Stray dogs are quite commonplace in India. Thousands of our furry friends roam the streets every day, living in extremely poor conditions.
While fairly non-threatening to humans, stray dogs are highly susceptible to getting injured from engaging in street fights with other dogs, or due to a road accident, or becoming carriers for rabies (which is a vaccine-preventable disease). The lack of proper care and attention leaves them susceptible to poor health and they suffer rampant neglect, abuse and human cruelty across India.
The stray dog population management riddle
Stray animals and their dependence on humans didn’t just come about through natural evolution, they are the result of two factors – Urbanization and Domestication. Due to unplanned, excessive construction and encroachment, the natural habitat of animals has been destroyed. With little to no naturally available sources of food or shelter, dogs resort to wandering, scavenging whatever they can find edible.
When humans care for and domesticate animals, they become responsible for regulating the animal’s reproduction. Failure to meet this need has several consequences, the most severe of it being the growing, unsupervised population of stray dogs roaming in urban and rural areas.
Another more terrible cause is abandonment of pet dogs. Dogs that have been mistreated by their owners and left to fend for themselves come under severe emotional stress. And while our first instinct is to contact the nearest animal shelter or NGO, it may not provide a permanent solution to the rising population of pet dogs who are becoming homeless and stray dogs who cannot survive on the streets due to disability or illness.
Dog rescue centres and animal shelters: What needs to change?
There are numerous dog rescue centres and animal shelters in India, but not all of them may provide an empathetic solution to a dog in need. These shelters operate to provide first aid and basic treatment for stray dogs who are injured or ill or conduct sterilization also known as Animal Birth Control (ABC) operations. They release the dogs back to their original location on the street once the dog becomes medically fit for release. Most of these shelters lack the necessary resources to care for dogs who need long term treatment and rehabilitation, leading some of them to resort to unethical means such as euthanizing an old, sick, or aggressive dog to create space for new dogs.
A typical animal shelter also depends on local communities to help lookout and care for stray dogs. Local communities who volunteer to feed and play with the strays often neglect to vaccinate and spay/sterilize the stray dogs as there is a financial cost and efforts involved in this process – which is essential to prevent illnesses and control the stray dog population. So who can help a stray dog that cannot survive on the streets without medical support? Who can help dogs that were once pets and are now homeless and too clueless to manage their lives on the streets? The solution is a dog sanctuary that can accept dogs with no hope and give them a fighting chance to have a normal life like any pet dog in the world – a place where they are safe for rest of their natural lives and are treated with respect. This needs considerable financial and technical know-how plus dedicated staff to ensure the life-long care of dogs in the sanctuary. But the urgent need is to have a nationwide stray dog sterilization program like Bhutan for stray dog population management and rabies elimination.
What makes VOSD Sanctuary and Hospital unique?
VOSD is India’s largest permanent home for hundreds of rescued stray dogs and abandoned pet dogs. Our facility in Bangalore is designed entirely around the belief that dogs with little to no chance of surviving on their own, will always have a place they can happily call a forever home. That’s why we proudly call ourselves a dog sanctuary, and not a dog shelter.
VOSD is the world’s largest ecosystem of no-kill rescue, rehabilitation and lifelong care for dogs, and the services that support it. We call this the VOSD Sanctuary & Hospital. VOSD is located near Bangalore, India, and hundreds of rescued dogs reside here lifelong without ever worrying about food, shelter and care. These dogs have been brought in from 30+ cities in India, via road, train and flight.
This is a home for not just India’s most ‘unadoptable’ dogs, but also of ‘Patriot Dogs’ – India’s service dogs who have been retired from the Karnataka Police, Reserve Police, Railway Police, Kerala Police and the Indian Army.
Rehabilitation and sterilization at VOSD
VOSD has an absolute ‘no-kill’ policy. We believe that dogs deserve humane treatment and practice ethical means when it comes to their rehabilitation. These include special needs dogs like blind, deaf, or handicapped ones, retired service dogs, cruelty survivors, dogs that have suffered from failed adoptions, aggressive ones, breeder rescues dogs, etc. For dogs that undergo emotional trauma and abuse, VOSD has emerged as the perfect home for dogs, but rehabilitating these dogs isn’t an easy process. Apart from using the latest medical resources for their care and wellbeing, you also need to be patient, show perseverance, and shower them with abundant love.
Once these dogs are brought in, they are slowly made comfortable and cared for through a well-supervised rehabilitation regimen. We give them all the time, care, and space they require to feel better again. That’s why we don’t encourage adoption of our dogs, as they would find it hard to readjust and may still require lifelong maintenance. Once a dog is part of the VOSD family, they have a home forever. VOSD believes that all dogs should be neutered/sterilised – that includes all pet dogs and stray dogs. VOSD is pro-life with regard to mothers. If a female dog is pregnant, she will not be aborted. If she has delivered, her babies are our babies for life.
Be a contributor to a better world for dogs
VOSD’s continuous push to create the ultimate dog sanctuary only gets stronger thanks to good wishes, donations and aid from our well wishers and contributors. It is a resource-intensive job to care for hundreds of rescued dogs in one place and to keep increasing our infrastructure at the VOSD Sanctuary and Hospital while we continue our support for NGOs and Individual dog caretakers across the country…
If you believe you are a dog’s best friend like VOSD, you can directly contribute to VOSD as a sponsor. VOSD offers different sponsorship programs where you can sponsor a dog’s food and medical needs with monthly donations. You can also involve your friends, family and neighbours in the donation drive for the benefit of the VOSD Sanctuary and Hospital.
Everyone needs a friend, and dogs can truly make for the best of friends and companions. Together, we can ensure that every bark is a happy one.