“May I be allowed to bring to the kind notice of the RWA Executive Committee, that the black dog who sleeps at that gate of the park which is used for going to the RWA office, has got a big cut below his right eye. He is in pain, and is shivering. The Dog Committee may be requested to get him treated by a veterinary doctor.”

When this WhatsApp message, sent by a concerned resident of our colony, was forwarded to the convener of the RWA Dog Management Committee, my neighbour and I had already been contemplating for two days how we could catch this particular community dog. He is called “Blacky” or “Kaalu” – for obvious reasons. Blacky is one of the last two (male) dogs whom we were not able to catch for sterilisation or vaccination in the past years. And now he also has an ugly injury under his eye that needed urgent medical attention (step 3 and 4 of Stray Buddy’s approach – sterilise, vaccinate and give medical care).

Fortunately, the same neighbour is an active member of our dog group and in the past months she had slowly befriended weary Blacky (and many other strays). Together with her respected mother, she feeds more than half of the stray dog population in our colony at designated feeding areas (step 2 – responsible feeding). And although she is not very much appreciated by some of our residents for this act of kindness – to say it gently – her friendship with the community dogs comes in very handy when needed. She managed to get Blacky inside the porch of her flat this morning and arranged that he would be medically treated at Krishna Ashram (NGO).

She called me and we calmly put a collar and leash on him. Despite his struggling for freedom (oh so scared but not aggressive at all), I managed to pick him up gently. With the help from my driver – who has become a skilled stray dog rescue assistant – I put Blacky inside my private car. We took him to Krishna Ashram and got him admitted. It may take a week or two before we see him back in our colony. We will be healed, sterilised and fully vaccinated, so we can update our community dog records accordingly (step 1 – identify community dogs and maintain records).

Members of the dog group complimented us for our efforts, but personally, I simply believe it is our duty to take care of all creatures, if we want to coexist peacefully with nature and the living beings in our (urban) environment. We will receive kindness and community service (pest control, guarding and more) from the dogs in return. They work like a mirror reflecting our own attitudes and behaviour towards them.

Krishna Ashram applies a “gentle-approach” to the dogs in their shelter. In the past years, I had several dogs from Hauz Rani City Forest sterilised by this NGO. They all came back happy, well-fed and with less anxiety issues, instead they rather attained faith in people in general. Today the vet at this NGO proudly told me that “of 500 dogs in our shelter, we can easily approach and handle 498. Only 1-2 dogs are showing what people call aggressive behaviour. Even several dogs who came to us with aggression issues are not showing any aggressive behaviour towards our staff here.”

To me, this is again proof that the so-called stray dog-“menace” in our society is largely a man-made problem. The solution is therefore also largely in the hands of those who are showing hostility or cruelty towards these creatures. But… how to get this across in an effective way without them calling the messenger “aggressive”; that is a one-million dollar question (step 5 – raise awareness and change behaviours)! 🤑


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