CHENNAI: Ever associated construction with puppy love? A group of fifteen volunteers, mostly made up of engineers decided to put their skills to use with a hands-on building project at the Blue Cross of India recently. And the result - a 400 sq foot 'play penn' for puppies at the shelter in Velachery has led to plenty of tail wagging over the last few weeks. "As a result, the little ones now get more time out in the sun, without any danger of going missing," said Dawn Williams, General Manager of the Blue Cross.
This was previously not possible with the pups, ranging broadly from three months to under a year being kept in mesh enclosed cages that were 4x4 feet. And for the Blue Cross which at any given time is home to 200 to 400 puppies, keeping them in a secure location - and out of reach of the larger, older animals is essential.
The picket fencing constructed out of scrap lumber from old cartons took about a day's labour over two Saturdays. Although given that it was completely volunteer-driven, it had to be planned well over a month ahead. "We had to rent out equipment like power drills and cutting machines," recalls Sujit V, a volunteer in the construction business who led the project. Despite being an effort by a group made up of amateur builders consisting of IT professionals and college students, the end result looks quite picturesque. The added advantage is that being a group of dog lovers, Sujit adds, "We kept measurement sensibilities in mind to ensure that the tiny paws and heads wouldn't get stuck in the gaps."
The play penn, now complete with soft toys and river sand that makes for a comfortable play bed for the furry tots has also upped the number of visitors to the shelter. "A lot more kids wants to come inside and socialise with the puppies since the picket fencing allows them to roam free, rather than sit confined," says one of the volunteers. As an added bonus, the boost in visitors has also led to an increased awareness leading the Blue Cross' latest adoption drive on Sunday to land a record 55 adoptions. "This is usually unheard of, as on average only about 18 to 20 animals get taken home at an adoption drive," he adds.