It is always stones, thrown out of fear, intimidation, and hatred, that greet most stray dogs. But, a few animal lovers at Kozhikode’s famed Valiyangadi are out to change their plight, at least in their locality. On Sunday, two such animal lovers — V. Ummer and Vinod — were seen feeding three street dogs with biriyani and biscuits on the almost deserted road at Valiyangadi.

“This has been the practice here for many years. Earlier, there were 18 street dogs under our care, but most of them were secretly poisoned to death by anti-social elements,” Mr. Ummer said. According to him, most merchants and headload workers in the market have a merciful attitude towards the dogs and the animals never turn a fierce face to their protectors.

The care does not end with just packets of food. In case of illness, the dogs are taken to nearby veterinary hospitals for timely treatment and vaccination. One of the three dogs now on the Valiyangadi street was thus nursed back to life by the merchants. It had been badly injured in a fight with other dogs.

Mr. Ummer and Mr. Vinod were enthusiastic about sharing the reasons behind their love for street dogs. “They guard us more than anyone. When we return home, they accompany us like faithful servants. There were even occasions when these dogs followed our vehicles for a long distance till we reached the destination safely,” they said.

In obedience too, the three dogs surprise their masters. “They are quick in picking up our cues and respond very fast, just like well-trained dogs,” Mr. Ummer and Mr. Vinod said.

“This is why we make sure that we bring back a food parcel from celebration venues for these guardians of the street.”

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