Posted on August 3, 2015: “Hi, I am an Alsatian, I once lived at a home with a mom, dad and a few kids. Trust me, I loved them with all my heart and I thought they loved me too. Whenever they’d come home I’d greet them with lots of sniffs and licks. And once they would go around doing their household chores, I’d sit in a corner and look at them with doting eyes. My life revolved around them and so did theirs. Sigh! Or so I thought. Till one day, I developed a skin disease. Suddenly all the affection was gone. Even though my love for them remained the same, they left me at a place from where I could never find my way back home…
My world had come crashing down, after all what had I done? All my life I showered my family with love and affection and utmost loyalty!
Like a silver lining in the cloud, someone kind hearted took me to a place, where there were lot of fur buddies like me. The humans here dote on me and I have a lot friends as well. I am a happy soul now because I get to run, play, eat tasty food and love my fur buddies. And yes, the humans who come down to visit me quite often!”
If dogs could speak, this little Alsatian at India’s first shelter for disabled and diseased animals would tell you the exact story. This is a true story of a dog who was left on the street by the owners because of a skin disease. He was lucky to be brought in to the shelter by passers-by and he is living here happily since.
The shelter is owned and operated by the animal welfare organisation People for Animals in Ahmedabad. What makes this shelter so special is that it is made specifically for disabled dogs. This kind thought came to the mind of Mahendra Shrimali, an animal lover and resident of Ahmedabad, after considering the plight of dogs who are rendered disabled due to accidents or atrocities by humans like pelting of stones etc. This shelter for the disabled dogs is one of its kind in our country.
It is very sad to see the plight of street dogs. You can find some of them limping or some of them injured after a brawl or some of them suffering with skin diseases. While not many care about the street dogs, seeing the condition of these disabled dogs repels them even more. For no fault of theirs these dogs are detested by the world. In such a light, PFA has made a very heart-warming effort for these furry champs. It is not that they keep the dogs only till they are healed, they let them make the little area their home for their lifetime. To help Mahendra out with his noble cause, farmer Ramesh Patel donated 1 bigha of his land to PFA for this shelter.
Because of the utmost care and love that these dogs receive from their other friends and the humans who come to visit them, you will find they are very friendly, jovial and playful. The moment you enter the premises you can feel a gush of happiness and positivity courtesy these happy, well-taken-care of dogs.
If you happen to visit this shelter, please do meet Gudiya. Gudiya has over the period of time become the unofficial mascot of this shelter. An adorable dog, she was once hit by a train. As you can very well imagine the impact of it, she suffered multiple fractures and amputations. The shelter rescued her from the spot and worked on healing her. You will find this brave heart now running and playing with her buddies. An adorable dog, you must be prepared to pet her because she absolutely loves that!
It wrenches the heart to see how heartless some pet owners can be. The problem lying in the fact that they don’t treat their fur buddies like family members. It is surprising how some of them get dogs as a part of social status or because their human child makes unreasonable demands. What they tend to ignore is the fact that are must be equipped to take care of the dog for a life time? Take for example, the case of a sprightly Daschund that you’d meet at the shelter. Today, he is a happy dog thanks to PFA, but you’d find yourself in tears if you knew his past. This little dog, with the most beautiful eyes, was bitten by a street dog. Unfortunately, because of that his hind limbs lost their strength and he has been unable to use them since. It is very disheartening to know that the owner, instead of taking this little dog to the vet, left him at the doorsteps of the shelter!
There are many heart-warming tales of these dogs that you will get to know when you visit this place. What will amaze you is the grit that these dogs have and how they have survived the toughest of ordeals of life.
While you will see many adoption centres and care houses, this shelter for the disabled dogs is one of its kind. A man has to have a real dog soul and the heart of a human to open a home for these dogs. Today, Mahendra has a team of care takers, doctors and volunteers who take care of the 25 dogs that are present at the shelter. The team is equally passionate towards caring of these dogs. The team of doctors led by Dr. Tina Giri, conduct most of the surgeries for free.
The shelter has grown to house five enclosures. These are the spaces where the injured dogs are treated and housed during recovery. With time they heal and stay on forever. The monthly expense for operating the shelter comes out to about Rs 35, 000. While we are busy with our lives, how about taking out some time for these little dogs? You could volunteer or contribute in your own little way towards the shelter. You can write at email@example.com to be a part of this humanitarian effort to care for dogs!
For more information, log on to www.peopleforanimalsindia.org. Images property of and courtesy People For Animals India