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Pawsome People Project: Stray thoughts, swift action

Amid the lush green surroundings in a neighbourhood in Pallikaranai stands a pistachio-coloured house and on Sunday, I found myself at its gate, rather early for an event.

Published: 28th September 2021 07:05 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th September 2021 04:03 PM   |  A+A-

The Chennai chapter of Pawsome People Project built three shelters over the weekend. (Photo | Ashwin Prasath, EPS)

The Chennai chapter of Pawsome People Project built three shelters over the weekend. (Photo | Ashwin Prasath, EPS)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: Amid the lush green surroundings in a neighbourhood in Pallikaranai stands a pistachio-coloured house and on Sunday, I found myself at its gate, rather early for an event. From where I was standing, I could see three wooden structures parked in the front yard of this otherwise abandoned house.

It seemed that the Chennai volunteers of the Pawsome People Project were all set to wrap up the pet shelters they had been building since Saturday. The NGO turns two this year and to celebrate the occasion, Pawsome volunteers in various cities are coming together for something special. Kochi and Bengaluru hosted water bowl programmes to provide clean water to animals and birds, Coimbatore additionally also initiated a food drive, and Hyderabad and namma Chennai took up the responsibility of shelter drives. A few minutes later, the volunteers rolled in, and picked up work where they had left off — sanding down the rough edges of the sheds.

The Chennai Chapter
While still a small community of fewer than ten members, the 5-6-month-old chapter pulled off a few drives in the lockdown with virtual discussions. The volunteers initiated a food drive — feeding dogs individually in their respective areas — to compensate for the lack of feeders considering the situation. They also conducted a drive to collar dogs in several areas of the city. 

With things easing on the pandemic front, they were finally able to meet in person for this shelter-building exercise at the house that was generously donated to them by the friend of a volunteer. Initially, the plan consisted of five shelters, but the acquisition of raw materials proved to be tougher than expected. “These planks are really expensive. You will notice that these are new, not scrap.

They were donated to us by some carpenters. We spent days looking for vendors. From Pondy Bazaar to the Port, if there is a place where a box is available, we have touched it. Then, we also had to get tools, equipment, paint, stencils and so many more intricate things,” says Fiza Anand, the city lead. The group was assisted by carpenters to construct the basic structure of the shed, while they performed tasks like sanding and painting. 

The sheds are three-walled shelters made with wooden ply in the dimensions of four feet, length, breadth and height-wise; a comfortable space for two dogs at a time. The structure is intended to be lifted slightly off the ground by four bushes to prevent flooding and equipped with a tin roof for weather protection. The plan, now, was to prime and paint the shelter in the Pawsome colours with a yellow exterior flaunting their logo and a white interior. 

But what next? Where do these shelters end up?

Feeders and Friends
For the next couple of weeks, the shelters will remain in the house until someone claims them to be set up in their area. If you wish to claim a shed, you can look out for an announcement on their social media (@pawsomepeople). “Chennai has a very, very large community of dog feeders and helpers in comparison to most cities I have seen. And they do not necessarily associate with any NGO, but do so out of the goodness of their heart,” says Fiza.

The individual feeders are also an important part of Pawsome’s network, she goes on, “I have never thought of Pawsome as an organisation that prides itself to know everything and do everything on its own. We strive through networking and people who know people. It is all about building contacts and these organisations (such as Pawsome) can only survive if they coordinate with each other. It is not a competition, we’re all going towards the same aim.” 

The Chennai chapter is still looking to expand their volunteer count, foster homes and also putting up pamphlets in nine cafes for their fundraising forms, concludes Fiza and we walk back to the front yard. Time to paint!



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