Restrictions hurt street dogs too

Healthy stray is in human interest, animal activist couple tells Kulsum Mustafa

The animals, especially the stray dogs, never had it so bad. The national lockdown imposed in India from March 25th for 21 days has changed their entire life. While these voiceless creatures are confused as to why there are no humans on the once crowded roads the closure of the roadside kiosk, restaurants which provided them with leftover food is also keeping them hungry. In a few days from now this will lead to starvation death and disease.

Lockdown for humans may just mean being caged inside our homes but for street animals, especially for the 70, 000 plus (unofficial figure) stray dogs in the city, the race for survival of the fittest has already begun.

“Dogs are both sensible and sensitive, human contacts matter to them, During the long lockdown period, these stray are at a loss, they are disturbed as they cannot comprehend what has suddenly happened. This is a very alarming situation, and must not be ignored” warn Saumya. She, an engineer and along with her banker husband Abhishek Srivastava, are known as ‘stray buddies’ in Lucknow, This couple, in their early thirties, has been looking after stray animals since the past 20 years. Childhood friends, they married nine years back,

“It was the love of helpless stray that brought us together and holds us strongly today,” says Saumya. They continue to honour the pledged they took as school pals, to help animals in distress.

In the darkest of hours for the humans, this couple and the chain of volunteers are working day and night running around in every nook and corner of the city to not only feed the street animals and provide the best of medical aid but also investing their time in pampering and consoling these animals that everything is alright, normalcy will return soon, they should not fret.

According to Abhishek besides starvation, this is the time when dogs get viral infections and hence they are trying our best to give multivitamins to boost their immunity”. Lucknow has a huge army of animal activists and they have an informal group. He informed that nearly 80 per cent of the stray dogs are covered by the regular volunteer who visits them and feeds them in their areas.

Earlier the couple cover 33 dogs and gave them just a handful of pedigree but after the lockdown they now they take care of around 100 dogs. They are hungry as they have no other source of food so we have to give them double the food.

“We appeal to all people, even those who have till now never done so to ensure that stray animals in their and given water during the lockout period, “ says Abhishek.

He also appeals that residents keep utensils of freshwater outside their houses to prevent animal deaths due to dehydration. Abhishek shared with us the picture of a lady who has only today on her request kept a cement bowl outside her house.

Available on phone to attend to SOS calls for these voiceless creatures has been their routine as they have been doing for the past two decades. Soumya, Abhishek and many like them are on a mission. Their relentless strive to come to the rescue of the helpless stray is laudable and must be acknowledged.