Whenever I see my phone ring with an unknown number, I get a sinking feeling in my stomach. Most of the time the call is in distress, with an animal seeking urgent help. There is a bit of confusion about what Floof does and how we go about helping animals, so I am hoping our story will bring some clarity and ease in the process of helping them.
Floof started in 2018 to build a network of welfare workers, volunteers and animal lovers. The idea is that through a quirky animal-friendly apparel line, volunteers will receive funds to attend to the injured animal that they have spotted on the road. The logic behind that is that if the finances are taken care of, then the volunteer will be empowered to take responsibility of the animal and take it to the vet or the shelter. Animal shelters are almost always running on full capacity, so we try to provide on-site treatment to the strays. In such situations the typical expenses are:
1) Transportation to the private vet (could be a single visit or multiple depending on the extent of the injury)
2) Examination and medicine charges (severe cases requiring x-rays or chemotherapy are more expensive than a maggot wound.
There are also several instances where the injuries could be avoided by a simple method: feeding nutritious food to strays. Healthy food means healthy dogs. A full stomach makes sure that dogs don’t wander away from their area for food and not get into fights over a meal. If they’re full, they’re sleeping in their safe spots away from traffic. So beyond treating injured animals, Floof supports feeders in providing strays with healthy food.
If you ask my personal goal in all this, I would say it is to find homes for stray animals. A house is the safest place for strays, where they can love freely and express themselves without any fear. Helping humans adopt strays also means that they don’t go for purchasing dogs, which is usually from an illegal breeder (there are only a handful legal ones). Illegal breeders often mistreat the mother dog, often confined to a cage and only let out to breed. Their pups are removed before they should (which is 8 weeks) cause a lot of medical issues in the pups as well. I don’t want to get into how awful the animal breeding industry is, but rather focus on reducing the demand by making people adopt perfectly healthy and happy Indie dogs.
Since lockdown began, it was humans who were put into cages while animals roamed free. I saw many memes about how nature is healing and animals are thriving, but the reality in urban cities was far from the fantasy portrayed in the memes. Stray animals in urban cities are completely dependent on humans for food. They scavenge garbage bags or wait for restaurants and shops to show kindness by giving them leftovers at the end of the day. But all of that suddenly stopped, without a warning. Thus started the chaotic yet somewhat structured movement for helping stray animals with food.
In Pune, we built a database of feeders, understood the areas which are covered and the areas which need to be covered. A lot of feeders went from feeding their usual 10-20 strays to over a 100 strays. But collectively within a few weeks, we were able to identify over 600 feeders in Pune and help them with Government permissions, fuel and food. A huge credit for the feeding drives goes to the animal NGOs, especially RESQ Charitable Trust and Karma Foundation who managed to provide feeders with over 50000 kilos of food. To put things into perspective, one stray dog consumes about 10 kg of dog food every month, if fed one meal a day. So through NGOs, volunteers received enough food to feed over 5000 strays for 1 month. But the population of strays in Pune is over ₹200,000! So the task at hand was to make sure as many dogs got food as possible. Floof managed to provide about 8000 kilos of dog food and about a 1000 kilos of poha. When mixed together in water, it became a filling and affordable meal. A past few months have been incredible and the amount of work taken by volunteers restores my faith in humanity. Appreciation for their efforts and encouragement can only help the volunteers so much. They need money so that they can buy food for stray animals and medicines for the injured.
Here is a glimpse of the lockdown work done:
Floof completed 25 adoptions. 23 dogs and 2 cats. We had to travel long distances in peak lockdown, sometimes at 4 am to avoid the police!
Floof funded treatment for over 50 animals in the lockdown.
One special case was of Champ, who was subject to being hit on the face with a sharp object and then thrown acid on his face. With the help of donors, we raised over ₹200,000 for his care, surgery and post op recovery.
We helped over 100 volunteers get funds to purchase food to feed strays.
With many migrant labourers stranded in Pune, Floof provided new clothes for them in order to boost hygiene and moral.
To help stray animals in India, email our founder on firstname.lastname@example.org or WhatsApp 9049056193.