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We caught up with dogs and cats that survived abuse and trauma to lead happy lives with their adoptive families. Find out how you can help such animals too.
This weekend we interviewed the most delightful subjects we've had the pleasure of meeting so far. While some of them are deeply involved in their current hobbies of chewing furniture and lunchtime acrobatics, none of them show signs of the trauma and abuse they underwent as little ones. In fact Scrappy, Joey, Miro, Chottu, Piku and Skipper all lead healthy and full lives today.
Rescued from injuries, abuse and starvation by World For All Animal Care And Adoptions (WFA), these animals thanks to their loving families have adapted to their new lives with an enthusiasm that makes you want to believe in motivational quotes on Pinterest.
WFA, an NGO based in Mumbai for their part takes care of the initial rehabilitation of the animals before putting them up for adoption. However, they often face resistance from families when it comes to adopting injured animals in particular. That, along with dwindling funds makes it difficult for the NGO to sustain their campaign to provide medical attention, care and loving homes for the animals they rescue.
This year they've started a crowdfunded campaign to gather more funds to continue their good work. Meanwhile here's a peek into the happy lives of the animals they've helped rehabilitate into loving homes.
"He's the best thing that happened to me. I was not in a very good place when I got Scrappy, but he's been a constant source of happiness ever since."
Scrappy who loves chewing furniture and 'reading' (which is Dog for chewing books), came with a birth defect and was possibly tortured as a pup. He would drag his legs and walk when Smita first met him, but with medical attention, therapy and constant encouragement he's a happy, scrappy pup today. On a side note, we noticed that Scrappy likes women more than men. Hmm.
"We were just fostering Miro, but he was so adorable that we couldn't give him back. And the same thing happened with Chottu," says Prachiti.
Even as she speaks Chottu, the black kitten nuzzles up to her almost disappearing into her tee mid-cuddle, and we can see why they were hard to give up.
Prachiti was always a cat lover and Nick has recently become a cat 'liker' thanks to these kittens that came to them undernourished and scared but are now affectionate, confident and alarmingly acrobatic during feeding times.
"What do we love about them?," Prachiti ponders for a minute when I ask her.
"I can't think of just one thing."
"We have a small home but a large heart," says Namrata Shenoy's father. Their one room home is something of a shelter for three dogs and four cats who are deeply attached to the family and Namrata in particular. An animal communicator, Namrata always felt a connection to animals she came across, acknowledging her love for them her family soon took cats and dogs in, feeding and caring for them with all the time and money they could spare. She knows every dog in the neighbourhood personally, every cat is a friend and so is the old man down the street, who lost his son and now spends his days in the company of cats. She is full of inspiring stories and anecdotes about her pets. However, she tears up visibly while recounting instances of abuse that her pets have undergone.
Piku in particular. The blind cat is now old and quite ill, but he's clearly a family favourite. Given to cuddling a teddy bear in his sleep, Piku mostly wanders about the house under Mrs Shenoy's watchful eye, occasionally bumping into things, but strangely calm in his own way.
"Get him a helmet," Mr Shenoy tells Namrata as Piku bumps into our feet. But in no time, Piku has found his way to his teddy bear and clutches him tightly as he falls asleep.
"He looked very sad in the picture, but I felt an instant connection to him," says Zenia Barretto who found Skipper too cute to resist. Skipper who had a tumour when WFA found him, soon recovered from his operation to find himself in this delightful home filled with birds, a cat and a bunch of kittens. The cat tends to get after him, but Skipper keeps himself busy by nipping at feet (he's teething), going for guests' glasses of orange juice (ours) and being a generally bouncy happy fellow who really lives up to his name.
When Zenia's older dog Spotty passed away a few years ago and her brother left home to start a family, the house felt a little too empty. Skipper coming in has changed all that, Zenia can't wait to come home from work and be greeted by Sir Bounce himself. "Having a pet makes you a better person somehow," she admits.
"When she came home I was shocked. She had one missing leg and the other one was completely red. My son who runs WFA said he would take her back to the office the next day, but somehow she just stayed on. We tried giving her up for adoption but no one would take her. People are superstitious about black dogs and female dogs and not many people would want a three-legged pet. Where would the poor girl go? So, we decided to keep her. It was a bit difficult with three dogs in the flat, but she adapted in no time and is most commanding now," says Mrs Bulsara about Joey who was named after a baby kangaroo for the way she sits.
The family has taken in three dogs, two of them grievously sick and injured who are perfectly healthy now and a source of comfort to them. "They know when I am sad and they sit down with me, lying down in my lap," Mrs Bulsara says affectionately.
Joey for her part works as a dog alarm to warn Mrs Bulsara about their pet turtle who has a habit of nibbling on Mrs Bulsara's toes. "She bites only my toes, I don't understand why," she says as we stare down at a happy looking turtle* swimming in their sunlit balcony.
Photographed by Anurag Banerjee
*A rescued turtle, this one has been in the family for seventeen years.