Society

A second chance for abandoned pets

Adoption volunteers like Shravan Krishnan are working to give abandoned pets a second chance in loving homes

When asked how old her dog Joey is, Gowri Mukherjee hesitates before responding, “Around 1.5 to 2.5 years?” She has no idea what breed he is, either. “We can’t really figure out,” she says, guessing from his appearance that he is a Labrador-Indian cross. Mukherjee belongs to the promising new wave of dog owners who adopt rescued pets from animal shelters with no demands for a specific breed, age, or gender. “He’s absolutely adorable. It’s like having a baby at home,” she says of Joey, whom she adopted from the Besant Memorial Animal Dispensary (BMAD), Chennai, adding with a laugh that there are now more pictures of Joey on her phone than of anyone else.

The plan, initially, was for Gowri and her children Ishani and Dhruv to just meet their future dog and then adopt him or her over the weekend, after buying pet supplies. The process sped up unexpectedly when everyone fell in love at first sight, and Joey sealed the deal by jumping into their car and asking to come home immediately. She credits the successful adoption to Shravan Krishnan, a key volunteer at BMAD who has been advocating widely for the adoption of abandoned pets like Joey.

“Shravan’s judgment worked out nicely,” she says, referring to the fact that Joey was already a toilet-trained adult when they got him, making him an easy pet for a family with no prior experience of dog ownership. “All we had to do was make sure we cared for him,” says her husband Surojit. “Having Joey has been an eye-opening experience. Honestly speaking, it’s one of the best things that’s happened to us.”

Krishnan got to play adoption whisperer yet again with his friend Sajan Mathew. When a large abandoned Great Dane ended up at BMAD eight months ago, Krishnan noticed that the new entrant bore a striking resemblance to Mathew’s dog who had passed away at a young age. “It was uncanny,” says Mathew, who marveled at the similarities between the dog — now named Zorro — and his departed pet.

Mathew brought Zorro home and refers to the gentle giant as a “total lamb” and a cherished member of his household. “Every dog needs a chance to have a family,” he says, “I would like more people to do this.”

Although the number of shelter adoptions is growing, Krishnan estimates that for every 20 abandoned dogs, only one finds a home on average. Others run the risk of drifting into depression or withdrawing from contact and retreating into a shell. He hopes that with more awareness, laws against abandonment will become redundant, and individuals and communities will remember that a commitment to a pet is forever, not just for the good days. Until then, families like Mukherjee’s and Mathew’s are stepping in to save the day.

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Printable version | Apr 8, 2020 11:43:47 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/a-second-chance-for-abandoned-pets/article24151095.ece

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