Date:25/06/2011 URL: http://www.thehindu.com/thehindu/mp/2011/06/25/stories/2011062550530200.htm
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PETPALS

Love stories of the canine kind


Anuradha Manish Chawla's logic is simple, yet powerful. She believes that if there is a home that needs a pet, and an animal that is homeless, the two are a natural and obvious fit. The soft-spoken dog rescuer has been leading a movement ( with her best pal Jennifer Jacob-Murali Anand) that encourages families to save a life by adopting puppies from the street. Today, her network of adoptive families is responsible for championing the cause of homeless pups and is responsible for dozens of pups being whisked off the streets and into loving homes. “To me, a dog is a dog”, says Anuradha. “They are not status symbols – what matters is the health of the dog. If you think of buying a foreign breed, remember they are not suited for Indian climate! Instead, go to your local shelter or just adopt a pup directly from the street. They are as intelligent, easy to maintain and affectionate as any other breed”.

Eight years ago, Anuradha met her first pet when she found an orphaned pup stuck in an abandoned auto. Named Sandy, the dog is now a member of the family. Her second dog Ginger was adopted from a homeless dog's litter, after which Anuradha arranged for the mother dog's birth control surgery. Her third dog Bruno was adopted because he had cancer as a puppy. Bruno has made a complete recovery and is a healthy 1-year-old dog today.

Using their own resources, Anuradha and Jennifer arranged for birth control surgery for several street dogs in their neighbourhood in a mission to reduce the population. They also initiated the Chennai Adoption Drive and followed it up with newspaper columns on adoption and a blog on responsible pet ownership. The page (puppycareandtraining-anu.blogspot.com) has now become a popular resource amongst first-time pet owners across India.

“The most common question I get is about whether Indian dogs are ferocious and if they make good pets. I tell them no dog is ferocious unless trained that way. Also, chaining a dog to the same spot 24 hours a day causes aggression, and this must not be done”, she says. Based on her experience in rehabilitating heartbroken pets that were abandoned by their families, she recommends that people think carefully before taking the big step. “When you adopt a puppy, you should commit to being responsible for its care throughout its life”.

SRIYA NARAYANAN

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