People For Animals Trust Faridabad, based in Faridabad, and Youth Organization in Defence of Animals (YODA), based in Mumbai, are two organizations making dog adoption easier in their respective cities. What goes behind the adoption is a matter of conversation, and these organizations bring the same to the light.
Ravi Dubey sent two disabled dogs to England to families keen to adopt them and felt content for being able to do so. In the past 15 years, he has rescued dogs and other animals in Faridabad. In this journey, he has encountered various disabled dogs, but very few families prefer to adopt them. Getting two such families abroad for the disabled dogs, Rocky and Mohini, thus, gave him confidence, and now, he is ready to send another disabled puppy to England very soon. People For Animals Trust Faridabad, founded by Ravi Dubey, is one of the organizations making dog adoption easier in India and abroad. Still, his journey involves various ups and downs in doing so.
After the inception of the initiative in 2007, Dubey lacked the support of citizens in rescuing and rehabilitating dogs and other animals. Although a few volunteers backed him, the lack of health and medical facilities in his hometown often posed a challenge. "We would take the injured dogs to Delhi in the absence of facilities in Faridabad," Dubey says. While travelling 70 km of distance did not bother Dubey, the fact that no conveyance was available for the animals did for sure.
"Auto or car drivers used to be hesitant in providing space to the animals since they contain the foul smell. They knew that the smell does not fade even after washing the vehicle; hence, they wouldn't help me take them to the centers," Dubey says. With time, however, the facilities got ramped up in Faridabad, and Dubey sighed in relief.
It was in 2020 and later, in 2022, that he met with Rocky and Mohini. Both of them were the victims of train accidents that had left them injured and with broken legs. When Dubey brought them to the shelter, he doubted their survival. "We thought they would just live for a few weeks as they were bleeding very badly. However, with the efforts of doctors, both of them survived," he says. Later, Dubey shared the "before" and "after" stories of the dogs that attracted the two interested families in England.
With the 16-member team and volunteers, PFATF is now one of those organizations making dog adoption easier. Dubey takes care of around 110 animals, including more than 60 dogs, cats, cows, and cattle in the shelter. As he and his team ensure the safety of the animals in the shelter, they also make sure to send the animals to caring families. Talking about the adoption process, Dubey says that people easily approach them through the internet and social media. The reason is simple. Due to working for 15 years, the center has gained good popularity and reach on websites that display their name on the top to the interested families.
Following the approach, Dubey welcomes the people to the shelter so they can befriend the dogs or just share pictures and videos with others. Further, he ensures that the family has a member to take care of the pet all the time and that they have experience living with pets. "Often, in a family of two, where both the members are working, the dog becomes likely to be neglected," Dubey says. Only after ensuring the well-being of the dogs through a declaration form does Dubey allow them for adoption.
However, till the time of the adoption process, he fears the transmission of the infection as, according to him, the shelter is a ground for infections that he counts as a challenge. Similarly, one of the common hindrances in sending dogs abroad is the multiple governmental approvals that often complicate the process and impact the functioning of the organizations usually making dog adoption easier for adopters, as Dubey says as he appeals to not disclose it any further.
But is it the same to send the dogs to Indian families versus families abroad? In Dubey's words, the answer is a "big no." "Indians mostly prefer dogs of specific breeds and hardly even enquire about the Indian breeds, let alone of disabled category." He further adds, "People want to adopt puppies so that they involve with the family members instead of adopting the grown disabled dogs."
On the other hand, Dubey maintains that due to living apart from the family, people outside India mostly find comfort in making their pet their family member. "If a dog, who would just wander around for food amid physical challenges, get to eat and live a good life, what else can be better than that? I feel pleased to see the videos and photos of Rocky and Pinki living a luxurious and healthy life abroad," Dubey adds.
On not choosing Indian dogs for adoption
Rohit S Pillai, who represents Youth Organization in Defence of Animals (YODA), a Mumbai-based animal welfare trust, does not propose a counter opinion as he says that, unfortunately, puppies get adopted more than adult dogs. Being part of the organization from where 20-30 dogs get adopted by Indian families in a month, he is well versed in understanding people's behavior behind doing the same. "The problem lies in the education system as we are not taught about the Indian breeds and the necessity of adopting them," Pillai says.
Founded by Priya Aggarwal Hebbar, Pooja Sakpal, Meenal Rajda, and Akarsh Hebbar eleven years ago from Mahim, YODA has now been operating at Khar, housing 80-85 animals, including dogs and cats. The name 'YODA' was kept after a dog of Priya Aggarwal Hebber and intended to rehabilitate abandoned dogs in Mumbai. Currently, they carry food drives for stray dogs and run sterilization and vaccination services for them. Moreover, the center also offers free OPD services.
Continuing with his own story, Pillai mentions that he was taught that stray dogs are dangerous and bite for no reason back in his childhood. "Many kids are taught the same about stray animals, especially dogs, due to which the tendency to neglect Indian stray dogs become common. It is disheartening that even non-dog lovers recognize a 'German Shepherd' and 'Labrador,' but people hardly know about Indian breeds," Pillai adds.
YODA has a separate procedure for adoption available for Indian families. "We ask about the breadwinners of the family. If the ones approaching us are not working, we first meet their parents to understand their concerns and background," Pillai says. Adding to it, he mentioned that the team visits the houses first and suggests the necessary modifications to help the dogs adapt fast. Plus, initially, the team sends a dog for a few weeks to see whether they are adjusting to the new family or not. "During this time, we constantly remain in touch with the family about the dog's conditions," Pillai states.
The beneficiaries then fill out the adoption forms to complete the process. Secondly, given the fact that incapable families abandon their dogs even after adopting them, YODA has a provision to impose a fine of Rs 5,000 on them. "The amount of fine increases if the dogs are found to be suffering from injuries or illness," Pillai says. The primary motive of the organization behind this is to hold the family accountable for the wrongdoings done to animals.
Even though at a tortoise pace, the inclination toward adoption is becoming a reality over buying of animals. In such a scenario, organizations like People and YODA are no less than powerful spaces aiding in the needful transformation.