THRISSUR: 18 to 20 sacks of rice and six kilograms of meat is not a hotel’s grocery purchase but the daily demand of PAWS (People for Animal Welfare Services) — a Thrissur-based non-governmental organisation. When streets were deserted and shops shut their doors as a result of a pandemic, there was a population out there which did not know what was happening. Stray dogs depend on the kindness of good-hearted people and the waste dumped on the corners of roads to survive. But the lockdowns proved to be a bitter experience for them.
To do their bit to salvage the situation for the strays, PAWS stepped in and started feeding them. Though lockdown restrictions have been lifted only partially now, those behind the organisation continue to feed the stray dogs on weekends.Preethi Sreevalsan, who founded PAWS, says it was not an easy task to source food for the animals regularly. “At a time when humans are unsure when life will return to normal, we struggled initially to get enough funds to buy the items required to feed the dogs. But through social media, we reached out to a lot of people who readily contributed with donations of money and food items,” she says.
The volunteers spend time daily cooking rice in bulk and to get meat from the market.
“Even if you get the money, there has to be people who can spend time for a cause. Thankfully, college students, who are our main volunteers, and others were available at the time. Each day, they take different routes to feed stray dogs. The dogs in Mannuthy, Thrissur town and other localities were fed at regular intervals during the lockdown,” she says. More than 200 stray dogs were fed on a daily basis during the lockdown enforced amid the second wave of Covid.
Besides, the organisation also gets several calls to rescue animals. From saving cattle that have fallen into open wells, to cats and dogs hit by vehicles, PAWS volunteers are on the move to lend whatever help possible. Despite fund crunch, PAWS takes it as a responsibility towards fellow beings, and Preethi and her team show the way.