter. One of the easier things to do is to donate money for the daily rations for the animals. 
And then there is a tougher way for those who dare! We could give our time and lots of our affection by being there whenever possible (to give a bath to the dogs or take them out for a walk, all of course after taking the mandatory shots). The number of animals in the shelter is ever increasing, and they have another shelter in a sprawling expanse at Gurgaon (closer to our school) where there are a variety of animals ranging from dogs, cats, nilgais to horses! Did you know that in these shelters here in India we keep the animal forever unlike the foreign countries where once the claimant doesn't surface within a week then the animal is put to sleep! 
Anyway back to our visit, after Oreo's routine check-up (Yes, Cara had picked up Oreo on the way to the shelter) we got into our air-conditioned car and I returned to my conditioned thoughts about what we as individuals could do to make a difference. Could I give time with such a fast paced lifestyle of mine? Believe you me it is indeed a tough exercise to think beyond ‘me’, ‘myself’. A droplet of sweat trickled down my brow as our car weaved its way through the choc-a-bloc evening traffic of the Delhi roads.

Mrs. Bhagirathy

Page 1   Page 2  Page 3    Page 4   Page 5   Page 6   Back