Mumbai’s street dogs get some lovin’ | DW Stories

When Abodh Aras walks on the streets of Mumbai,
the city’s stray dogs unfailingly greet him with a strong sense of recognition – many
times, to the surprise of passers-by. When I was a kid, I used to see dogs being
taken away, dogs in our neighborhood, dogs that we knew as Tommy or Blacky, and the municipality
used to take them away and kill them. We realized that why should this be done when
there are alternatives. For 22 years, Aras and his NGO, the Welfare
of Stray dogs have been working towards the alternative. Every Sunday, one of the many routines they
follow religiously, is to provide first aid to about 20 dogs in the Fort area of south
Mumbai. Earlier the municipal corporation used to
kill them because they thought it was the only way it could bring down rabies or the
stray dog population. For me, this 22 year old journey is a long-term
relationship. And every time a dog passes away, a part of
me dies. Stray dogs in Mumbai, who typically belong
to the indigenous Pariah breed, have had a rough history. They were considered a nuisance, and a threat
– because they are potential carriers of the rabies virus. In the early 90s, it was organizations like
Aras’ that fought hard for their right to be treated humanely. The way it used to work was – dogs used to
be kept for 3 days by the municipal corporation in a dog pound, and if nobody claimed them,
the used to electrocute them. We convinced the municipal corporation with
figures of rabies deaths have not gone down, the street dog population has not gone down
– that let us try an alternative which was a scientific humane method of controlling
the dog population – which is what we call an animal birth control program, or which
is what we call sterilization or spay-neuter. It wasn’t until 2001, that a set of rules,
under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals act, made it mandatory for local governments
to sterilize stray dogs instead of killing them. But a lack of infrastructure and funds has
meant that it has fallen upon NGOs to control and maintain the stray dog’s population in
Mumbai. Welfare of Stray Dogs now sterilizes and vaccinates
close to 300 dogs a month. What this means is that there are fewer stray
dogs and fewer packs – and so they are healthier and friendlier. Yet, one of the biggest challenges for Aras
is to get people to see stray dogs in a different light. I think what we call stray dogs are actually
not stray per se. The world health organization will call them
is ‘free-roaming pets’. They are pets of the underprivileged, the
policemen, the hawker, the person who lives on the street. So they are the ones who look after them,
give them names. Uma Khan cares for 9 such free-roaming pets,
who live with her in a makeshift shelter on one of the city’s streets. She works as a housemaid, and makes just enough
to feed her family of 2, and her adopted dogs. But it hasn’t been easy. Like Uma, there are many others who are part
of a relentless but silent army of dog carers in the city. Every evening, Shilpa Bej cooks for 28 dogs
in her locality. A local feeder she has employed then carries
the tightly packed lunch-boxes to the dogs eagerly waiting for their day’s meal. It is a big responsibility. Of course, we knew about it, so
People’s perception around street dogs has changed where earlier they used to just see
a street dog being taken away, sterilized and put back. Now they see people coming an vaccinating
them, they see our animal nurses coming and treating them. So they think that at least if these dogs
are not harmful, then they are not harmful to us. And they are not. So they’ve realized that this is the best
way that street dogs and humans can live in harmony.

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20 Responses

  1. The Oasis says:

    Dog checkimg his ears for food

  2. Varun Bhati says:

    This is the indian culture that values every living being, that west makes fun of. The chinese will eat them….

  3. Ghabana GuchiGuchi says:

    long live those kind persons

  4. Haran Sivasambu says:

    Wonderful. Jobs many people doing. That is a Hindu philosophy Dharma. Every Life part of the God.

  5. Elvis Presley hates Samuel Untermeyer says:

    Best video I saw on this channel.

  6. Alberto Rodriguez says:


  7. NΓ‘dia Almeida says:

    God bless you even more and give you Grace and touchs people hearts to help you and care…:) πŸ™‚

  8. Krishna radhey says:

    Nice job, sir I also working, basically fooding for our neighborhood dear fellow but not just at large scale as this organisation is doing, I am interested to join this cause please send me the contact details about this organisation. thanks.

  9. Hour Bee says:

    In China those dogs would end up on someone's dinner plate.

  10. Deepak Rajaram says:

    Feeding dogs for 13 years that's amazing , I took a stray puppy myself and took care of him till he died recently , I still take care of other strays in the street and feed them and even feed them treats , there are 4 strays I feed which has been going on for around 10 years , everyday when I return home 3 of them enter my house and jumps on me or my bike and starts playing with me , this literally is the best stress reliever I have every day after travelling in hectic traffic , strays are really great they actually look after the whole street and are like guards and really the pets for the whole street , I just wish more people like them try to help and understand dogs

  11. Crikey Can't says:

    Dogs are people too

  12. TK Baha says:


  13. Uruguay y Nigeria says:


  14. Vilma Miranda says:


  15. Js Mu says:

    God bless you abodh

  16. Kamalini Malhotra says:

    It amazes me that Indians are the most apathetic towards the suffering of animals. Thank you for the help you give these innocent beings. A lot of irresponsible people who do not spay their pets and also abandon their pets to become homeless. Yes they have to be spayed. Since the government gives hand outs to people it should also include adopting a stray dog. Rightly as you said they are not stray dogs but free roaming pets. Stray dogs in India are gentle and sweet beings who should not be poisoned to death in pounds. These types of cruel activities , bad karma's bring down a nations future.

  17. thanks God bless you always Soon says:

    Thank you so much to save all the dogs ! God bless you all guys.

  18. Monisha Biswas says:

    I do the same in west bengal ,district town kalyani & also in my working place, krishnanagar. But never received any support in sterilisation( very costly)or help in feeding. Nice to see like minded people.

  19. gaurav nandgaonkar says:

    god bless you guys

  20. frankensteinnn says:

    God please send more of such humane human beings to this earth.. everybody in our limited capacities should atleast try to bring some joy in other's lives, be it their parents, children or even stray animals. In our house we feed about 200+ pigeons and few crows as well twice everyday. We have been doing it for last 12 years and it is one of the few things that gives me much pleasure, like what you feel when you become a father for the first time.

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