THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: They care for dogs. What’s so special? Well, the couple from the United Kingdom decided to stay back in Kovalam 12 years ago, moved by the plight of stray dogs. Since then, Mary and Steve Muscroft have been on a mission to provide succour to strays. The couple arrived in Kovalam in 2008 as part of a holiday package for two weeks. “We were astonished to see the number of stray dogs. That worried us and decided to stay back,” says Mary.
First, they rescued two canines and asked local people and other tourists if they could adopt them. Since no one came forward, they cancelled their return tickets and rented out a house in Kovalam to start a life-long mission. “Over the past several years, we have got positive responses from everywhere. Right now, we have 140 dogs which were rescued from various places,” Mary says.
The 52-year-old is a former volunteer of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), which is the largest animal welfare charity in the UK. Steve, 62, ran a manufacturing business in Bradford before his retirement.
The couple started an NGO, Streetdog Watch in 2008. Since then, they have been rescuing, vaccinating and sterilising dogs in the state. They also accept domestic dogs if the owner does not want to look after them. They have managed to sterilise over 1,500 dogs. Over 2,400 dogs have also been vaccinated. “We couldn’t travel much during the pandemic, but managed to rescue some dogs during the period,” Mary says. The NGO is looking to crowdfund its animal birth control and anti-rabies efforts.