Madurai: Rescuing animals in distress, especially after they are hit or run over by a speeding vehicle, is risky as the chances of the rescuer getting attacked by the paining animal is high. But, this is what the volunteers of a couple of NGOs have been regularly doing over the last year. While volunteers of the NGO Urvanam nurture them in a shelter, the volunteers of Friends of Animals Madurai (FOAM) take care of them in their houses.
Fifteen days ago, Urvanam got a call from Koodal Nagar about a badly injured dog that was battling for its life after an unidentified vehicle ran over its hip and legs. “The dog aged six to seven-years-old was pregnant and gave birth to four puppies the day after the accident. The mother was paralyzed below the chest and could not feed its puppies. Three pups died but we managed to save a pup and the mother due to intensive care,” P R Vishwanath the founder of Urvanam told TOI.
This is among the 140 dogs rescued by his team since they started establishing the shelter for stray and abandoned animals at Roja 1st Street in Mullai Nagar, since last February. These include 65 animals injured in accidents that are treated, rehabilitated and released in their original habitat or given for adoption. As many as 60 abandoned puppies and 15 dogs that were terminally ill were saved after surgery. Vishwanath said that tumors were removed from three dogs.
While one would like to appreciate the efforts taken by such volunteers in rescuing and rehabilitating them, it is not an easy job. He recalled that injured and bleeding dogs have bitten their volunteers quite a few times. “They are in pain and don’t know that we are there to help them out. After a dose of anti-rabies vaccination we carry on with our work,” he said.
Some injured animals give them a tough time as they leave the volunteers chasing behind them. Volunteers have to be patient as they have to capture the injured animal without worsening the injuries. “We release treated country dogs in its original habitat,” he said. Government veterinarians Jeyagobi (Palanganatham) and Arun (Valayankulam) and private vet Saravanan (of Thirunagar) are those who attended most of these animals.
Puppies need constant monitoring and feeding five times a day until they are 45 to 60 days old and are ready for adoption. Kittens are nurtured in the houses of volunteers R Sahadevan, a bike mechanic, and two college goers J Samson Kirubakaran and C Karthikeyan.
A few years ago Urvanam volunteers were engaged in rescuing snakes, monkeys, and peacocks (that they do till date) when they started receiving calls to rescue dogs in distress. They initially nurtured the rescued animals at home but established a shelter as they felt the need for the same to cater to the increasing demand.
Prabhakaran Nagarajan, 28, of FOAM, who heads the team started engaging in rescue about four years ago after he helplessly watched an injured dog die. The resident of Ellis Nagar realised that there is no facility to care for such animals. They started as a WhatsApp group to share information on animals in distress and their activities intensified over the last year. The team rescues birds and squirrels. “We are trying to buy an ambulance to rescue animals so that rescue, as well as transportation to the hospitals, will be less tiresome,” he added.
Date: 13 Feb 2019