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The rising cases of Rabies in India have prompted some diligent pet lovers to tackle this life threatening disease with their own small but very significant efforts. Mumbai based community – “The Metropolitan Anti Rabies Movement” carries out vaccinations on stray dogs and cats, in various localities of Mumbai, every weekend. The group has been founded by two young men Mr. Darshak Shah and Mr. Abhishek Bhowmick. With this interview we wish to acknowledge their marvelous efforts, and we truly hope that it inspires others to care for those who can’t really seek help for themselves.
1. What does your community do?
Our Group’s name is “The Metropolitan Anti Rabies Movement” which does anti -rabies vaccinations for the street animals such as cats and dogs.
2. What inspired you to undertake this noble cause?
The rising number of dogs with rabies and difficulties in identifying the symptoms have lead us to undertake this task. Rabies is a deadly disease. Another alarming aspect is that the infected dog may bite other animals or humans, thus spreading the menace further. When it comes to the number of deaths due to rabies, India comes at a second number.
Today we are a polio-free country. And we believe that with continued efforts we can easily become a rabies-free country soon.
3. How many stray dogs have you vaccinated so far?
We have vaccinated 840 animals in 28 weeks, and our aim is to vaccinate non-stop for up to 52 weeks.
4. What difficulties (if any) do you face while vaccinating the stray dogs?
We sometimes encounter dogs which are aggressive, or who just run away from us. Our strategy is simple. We first vaccinate the more friendly dogs and then we try to approach the dogs which are not really used to human touch. We do not use any kind of equipment to get hold of the canine as it’s painful and unfriendly.
Holding them with our own hands, we administer the vaccine. We believe that our touch would calm them, and hence make the job simpler.
5. What do you do to make people aware about your cause? And how do you finance it?
We believe that rising number of rabies cases, which prompted us to take action, is enough to make people aware of its dangers. Abhishek Bhowmick sponsors vaccines, which we buy in bulk at wholesale prices. Buying at wholesale prices also helps us buy more vaccines.
Usually it happens that people who give something as donation try to influence the work. We neither seek nor accept any vaccinations as we want to run our community the way we wish to without any interference. Being full-time working professionals, we have to strike a balance between our work and our life. So having our dream project financed by our own selves is one of the principles with which we started this anti-rabies movement.
Self-financing gives us flexibility to love and care our dear canines.
6. Do you own a pet? If yes, which pet you have?
No, we don’t have a pet but we believe that all street animals are our pets.
7. Can you share with us any interesting experience related to your anti-rabies movement?
Every week we get to see and feel such great things that it’s difficult to isolate one specific moment. Going with us on any one of our vaccination drives would make you understand and experience it first-hand.