Meet pet lover Ramya Reddy and know how to make a street dog a part of your family

Ace photographer Ramya Reddy is not just professionally successful. This graduate from Light and Life Academy (Taml Nadu), is also using her talent to promote a cause close to her heart — adoption of homeless dogs. Reddy is this year's official photographer for the CUPA (Compassion Unlimited plus Action) and WRRC (Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre) 2011 charity calendar.

A firm believer in the concept of adoption, Ramya hopes that more people will open their hearts and homes to the rescued animals that wait in shelters for their future families. She adopted three of her dogs from CUPA and one from an animal shelter in USA where she lived briefly. When she returned to India, she brought her best friend home with her. Appalled by reports of people abandoning their pets while relocating, she says, “The love you feel for your partner or parents, it's the same for a pet. They're our family, our children. I wouldn't leave my child behind while relocating!”

One of her pets is an adult dog who was abandoned by two consecutive owners. His misery faded when he realizsed he was a permanent member of the Reddy household. “He came with separation anxiety and took a while to trust people again and see us as his parents.”

Inspired by her sister-in-law who is also a Good Samaritan, Ramya feels an instant connection to animals in shelters and feels that adoption is an ethical alternative to the pedigree pet trade. “What is the need to pay thousands and buy a dog when there are so many beautiful puppies out there needing a home?” she asks. “As human beings, the least we can do is take what Nature has given us and not artificially produce dogs. I hope that in future, adoption becomes the only way to get a dog”.

(Aarti is a volunteer with Friendicoes, a Delhi-based NGO that handles adoption and rescue of homeless animals. To know Friendicoes, you can check its website is www.friendicoes.org. To adopt an Indian puppy free of cost, you can contact aarti@friendicoes.org. Adoptions will take place after an interview and a home visit.)