Saturday, July 2, 2011

Our rescues and other stories….

Our latest rescue has scabies
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated” – a quote by Mahatma Gandhi (though not attributed to him) adorns the walls of the two vets we often visit with our 12 rescue cats and 2 dogs.

Having known both the vets for over three years, I can safely conclude that the poster means little to them or their well-heeled clientele who feel love only for purebreds. The passion that the vets reserve for purebreds is missing when they examine mongrels – even though the fee charged for both is the same! Pursuing the agenda of breed-worshippers obviously suits them.

Sometime last year I was happy to learn about a Facebook page, floated by two Karachi-based women (henceforth referred to as M&M), for the welfare of animals. I joined the group and like some others posted pictures of our rescues hoping to get them adopted. We never got lucky with adoptions; still I was pleased that M&M were putting in their two cents to create awareness about animal welfare.

Having rescued 12 cats and a pup our hands and home were too full (and pockets quite empty) to entertain the idea of adopting yet another severely infected pup found by our neighbour’s guard last week. Also, with the adoption rate of our rescues being zero we often worry about their fate when we eventually bid Khuda Hafiz to Pakistan.

However, we could not bring ourselves to ignore the two-month old itching and bleeding pup. A trip to the vet confirmed that the pup, just like the one we had rescued two months ago and still under medication, needed long-term treatment. We were also told to keep ourselves and our other rescues away from the pup -- diagnosed with scabies and a severe fungal infection.

We had spent several thousand rupees on the treatment of our first pup (with approximately the same symptoms and more) in the past two months, so on a friend’s suggestion we decided to contact M&M for help.

We were pleased with their instant response. They wanted numbers of Islamabad vets (even though the numbers existed on their website) so that they could get the pup picked up from our home. We were elated.

Two days later, the pup with scabies and fungal infection was still with us. We decided to send M&M a reminder. Their reply brought tears to our eyes. M&M said they would take care of the boarding/vaccination/medication/food costs of the pup (howsoever long that takes), pay a visit to the pup and help him get adopted.

On the fourth day, we were still waiting for M&M to speak to the vet. By now we were already paying for the pup’s daily visits to the vet. We sent another reminder asking M&M to let us know their decision “asap”.

M&M’s reply, 24-hours later, was a shocker. “This is to let you know ASAP that we cannot afford the treatment of the pup…”; asking us to look for another “sponsor”; and with no apologies whatsoever.

The pup’s getting better and is the newest addition to our family. We are glad we could help him before he was shot dead by civic authorities on some neighbour’s complaint. As for M&M, they are busy preaching animal welfare to their “fans” on Facebook!

The pup after six weeks of treatment. We call him Rocco.


  1. He's so...adorable. Would have loved to adopt him. Unfortunately, I'm 1000s of kms away :(

  2. Thanks Soumya :) Yes, he is indeed adorable!

  3. Good that u keep pets for a cause and not just for show off.There r plenty of high handed swagger's around who claim to run a charity and give ornate speeches[or write ups in this case]but back out when it comes to actually implementation.
    I know dogs r a handful.How do u manage with dogs and cats in the same house?

  4. Soumya, if you really want to adopt him -- just shoot me a mail :)

    Pichkari, thanks. Let me upload pics and leave a link here for you to check my dog and cat pics :)

  5. Dear Lamat,

    I sincerely apologize for the misunderstanding.

    I had wanted to personally help this pup, and said in my reply (asap - since you requested a reply urgently) that while I could not personally afford it, would get PAWS to cover part of the costs, and meant that perhaps others would also like to contribute. In any case, PAWS did find a vet offering lower treatment costs, even if that meant bringing the pup to Karachi.

    But then you said a 'real animal lover' with a 'real offer' had offered to help the pup, so I stepped back.

    I would also like to clarify that I did not 'ask you to look for another sponsor', and was quite taken aback by the misunderstanding.

    Mahera Omar
    Pakistan Animal Welfare Society

    Karachi, Pakistan

  6. Dear Mahera,

    I have just left a reply on the PAWS page as well.

    Your reply to my email seeking help with the pup was surely not "ASAP". Waking up after three reminders and two days is not ASAP!

    Please remember that I had a itching and bleeding pup with me. His case, as you can see from the picture, is still so bad that the vet refuses to board him because he can infect other animals and has also told me to stay away from him(I got ITCHY too!).

    I wasn't looking for sponsors at all Mahera. This friend, who eventually offered to help with the pup, was also the one who suggested that I seek your help.

    About the other "misunderstanding" about looking for another sponsor I'd suggest you please read that email again. I just did.

    I see no misunderstanding in this case. I just think I understand PAWS much better now. I am sure you are doing great work. The best to you in the future too! I just think our styles don't match. I prefer instant action and cent per cent involvement. For me ASAP is in the here and now -- and not in the distant future!


    An Indian in Pakistan

  7. Don't mind me saying this Lamat but you should at least ask the vet if he has a good chance of recovery. if he doesn't, you'd much rather put him off to sleep. That will do him much better than a painful life.

  8. Anon, I did not mind that all! The good news is Rocko's scabies is under control and he is looking much better. In fact, I had discussed the idea of putting him to sleep in my very first visit to the vet. He disagreed with me.

  9. Not wanting to sound judgmental or anything, but do Pakistani Animal Rights activists also take to vegetarianism like Maneka's PETA people?

  10. Swordfishh, not that I am aware of...however,some personal friends, passionate animal activists, are now vegan.

  11. Thanks Ranjini. The pup is looking good now and is up for adoption. We are even considering getting him a home in India. :)

  12. Hey this was gr8 and gr8 effort by you guys.. and the doggie is shoo shoo CUTEEEE..