Imagine growing up thinking that an animal bleeding to death without aid or care on the side of the road after being hit by a car is just a fact of life. That there’s nothing you can do about it. If you’ve spent most your life thinking animal suffering is just how it is, and that there’s nothing you can do to help, it’s human nature to eventually become desensitized, often to the point of not even noticing the presence of a suffering animal even when she’s right in front of you.
How can we ever hope for attention to be given to animals suffering in factory farms and laboratories if the needs of animals right outside our homes are ignored?
Time and time again people calling in on our emergency helpline to report a suffering animal share that it was only after they had our help-line number saved in their mobile phone that they began seeing animals in distress.
The impact that knowing there is a number you can call and trained people who want to help on a community is nothing short of phenomenal. Where before an animal crying out in pain was likely to be ignored, she now has one, two, maybe a whole group of people standing by her waiting for Animal Aid’s ambulance to arrive. After she’s been rescued people are calling back to hear if she’s doing better, and when will she be returned. Many are even going to visit her while she’s at Animal Aid, where after meeting her they get a tour of the shelter and enjoy the sanctuary.
We give presentations in schools, religious and community groups, do leafleting in malls and public places to first and foremost ensure that the maximum number of people in Udaipur city have our number and know that we are waiting for them to call to save an animal’s life.
Usually, when someone calls us once, they call us again for another animal in need, and their involvement in animal protection increases manifold.
Basic knowledge needs to be imparted too. For instance, many people believe that the skin disease mange (where dogs lose their fur and constantly scratch) is untreatable and that the dog has “gone mad.” It’s also believed that mange spreads easily to humans and that any proximity could lead to infection, and so dogs with mange are often chased away from their own homes on the street, making it difficult for them to find food and fend for themselves. We see the result of this in the shy, scared state that rescued mange-dogs often come into our shelter. Educating audiences on how mange-dogs are treated, how mange is contracted (that it is impossible for a human to get mange from mere proximity), helps mange-dogs in Udaipur get the treatment and care they deserve.
Imagine not knowing that a wagging tail means a dog wants to say her friendliest “hello.”
Ignorance about dog behavior is wide-spread in Udaipur and all over India. It is common to see children and even adults cringing in fear at the sight of dogs doing normal (non-aggressive) doggy things, like playing, searching for food, or just crossing the street.
While there are scores of people in Udaipur who love street dogs dearly and take great care of them, there are even more who believe that dogs may bite at random and should be shooed away. This can lead to acts of cruelty against dogs like rock-throwing, kicking, and even more violent acts of abuse.
The most common-place acts of cruelty against dogs come as a result of fear. While to become fully comfortable with dogs one must spend considerable amounts of time interacting with dogs, we have found that gaining the basic knowledge of “Dos and Don’ts” around dogs can significantly reduce fear, and hence protect dogs as well.
Animal Aid has created a Dog Bite Prevention video that is shown in schools demonstrating how to safely walk past a barking dog and more.
Animal Aid also offers very effective on-the-ground group sessions with children where we do live demonstrations of how to behave around dogs and teach dog behavior basics.