Posted on September 17, 2015: Every dog deserves a loving home. Our very own Indian (Indie or desi) dogs, however, have the least takers. These canines, end up roaming the streets, scavenging from the garbage, with no shelter during scorching summer days, wintry climes or when it pours. They are easy targets for animal abuse. They suffer and die alone when ill.
Animal activists are untiringly trying to motivate Indian citizens to adopt a stray Indie dog instead of buying an expensive foreign breed dog. With this objective, Himalaya Animal Health, the veterinary medicine wing of the pharmaceutical company, has collaborated with Compassion Unlimited Plus Action (CUPA), a charitable trust for animals based in Bangalore, to sensitize people towards the adoption of stray dogs. Its ‘Build a Bond’ campaign is an attempt to raise awareness about the work done by CUPA and get people involved.
Dr. Ritesh Sood, Product Manager of Himalaya Animal Health, tells us more, “On an average, there are close to 10 dogs CUPA rescues every month. This is just one organisations working relentlessly in one city, Bangalore. Imagine the scale of the problem if we put together all the animal welfare organisations rescuing homeless, abandoned and injured animals in the country! Our campaign, ‘Build a Bond’, which we launched last year was just a start. We all have to collectively address the issue.”
“We started the campaign with a video to get the conversation going. On our Facebook page, we launched an app where we asked citizens to take a pledge for the adoption of pets. For every pledge taken, Himalaya committed to donating one rupee to CUPA. The engagement has largely been digitally driven through videos, apps, posts which talk about the adopted dogs,” he explains, “The app received a decent response though we expected much better participation. This was also a learning for us. In our country, animal health/welfare is seen as a poor cousin to human health. Campaigns like ours are long-term initiatives through which we hope to sensitize people towards animal welfare. Today, we can add our voice to a growing group of experts and advocates in the field and give momentum to various causes. By partnering with animal welfare organizations, animal lovers, influencers in print and social media, we hope to spread the word and bring these issues to the forefront.”
Bias against strays
Many are unfortunately hesitant to adopt stray Indian dogs. They are sadly perceived as dirty and not pretty enough. Dr. Sood opines, “The stigma around adoption of Indie dogs and cats is unfortunate. In reality, Indie dogs are extremely strong, hardy, agile and intelligent. However, there is a lack of information available in the public domain, which makes most people think otherwise about Indie dogs and cats. Also, a pet should not be seen as a ‘status symbol’. One should bring home a pet – be it a pedigree or Indie – only because the pet parent wants to give the pet a loving home.”
Dr. Sood feels that though the campaign has started off well, it could have even been better, “The campaign was our way of starting a conversation around animal welfare in India. These campaigns are long-term; the change wouldn’t happen overnight. ‘Build a Bond’ struck the right chord with animal lovers, pet parents, animal advocates, but there is still a long way to go.”
When quizzed about the current status and future plans of the programme, Dr.Sood answers, “We are continuing with the adoption programme. Also, this year, we have sponsored CUPA’s ambulance. The ambulance runs an average of 1200 kms in the city, helping with abandoned, injured animals.”
Here’s wishing the Build a Bond campaign a lifetime achievement-level of success!
Photograph and video courtesy Himalaya Animal Health.
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