Friday, March 2, 2012

Animals & More - A Success Story!


Every year, in addition to various other activities and programmes, the Blue Cross Society of Pune celebrates the National Animal Welfare Fortnight with various activities and events to create awareness about animals among citizens of Pune.

In January 2010, the Blue Cross Society of Pune organized the first ever large-scale adoption camp in the city for mixed breed stray puppies. This received an overwhelming response and 68 puppies found loving homes. Subsequently, the Blue Cross has organized 6 more adoption camps for mixed breed puppies, adult dogs and kittens. The procedures for pre-adoption counseling, health check up for the pups and kittens and follow-up for ensuring that the adopted animals are properly taken care of have been formulated in an SOP. Several other animal lovers have also started organizing similar events.

In January 2011, the Blue Cross Society of Pune organized a rally through some parts of the city. Other animal welfare organizations were invited to join. Volunteers carried banners about kindness to animals. The rally ended with a meeting to discuss ways of pooling in resources to reach out to more animals. The direct outcome of this meeting was the formation of an internet group called PALs (Pune Animal Lovers).

This year, on Sunday, 22nd January 2012, the Blue Cross Society organized a ‘mela’ at its Sunanda Das Memorial Animal Hospital and Shelter at Keshavnagar , with a wide range of  activities and educational as well as entertaining events for young and old. In spite of the hospital being located at a distance from the main city and the approach road being full of sharp stones, over 250 people attended the Mela between 10.00 a.m. and 4.00 p.m.

Puppy Adoption
The trademark Adoption Camp was the first enclosure. Tables were set up for the health check up by the vets, volunteers were busy registering the animals, ensuring that they were in the shade and given water and walked at regular intervals. Animal lovers who had lovingly fostered the stray or orphaned animals for several weeks, waited for prospective adopters.

Pug all suited up!

The main attraction turned out to be ‘Paws on the ramp’, a fancy dress competition for dogs. 10 dogs participated in the show and each one seemed to enjoy the attention they got. Owners had created imaginative costumes: Red Riding Hood, a ballet dancer, an I-Pug, and even a pug dressed as businessman! The event, compèred by young volunteers, was a great success. The winners were given gift vouchers by Eukanuba Dog Food.

Under the trees, along the avenue leading up to the hospital, there were a number of stalls such as 
  • Pet grooming by Fine Furs of Petsworld
  • Sale of pet accessoriesSale of bakery products made specially by the Spoilt Brat Barkery.
  • Temporary Animal Tattoos and Face Painting by Doodle Factory was a great hit with children.
  • Sale of cloth bags and other merchandise.
  • Sale of second hand books donated by well-wishers.
  • A food court where delicious vegetarian momos and sandwiches by Eatmosphere, pro-biotic ice cream from Amul and iced tea were on sale.

Temp Tattoos by Doodle Factory
Goodies by Spoilt Brat Barkery
Visitors were given a tour of the Hospital premises by volunteers. They visited the horse stables, the cow shed and the donkey shed, the cages with sick of recuperating dogs, the kennels for abandoned or rescued dogs, the Out Patient Department and the 2 operation theaters.

The walls and pillars inside the Hospital had been beautifully decorated with paintings of animals in vibrant colours by students from FAD, a school of art and design. Soft boards which lined the walls of the rooms were full of newspaper cuttings and  photographs  of Blue Cross activities as well as graphs and charts showing the figures of OPD, surgery and ABC operations done by us.

Wall Art by the kids
School Children attending a session
A pandol had been set up in the quadrangle where about 150 children  from 2 schools : Aman Setu and Erin Nagarwala Schools were shown an audiovisual presentation by Intervet about rabies and other animal related issues. At the end of the interactive session, the children took a pledge, promising to avoid cruelty and suffering to animals and taking small steps to help all living creatures. The chairman of the Blue Cross society administered the pledge and presented certificates to each student.

In the afternoon, there was a 2 hour First Aid Workshop organized at the Hospital. ResQ Charitable Trust was invited to conduct the workshop. We hope to build up a network of trained volunteers who will be able to respond immediately to rescue calls.

Dog Obedience Training
A Dog Handling and Dog Obedience workshop was conducted by Petsitters. They also offered counseling tips to pet owners.

The event was widely publicized for two days by Radio Mirchi and televised by two channels. Several newspapers carried pre-event and post-event write-ups.

Ever since the event , citizens and especially schools are calling up to ask whether more first aid workshops are planned. It appears that the primary objective of the event, namely, creating awareness about animals, seems to have been achieved. We acknowledge with gratitude the unstinting efforts and excellent team spirit of our workers, staff, vets, trustees, well wishers and our band of about thirty volunteers ranging from age 12 to 85.

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