Street life for animals anywhere is hard, but in India it is exceptionally so. The infamous modus operandi of Indian motorists is based in fact, and stray animals on the road frequently bear the consequences of too many cars and people in too little space. Animal cruelty is not unheard of anywhere in the world – even the most modern of American cities have incidences; India is much less well-organized in terms of prevention and consequences. Despite the sprawling bureaucracy of Kerala’s government, there is no sole agency dedicated to the safety and well-being of urban animals. As such, the responsibility falls to warm-hearted citizens, either by adopting stray animals or taking them to a shelter.
As someone who grew up with both cats and dogs, I have a deep and abiding love for friendly animals. Unfortunately, urbanites in India are usually either afraid or otherwise disturbed by strays – few are given even simple degrees of care, such as leftovers from the dinner table, or a pat on the back. Dogs without love are like birds without wings; they still exist, and can survive, but they might
live a sort of half-existence. Volunteering at a shelter can be as simple as spending time with the animals and interacting with them, only to give them love and affection. More active volunteers may feed or bathe the animals, and in times of need, help restrain or take an injured animal to a hospital for treatment. There will always be more stray animals to rescue – it is my hope that the number of people who care grows to match.
In Forth Kochi, Kerala, Mad Dogs’ Trust is an NPO founded only four years back, yet despite its youth, MDT has made a significant difference in countless lives, 2-legged and 4-legged alike. In addition to collecting injured and orphaned animals, the organization employs humane sterilization methods to control street animal populations, saving unhappy citizens the trouble of dealing with them. The population control is at least partially funded by the government – it’s good to know someone in a high place is thinking ahead.