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Do-gooders quench urban strays’ thirst

Bengalureans have been placing water bowls in the open for animals, and this year, demand for terracota and cement water bowls has gone up.

Published: 31st March 2018 05:19 AM  |   Last Updated: 31st March 2018 05:19 AM   |  A+A-

A city resident keeps bowls in front of her house for animals  Pushkar V

By Express News Service

BENGALURU: With the rising temperatures, citizens of the city are concerned for animals and strays. Many have been sourcing water bowls from individual retail suppliers or with the help of good
will initiatives like The Water Bowl Project.

Maati, a store owned by Shashi Bagchi sells teracotta artefacts including water bowls for animals. “Teracotta water bowls orders start in February, going all the way to May. A lot of people have taken to keeping water bowls in public, since the last 2 years. The demand is more than supply, during summers. I have a lot of backlog orders to catch up too this time,” Shashi tells City Express.

Sunil O M, co-founder of the Water Bowl Project in the city, says the awareness has improved as compared to 5 years ago. “While we must appreciate the fact that people are concerned about access to water for stray animals, they also need to realize that animals need water 24/7. Just like us, they drink water in the summers, winters and every single day,” Sunil points out.

Some people buy from stores and others contact do-gooders like Sunil. “I try to meet the interested buyer halfway when on the way to work or just drop it at their home. We source cement pots from a matkawala, near my house in Kengeri. He gives bulk orders for subsidized rates. Usually, people start off with keeping one or two bowls infront of their home, gardens and offices. Over time, they buy 10 or more and keep it in their local colony as well,” he adds.

Materials and sizes

There are differing opinions on the material and sizes used for bowls. Shashi feels that use of cement bowls is not advisable, as curing is not done properly. “Cement starts chipping off the base and animals end up drinking contaminated water. While clay keeps it cool and quenches thirst,” she adds On the other hand, Sunil opines that cement bowls are sturdier.

“Teracotta bowls are delicate and costlier. It is better to use them at heights like one’s balcony or terrace. In public places like pavements, cement bowls must be glued to the ground so it does not get stolen,” he says.
Sadly, fixing the bowl using glue or adhesives is necessary to prevent people from stealing them. The downside to doing so is, cleaning the bowl becomes difficult, says Sunil.

“As for sizes, larger size bowls having wide openings are best suited for cows to fit their head in and all other animals can drink from it too,” Shashi advises.

As Sunil commutes to personally deliver bowls, he says small bowls can be fit in two wheelers and bigger ones can be carried in four wheelers.

Jayanagar, Domlur, MG Road, RR Nagar, Vijayanagar, Hsr layout, Hebbal, Nagarbhavi are some of the many places, The Water Bowl project has catered to.  An interesting piece of advice Sasha shares with animal lovers is, putting Kumkum and Haldi around or on the edges of the bowl

Why so? “People think it is black magic and remain wary of stealing it. I even see them walking a little away from the bowl when the powders are used. It is crazy but it works!,” she quips.

Good samaritans might also want to look out for disgruntled residents, who feel placing of water bowls will encourage more stray dogs, making the place unsafe. However, as long as BBMP does its bit with animal birth control and vaccinations, there should be no issue of danger, Sunil informs.

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