Sterilizing stray dogs is an arduous task but we do it because it helps keep the stray population in check.
Each sterilization project is handled by a group of dedicated volunteers who do this on a part-time basis on top of their day jobs. There is also a lot of coordination work involved as we only have 2 large carriers on loan which we move from site to site for stray catching, while keeping to a tight schedule allotted to us by the vets. Currently, we are juggling 4 ongoing sterilization projects.
One of our sterilization projects brought us to Aunt R.
Aunt R is a kind lady who has been feeding strays in her area for the past 8 months. She works in a nearby factory canteen and every day after work, she brings leftover chicken parts to feed these dogs. Her niece, Ragi, contacted us to tell us that these dogs are producing litters and they need help to sterilize the strays to control the population.
|Happy and contented after their meal|
|New born pups|
|Stop the breeding. Curb the stray population|
|Puppies under the plank. They could be eaten by snakes or foreign workers|
We went down to assess the area and found the dogs to be in good health. Although she has been feeding them well these past 8 months, we realized that Aunt R has never touched or patted them, as she was somewhat scared of them. But from the dogs’ demeanour and the wagging of their tails, we could tell how much they trusted and loved her, and we convinced her to pat them. We showed her how to approach them, which she did with great courage. She was overjoyed by the fact that they allowed her to go near and pat them. It was a rewarding sight seeing the joy in her eyes, knowing that she was finally able to get close to her furry friends of 8 months.
|Like the Pipe Piper, the dogs follow her|
Aunt R then mentioned that one of the dogs had a string tied around his neck. As we showed her how to hold a dog while we checked the dog, we realized that it wasn’t a string. It was a wire tightly wound around the dog’s neck that had probably been tied there since young. As the dog grew bigger, the wire cut into his neck, leaving behind visible dried blood on his fur and neck. Our hearts clenched at the sight. Aunt R said she noticed the dripping blood a few weeks ago but she did not know what to do. We could see her distress at her helplessness. With that, we showed her how to hold the dog as we gently removed the wire from his neck. Aunt R was a natural. She spoke to the poor dog in a soft voice as she comforted her friend.
|Showing us the wire tied around his neck|
|Trying to remove the wire|
|Finally got the wire off|
Aunt R was delighted as she grew more confident with her strays. Since she had already forged such close relationships with the dogs, we decided to teach her how to catch the dogs so she could help us with our sterilization projects. Soon, she had managed to coax a female and two male dogs into the carriers.
Watch this video on stray puppies.
The other dogs on the other hand, got smarter and wised up to her tricks and started avoiding her. So we had to go down and help her. Each time, we try to bring 2 dogs to the vet per week so that it makes the transport cost worthwhile.
|The last one that we can't catch. She has a lump on her chest.|
Aunt R is just one story amongst many. Typically, when an area of strays has been identified, a volunteer will have to send a pet carrier down to the site to catch the dog the night before. This is to ensure that the dog has fasted before surgery. If we are lucky we can get help from one of the workers in the nearby factories; otherwise one of the volunteers will have to go down and catch the dog him or herself.
Once caught, we leave the dog inside the carrier at that particular factory for the night and only pick it up the next morning to send it to the vet, as most surgeries are set early in the day. After surgery, the dog is picked up and brought back to the site and left in the carrier so that it can recover from the surgery before being let out the following day.
If we could, we would let the dog recover at the vet overnight, even if it means additional costs for us. However most vets are reluctant to let us do so as they are concerned the strays will bark overnight or they may spread ticks to the other pets in the clinic.
Cost is a big issue for our sterilization projects, as not only do we sterilize our dogs, we also ensure that they are vaccinated against viruses. The cost of sterilizing a female dog is $150 while vaccination is $40. On top of that, we incur pet transport costs - we don’t have enough volunteers on hand who can send dogs to the vet in the morning, and we also need a van or lorry that can fit 2 large pet carriers at a time.
|Large pet carriers so that it is comfortable for the strays|
|Ear tipped after sterilization|
|These dogs just mated. We want to minimize such incidences|
|Look at how the males jump at the females when they are in heat. It is a very sorry sight.|
|Constantly giving birth|
We are looking for kind souls who can help with any one of the following :
· Collecting the carriers and dropping it off at the factory the night before and returning it 2 days later when the dog has been returned.
· Transportation of large dogs to and from the vet on weekdays (only van, SUV or MPV)
If you could assist us in any way, or know anyone who could, please email Fiona at firstname.lastname@example.org