Compassion At Work: This Kolkata Team Is Independently Working To Give Stray Dogs A Healthy Life
Sumanti Sen West Bengal
January 17th, 2019 / 4:28 PM
At a time when Kolkata is witnessing widespread protests against atrocities towards dogs, a group of people in a small area of North Kolkata are spreading positivity by helping these animals lead a peaceful life. These people are not registered with any NGO. They get nothing in return for what they do. Their effort to do something good for stray dogs comes only from their love for these animals.
Tapashi Dey, Ronita Banerjee, Snigdha Chakraborty, Mahua Dutta and Santanu Dey are the five people who have formed an independent organization called ‘Angels in Ruff’ and are working day in and day out for the welfare of stray dogs. From feeding over hundred dogs to vaccinating them all, from providing medical treatment to the ill ones to finding them happy homes, these people are truly setting an example.
Feeding and vaccinating
“We ensure that none of the dogs in our locality sleep with their stomachs empty. We are not registered with an NGO and we do not do any of this expecting a return. We do it because we love doing it and because these dogs are no less than our children,” Ronita said in conversation with The Logical Indian.
For more than 100 dogs, these people prepare the food at their homes. All of them are dog lovers and happened to meet each other at some occasion or the other. Before they had met, they individually did what they could for strays, but being a team now, they have found more strength to engage in their work.
“From just four or five dogs, we started feeding 10 and then 20. Today, we cater to more than 100 dogs. I work in an office from 10 AM to 7 PM, following which I continuously go around feeding, vaccinating, medicating dogs in the locality. My schedule is hectic, but I enjoy my work,” Ronita said.
At Snigdha’s father’s house, she has created an enclosure where she keeps dogs which are sick and tend to them until they get better. Post that, they find happy homes for them and get them adopted. She calls the dogs her ‘babies’.
“When you go around feeding so many dogs every day, it is only natural that you come across several of them with wounds with cuts. They live on the streets, fight with each other and often get deep cuts. We are constantly dressing the wounds. We all have work at home or office, but we have become so passionate about our work that nothing matters now,” said Snigdha in conversation with The Logical Indian.
The group has several stories of rescue and adoption. Mani, a puppy, was found badly injured and fighting for her life when they found her in the corner of a street. She was rescued, given the best medication, and today, she has found a loving, caring home.
“On many occasions, we have lost our babies. There have been instances when we could not help them, but we have always done enough. We have always put in all the effort we could gather,” said Mahua.
Tapashi, who is a maths tutor, said while talking to The Logical Indian, “Initially, when I began accompanying the doctors who help our group, I could not tolerate all the blood and wounds. They would make me sick in the stomach. But in those moments, the utmost urge to do something to stop their pain overpowers the sickness. Today, I am much stronger. I help in stitching wounds and medicating the dogs on a regular basis.”
Doctors Raya Sarkar and Shashank Tripathi assist in the treatment. They have been a constant support to the group. Nilu, a pup who is a bundle of joy, suffered a horrific wound which was caused most probably by someone in the locality who was irritated by his presence.
“We do not know how it happened, but we suspect someone tried to hurt him. He would have died, but we stayed up entire nights dressing his wound and staying with him until he slept. All our efforts bore fruit. Today, he is healthy and as fresh as a lily,” Tapashi said.
Where does the money come from?
Not being registered with an NGO, the group gets no funds. All the money that goes into the food and treatment is raised by the group themselves. Some neighbours help; one of them, Sarbani Sen, sponsors the medicines every month.
“Working for a good cause, we raise the money on our own. We spend such a lot of money on clothes and at restaurants, why not do something for the ones who really need it? Most of our hard earned money goes into the treatment and food for the dogs, but I believe we could not have utilised it any better,” Mahua said.
No matter how hard they try, there is undoubtedly a limitation when it comes to funds. There is practically nobody to help them.
“That is the reason we are restricted to a comparatively smaller area. We want to extend our help to animals living beyond the area we cater to, but for that, we would need more help. In the end, we are just a team of five people,” Ronita siad.
Santanu, however, had something different to say. “Yes, as a group we are small and do not have enough money to cater to larger areas. But individually, I help dogs in every area of Kolkata. I do not do anything else. 24 hours of my day go into helping these helpless creatures. I just wait for a call from any part of the city, and I run to them,” he said.
Under the supervision of Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC), several street dogs are sterilized. This group, however, has connections with an NGO, members of which actually take personal care to sterilize the dogs.
“I have myself been a part of the sterilization process, and they take care of the dogs as if they were their children. In the hands of other organizations, we somehow do not feel safe enough. Till today, all the dogs this NGO has sterilized have come back fit as a fiddle,” said Anushua Laha, who has been of great help to the group until she began a job at Wipro, where she often has to work overnight and hence does not get time to help the group much these days.
“There is a lot of debate on sterilization. I have faced a lot criticism with people saying it is inhuman, that it harms the normal sexual life of an animal, and yet the same people complain about dogs overpopulating. My question to them is, what do you do then? If you want to control the population and yet do not support sterilization, do you think what happened at NRS is justified? It is important that we control their population, the major reason being the abuse they have to suffer in the hands of cruel people. If there is overpopulation, will everyone come forward and feed, vaccinate and treat them? They will die anyway. You may not be a dog lover, but at least don’t harm them,” Tapashi said.
Tapashi herself had adopted several strays, only one of who are living now. Jumpu is Tapashi’s child and best friend.
Tapashi has one more request to all. “If you want to keep a pet, adopt strays instead of obsessing over expensive breeds. Strays need good homes and caring parents. I have always felt that their eyes speak and I have a strange connection with them,” she said.
Mahua says that while walking back home one day, she saw an injured puppy and called others to help it. That was the beginning of her journey. She realized that there so many other dogs suffering like the pup, and nobody does anything to help them. From then onwards, with the group’s help, every dog in the locality is happy. With the effort of a small team who have no material gain in return for their work, several strays in a particular locality are living a healthy life. While at one hand there are criminals hurting the animals, on the other it is Angels in Ruff, working day and night for their welfare. The Logical Indian salutes the team for their effort, selfless nature and for making us believe that there is no dearth of good people in the world.
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Written by : Sumanti Sen
Edited by : Poorbita Bagchi