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Strays get street smart

Published : Oct 28, 2016, 10:46 pm IST
Updated : Oct 28, 2016, 10:46 pm IST

Animal lovers in the city are tagging their furry friends to ensure that they can find their way back home if lost in the Diwali ruckus


Animal lovers in the city are tagging their furry friends to ensure that they can find their way back home if lost in the Diwali ruckus

While Mumbai-kars gear up for Diwali with sweets, diyas and fireworks, the canine community bears the brunt of the celebrations. So, this Diwali, animal lovers in the city have come up with a few ways to make life a little easier for their furry friends.

One of the biggest problems that dogs face during Diwali is displacement. Since the noise from the firecrackers frighten and confuse them, dogs tend to wander outside their own territories. To ensure that the dogs are returned to their original location, two animal welfare organisations, Welfare of Street Dogs and Animals Matter to Me have initiated a tagging drive for dogs.

“Animal lovers from across the city are going to be tagging dogs with collars that have the person’s name and contact number on it,” explains Dipesh, who is a volunteer at Welfare of Stray Dogs, adding that anyone can contact the caretaker once they take a look at the collar. “Dogs are territorial creatures; when one dog wanders into another dog’s territory, it is likely get attacked,” he adds.

Chief executive officer of Welfare of Stray Dogs, Abodh Aras, recalls how such a tagging drive, though done on a smaller scale, helped his volunteers locate dogs last year. “We tagged several dogs in Nariman point and Marine Drive last year and one of them got lost, and somehow strayed all the way to Borivali. Someone from there called up our volunteer thanks to the tag and we were able to get him back,” he says.

Diwali is a time for Abodh and his team to be on high alert, because this is the time when he gets the most distress calls. “We have trained volunteers and animal nurses doing rounds and encourage people to call us if they find animals in distress somewhere,” he says.

Founder of ‘Animals Matter to Me’, Ganesh Nayak, and his team will also be tagging dogs in the Malad-Marve area. “We will also be tagging dogs, cows and horses with radium collars around their necks and horns that glow in the dark, since there are a lot of instances of road accidents and careless driving during this time,” adds Ganesh.

Diwali is not just a time of fear for man’s four legged companions, though. Ganesh says that he also gets a lot of people coming in with gifts for his furry friends at the shelter.

“We get a lot of visitors coming in during this time, who donate money, treats and medicine for the animals at the shelter instead of burning their money on fireworks,” he signs off.