As the lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic has bound all our activities to our indoors, there are some poor lives outside who too are suffering in their own ways. With nobody to feed them, many of these animals might simply starve to death. Amid the crisis, Sangitaa Sehgall, a Vizag-based animal lover shares how feeding and taking care of stray dogs helped her heal herself, during the lockdown.
“I have always loved animals. All those who know me, know this about me. I am devastated that so many strays, especially dogs, are hungry and thirsty and without a safe home and loving humans around them. Not only that, but they are also living in a constant life threat. How traumatic could this be? One can imagine this only when one does not differentiate between different living beings.
I’d prayed to God to show me a way to serve more than a few animals that I had already taken up total responsibility for. Then lockdown was announced. And I lost Simba, my 13-year-old Labrador, who had come to me as a 6-week old pup. He was no lesser than a son for my husband and I. We were devastated by the loss.
We were soon shown the perfect way to blunt the sharp pain of the passing away of our baby. We began to feed dogs who we knew would be confused, hungry, and thirsty. We started by feeding all the dogs on the RK Beach road in Vizag. Soon after, our inability to look away when we saw more and more hungry dogs, increased the number of dogs we were feeding. Every day, we now feed around 150 dogs, along the stretch of Kirlampudi Layout – YMCA – RK Beach road – Circuit House, Harbour Road, and Andhra University Campus – Park Hotel in Vizag.
We started by feeding them biscuits. Now we provide them with rice and chicken/boiled eggs. We top it up with as many cartons of biscuits as needed for these four-legged beings to have a stomach full once in a day. We have also placed big concrete bowls for the animals in many of the areas. These bowls will be regularly cleaned and filled with water. Feeding these stray dogs has helped my husband and me, to heal from the loss of our pet.
I wish to see the day when residents of a lane take up all the responsibility for at least 4 to 6 dogs in the area. In our locality, there are 13 flats, 3 independent bungalows, and two stray dogs. How much would each person have to contribute for the dogs to be fed? If we also keep a big bowl of water outside our house for the strays to have, we could have healthy, neutered dogs around our houses.
Talking about neutering, if the dogs in our lane/road trust us, which they will if we treat them with compassion, it would be very easy for us to catch them, or help the municipal corporation to do the needful. If we are the ones who are facing the ‘problem’ of ‘too many stray dogs around’ shouldn’t we take this up ourselves?”