As I was mentally preparing myself to spend another mundane weekend giggling away at doggie memes on 9gag, something more interesting came along – an opportunity to volunteer for a camp at one dog shelter home. This was a chance for self-proclaimed dog lover like me to actually prove myself in the canine community. So I duly signed up for the event and also dragged a few friend of mine.
We turned up at the Jeevanrakshak Shelter Home in Pune, at the designated time. After a couple of ice-breaking activities for volunteer, we realised that we should have probably come up with some for the dogs as well. The reception we got from them was frosty. Probably not used to seeing so many humans encroaching their haven, they greeted us with incessant barking and howling. Now we were rather hurt because we were all dog lovers with noble intentions, and also a bit unnerved at the violent welcome. So we stood there, a group of 50 volunteers, facing off against a team of 100 plus angry pooches. Nobody was sure what to do.
Amidst all this chaos, one guy decided to be the advocate of peace. He confidently trotted up to us and extended his hand (or rather, head) of friendship. He evaporated the cold war in an instant by allowing himself to be cuddled.
So, the day started and as our first task of the day, we set about cleaning the place, which involved washing utensils and more importantly, the cages where the dogs lived. Every cage was water-sprayed, soaped, vigorously scrubbed, and sprayed at least thrice. The cleaning was followed by the feeding phase. We hoped that this was the time when our one-sided friends would finally warm up to us. We had assumed that all dogs just crave food (like mine at home). But we were wrong. They simply refused to eat in our company. We were forced to go to a secluded part away from all of them; only then did they eat.
After this came the most eventful part, the bathing. This was a tedious process which involved the following algorithm:
- Capture the dogs manually and put them in cages, five in each cage.
- Bathe, shampoo, and dry the dogs
- Capture the dogs part two: this had to be done inside the cage itself, when the dog had had enough of the water, and decided to run round and round the cage trying to flee. This was incredibly tough.
- Go to step 2
- Repeat until dog flees or someone steals that one single bathing pipe for their own dogs.
I had decided that it was my personal mission to capture and bathe a squirrel-headed guy who had captured my fancy earlier. But the little guy was just too energetic and nimble and despite my best efforts in chasing him around, when I finally stopped, it was only to catch my breath and not the dog.
I eventually ended up spending some quality bathing time with an extremely fat, cute, and well-behaved dog that had a striking resemblance to Scooby-Doo and probably to his eating habits as well. We did manage to successfully bathe around 25 dogs, which was no mean feat considering their shenanigans.
At the end of it all, there are a few things which intrigue me. What is it about dogs? May be if the event had been for a different cause, the turnout might have been lower. People probably would not have been as eager or excited. And that includes me. What is it about these hairy balls of hyperactivity, with those deep hypnotic eyes? It’s almost like they are some sort of a higher intelligence manipulating us into bending the knee and do their bidding, making them live a life of endless love. I won’t be surprised if one day they have had enough of us humans and finally decide to burst our bubble and reveal their true intelligence; a doggie invasion incoming. Remember, I gave the first ever warning.
Well whatever the case, we dog lovers cannot help but always just love them! Today’s excursion gave me a sense of fulfilment that I have not experienced in a long time! There was something about meeting fellow dog lovers, the people with whom I could have diverse discussions. There was something about being with so many creatures I dearly love and with likeminded people who think similarly which filled me up with an energy. A desire to work hard for a cause. To make a difference.
And I guess we did make a difference. Cause a representative from dog shelter appreciated our work and gave us blessings, “May dog bless you”.
What else do we need! Until next time …
[box title=”About the author:” border_width=”3″ border_color=”#e07a3f” border_style=”solid” bg_color=”#ffffff” align=”left” text_color=”#000000″]Saumil Shrivastava is a final year student from MIT Pune (Electronics and Telecommunications dept). He has started volunteering very recently with Bhumi. His two major hobbies involve football and writing –
a professional footballer, playing at a first division club and for college, and writes short stories and articles as well.[/box]