Muffin entered my life 11 years ago. Ever since she did so, it's had a huge impact on my life. I believe that Muffin became my driving force behind establishing The Stray Project.
From my school days, I have been fascinated by nature and the animal world. Initially, I would be intimidated by dogs. I wasn't threatened by them, but perhaps had so much excitement that I wouldn't know how to approach one. It was my friends, Hemant and Sneha, who changed my mind about adopting a puppy.
Sneha planned to present Hemant a puppy on his birthday. But she didn't know that coincidently, Hemant had already found one for himself. Amidst this confusion, the extra puppy was handed over to me. And this is just about how this selfless soul landed into my life.
Muffin was just 11 days old when I adopted her. She was so tiny, literally the size of my palm. Convincing my parents to keep her was a huge obstacle. However, after expressing to my father that no one else would rescue Muffin, he agreed to adopt her, on the condition that I had to provide for the dog.
Ever since, Muffin accompanied me to my office, my meetings, parks and pretty much everywhere! From my experience, I've learnt that raising any animal is not just taking care of it. The dog becomes an inseparable part of your life, like your own child.
When I lost Muffin a few weeks ago, it really felt like I lost a part of myself. Yet Muffin endured all of this for me to start a drive to help the strays, to start The Stray Project. My journey with Muffin has constantly raised my social conscience. My connection not just with my dog, but compassion towards all other stray animals has grown. In our everyday lives, we think about impacting their lives, yet are never able to do anything significant. To change this notion, I decided to take this project on.
There is a lot of misconceptions that dogs are scary. 'If you hit a dog, it will avenge you.' But instead, it will still lick your palms as if nothing happened! Not just this, dogs teach empathy, and each one of the million strays plays a critical role as a natural decomposer of our ecosystem. Our habit of rapacious consumerism has pushed them to become scavengers, who consume domestic waste littered by humans.
If we don't take responsibility to treat them right, no one else will.
Our focus with The Stray Project is to bring on-ground feeders and the online animal-loving community together. Our aim is to unite the ones who care for animals, execute feeding drives, shelter them, treat them medically, initiate adoptions and rehome them. With the ones who love strays and want to help them, but do not have the resources or time to do so. The Stray project is that platform which will bring a wave of change in the stray community.
We often hear incidents of dogs just disappearing, being abused and dying of starvation. The recent Covid-19 lockdown too has made us realise the extent of their suffering. While we shouldn't need a lockdown to realise we need to take care of street animals, I've come to learn that the community of animal feeders are facing an array of challenges in reaching out to these animals. Our organised efforts will stop the spread of misconceptions about stray dogs.
Please support our cause on Efforts For Good.