The pandemic has literally spun our plans and lives into a mere waiting list to get on with our hopes all over again. We have been confined to staying inside and taking the best safety measures to prevent the novel virus from messing with our immunity.
Amid all these unwanted changes, the helpless stray dogs are as much affected. Spotting dogs in any neighbourhood in India, across all localities, is very common. In fact, they become known to us and we knowingly or unknowingly share a warm bond. When the puppies are born they become playmates of the kids and teens. In such trying times, the dogs have been left all by themselves to figure out ways of fetching food and looking for shelter. Few people who have tried to help the strays have often faced rebuke from the community. There are ample videos on various platforms. The idea comes down to the fact that during the pandemic, providing sanctuaries to the strays has become a little more challenging than usual.
This lockdown came with a lot of wisdom and reflections for us. It calls for a plan that would ease the process. Here are some steps that might help:
1. If you care for the dogs in your neighbourhood, you should be aware of all the dogs and be able to identify each one of them. Keep a close eye on the count and build a temporary shelter for the dogs, preferably somewhere isolated. This will let the dogs secure themselves and also keep them away from the neighbours who are not really dog-friendly!
2. There is no harm in boiling a little more rice, lentils, or keeping aside chunks of meat and bones for your furry friends. We usually spend so much on our impulsive food orders. This should be an immediate step right after providing them shelter. Not to forget, providing water to drink should be a constant reminder.
3. Pregnant and nursing dogs and puppies are the ones who are more vulnerable than the rest of the pack. This should be the next concern where we can figure out extra care for them. A personal tip: puppies eat what their mothers do. Keep a bigger bowl aside and take liquids and paste-like food in the same bowl. This will not only keep the tummies tight for the moms but also for the babies.
4. Make a WhatsApp group with your friends in the locality to divide the responsibilities. That way you not only maintain social distancing and physical distancing for each other but also do not deprive the strays. Be an inspiration!
5. Get in touch with online communities. Upload pictures of the dogs and look for genuine shelters and people who would like to adopt. Connect with various forums and to encourage people to adopt street dogs instead of buying expensive breeds. Make the best use of social media.
Moving on from the personal touches, we need to find an absolute way to let them have a better life. The easiest ways to help the street dogs during the pandemic are:
- Foster a furry friend while you work from home. It’s amazing to have a buddy by your side.
- Keep water and make extra chapatis to feed them.
- If you can’t go out and rescue yourself, the least you can do is donate and spread awareness about the animal sanctuaries and rescue shelters. Participate in projects to donate animal supplies.
- If you find a hurt dog, do not ignore him and let him die, contact your nearest NGO/Pet ambulance. Letitwag.in is doing great service in the field.
- Be vocal for local petitions to save the strays.
Keeping in mind all these points, if these steps and ways are harmoniously adopted, we will only prove to be better human beings. If lockdown hasn’t made you kinder, let us start today!