DAY FIVE OF THE LOCKDOWN: 29th March 2020
By Kulsum Mustafa & Uzma Haider
Inspirational Indian: Our hero number five is actually also hero number six –a couple, who have been buddies for the stray animals in the city for over two decades now. Engineer, Saumiya and banker Abhishek Srivastava are part of a dedicated chain of volunteers who have not let the lockdown come in their way of reaching out to their furry friends. They continue to provide them with food, shelter and healthcare, as they did during the normal days.
Lockdown for you may just mean being caged into your homes but for street animals, especially for the 30,000 plus stray dogs in the city, the race for survival of the fittest has already begun.
As most of us are making the best of our quarantine to fight against the coronavirus by engaging in different indoor activities there is this young couple Saumiya and her husband Abhishek, ( both in their early 30’s) who continue to honour the pledge they took as school pals, to help animals in distress. In the darkness of hours for the humans, this couple and the chain of volunteers are working day and night running around in every nook and corner of the city to not only feed the street animals and provide the best of medical aid but also investing their time in pampering and consoling these animals that everything is alright. Available on phone to attend to SOS calls for these voiceless creatures has been their routine for the past two decades. But they are taking extra steps during this time.
“Dogs are very sensible and extremely sensitive creatures and with all the kiosks, dhabas and restaurants shut, with hardly any human beings on the streets these dogs are not only hungry but worried too” explained Saumiya.
Before the lockdown, Saumiya would carry in her car the pedigree dry food packets and on her return from office would feed them. She covered 33 dogs near her home in Indira Nagar locality. Today, the couple feeds 100 plus dogs per day. The quantity of feed per dog has also doubled as they no longer get the leftovers from the nearby restaurants and dhabas as they are closed down during lockdown.
HEALTHY STRAYS A BENEFIT TO HUMANS
Health of the street dogs at this crucial hour Abhishek said is an important issue. He said, “Apart from starvation we are also concerned about their all over health as this is the time that dogs get viral infections and hence we are trying our best to give multivitamins to boost their immunity”. He informed that out of the 30,000 plus stray dogs in the city, around 20, 000 are covered by the regular volunteer who visits them and feeds them in their areas. He advised not to let any dog in your area starve because the death of street animals can create health issues. He also appeals that residents keep a utensil of freshwater outside their houses to prevent animal deaths due to dehydration. Abhishek shared with us the picture of a lady who has only today on his request kept a cement bowl outside her house.
Voice of the voiceless Saumiya & Abhishek is on a mission that needs to be applauded.
Tips for care of your domestic pet during lockdown
DO NOT ABANDON YOUR PETS
*Bathe your dogs at regular intervals.
*Give them adequate multivitamins.
*Keep changing their drinking water.
* Ensure fresh food.
*Try to use your terrace/lawn instead of taking them for long walks.
* Even if you have to take them out once a day back spray a disinfectant on their paws generously.
* Ensure that they get adequate water.