India has a big stray dog problem and so does Manipal. You can find packs of them on every street corner no matter where you are. Cities, villages they’re the ever present inhabitants of the streets countrywide. Usually keeping to themselves and scavenging for food or resting in shade they’re not really looking to harm us unless they’re mistreated or desperate enough to adopt violent tendencies. To that end it is imperative they be treated with kindness and care by us as a community . However a community is only as strong as the individual and so you, as the individual must actively do your part. To that end it doesn’t even cost much to offer them the bare minimum care. So, here’s a guide to help you make their lives a little easier, even as a student.
Feeding And Hydrating Them
First things first, buy a bowl, a pretty big one preferably and fill it with water and change out the water daily. Put it in a spot where it won’t be knocked aside, If possible keep it by a shop and ask the shopkeeper to keep an eye on it. Next up establish that as a spot where they can come to expect food and water. As for what to feed them, anything from biscuits worth 5 rupees or packets of dog food that most stores tend to keep in stock will do. It’s imperative you feed them in a way where they can be fed individually if you give them all food in a single vessel they could compete over it and pack dynamics could kick in and not everyone would be fed. So portion it accordingly and take your time it’s not a rush job.
Corresponding With Shopkeepers In The Area
As mentioned in the above paragraph, corresponding with shopkeepers can help ease the process of taking care of them quite a bit. In Manipal shopkeepers tend to harbour a relatively friendlier attitude towards them, letting them take shelters and at times even feeding them.
To exemplify this attitude we interviewed a few shopkeepers from 3 stores across Manipal namely the shopkeepers of Adarsh Store, Suresh’s Store and Ravi’s Food Cart all of which allowed strays to rest in front of their stores day and night and said how the general community would feed them enough throughout the day where food would hardly be an issue for them.“haan khana ke liye customers se hi mil jata hai aur pani wani koi na koi de he deta hai yaha pe” said Mr Rajesh Shetty of Adarsh store. This exemplifies how Manipal has a welcoming community that’s there even for destitute animals, however the community is sustained by the people so rather than leaving it to someone else get your hands dirty and join in!
The main reason why correspondences are a huge help is that unlike you, they can surveil the strays constantly as unlike you they’re on that street all day till the lights are out and they need to head home.
Taking Them In
This step is something that requires a huge deal of commitment with you giving up the role of the surrogate to take care of them directly. A significant part of India’s stray problem is pet abandonment so a lot of them are simply looking for a home and you can be the person who gives them one. It’s a kind of formality bereft adoption, however before you take one home you need to be well versed in how to take care of and train dogs as in addition to acclimating them to a regular home environment, these are animals who have lived in very unfavourable conditions up to that point in their lives and that can present a number of challenges both behaviourally and medically so you absolutely must be on top of those.
Going beyond merely feeding them and quenching their thirst there is still more you can do for them in surrogacy if you so choose. Seasons impact strays the same as they do us. Here in Manipal the weather is rather unique with summers being harsh night and day, then transitioning to an equally harsh monsoon and then at last being met with a winter that barely exists save for the nighttime chill before repeating all over again.
During summer it’s going to be very warm so put out some extra water for them, in monsoon they’ll instinctually take shelter under cars or shops so a corresponding with a shopkeeper goes a long way in this regard additionally making them a cot out of jute sacks or a spare blanket at their place of shelter to give them some protection from the harsh cold night in night out is essential too. The same principle can be extended to winter-time aid you can give them.
As a side note, remember to set the cot at night-time to avoid it being swept away in the hustle and bustle of the city and to take it back in at the earliest.
These are about all the tips we have, it’s enough to get you started, a lot can depend on your individual circumstances however one or more of these should at least still be applicable and doable in your case regardless, at least in Manipal anyway. So get out there and get caretaking!