Good Samaritans, invisible and mute, abound in our city in every nook and corner. One could be standing right beside you in a crowded bus and you would never know. They are there not only for you but also for the them that are without voices of their own, the four legged, the unmovable – waving their branches and breathing life.
I chanced upon a bunch of such Good Samaritans in the Jadavpur University campus, where I study. Hira, a lean, honey-coated dog who hung around near gate number 4 of the University and was a favourite among students who ate there, was injured last month, perhaps in a car accident. She sustained an injury in her left hind leg. In the beginning it was only a minor wound and the students thought that it would heal by itself. But a week later the cut deteriorated- the wound was almost torn open with maggot infestation and gangrene setting in. A bunch of students who care for the strays in the campus soon got on their feet and called for action.
Hira refused food. She was extremely dehydrated and urgently needed saline drops. The hospital costs were estimated to be around Rs. 3000. Soon the students convened and spread the word about Hira through social media as well as class campaigning. Around five thousand rupees was collected through crowdfunding and an extended fund was raised her and for other such emergencies. Hira was soon moved to the Love & Care Pet Clinic where she received a skin drafting and is now recovering. Hira will be back in the campus to the head pats and snuggles of the students by next week. The Good Samaritans, caving under the weight of their backpacks and scurrying around the campus to get into class on time, managed to save a life just as precious as our own.
But Hira is not the only one. A campus favourite, Don, who hung around near the Worldview building, a popular spot in the campus, was meticulously taken care of in his remaining last days. After his passing, Don was given a proper funeral that was attended by both students and professors who loved him. Milo, who is also frequently spotted near Worldview and often cuddled by her admirers, was suffering from Vaginal Cancer. The same bunch of students took care of her treatment and now she is completely recovered, healthy and happy.
Dogs (and cats) in this campus are much loved and taken care of where other colleges in the city have been known to impose fines on the students for feeding strays or banning them altogether. Kabul, a gorgeous, stout, black stray with shiny, plush fur, is seen to hang around in the Green zone near Gate number 3 and is a campus darling. Strays are fed by students near all the canteens. Some of them are even seen wandering inside the corridors and classrooms to the displeasure of many. But the people who love them has always outnumbered those that don’t want them around and so, all the strays without a home have found one here.
There is also a Rehabilitation centre/ Distressed animal centre in the campus that houses seven dogs rescued from in and around the campus. They are regularly treated and sprayed with tick sprays and D-Mags. The same bunch of students and other volunteers in the University take them out for regular walks and try to rehabilitate them with the other dogs in the campus. They are also being put up for adoption.
On social media, an official private group can be found called JUDogs where information for adoption are put up and news about distressed and injured animals are communicated. A loose group of five to ten students who are dedicated to the welfare of the strays ceaselessly work for them amidst the tremendous pressure of studies and other academic work. A professor had also curated a list of things that any student can do to take care of the dogs in the campus including feeding them properly, bringing leftovers for the strays after a big feast, asking the canteens in the campus to keep a dog bucket, becoming foster parents to the dogs and taking care pf their vaccinations, deworming, minor ailments, being part of a sterilisation task force and many more. Several professors are also very vocal about animal rights and provide all the support and assistance to these students.
It is because of these Good Samaritans that so many poor lives have been saved, the campus has been sensitised to animal rights, and scores of strays have found a safe haven and a home surrounded with loving and caring people. We can only hope that all the campuses in the city take up a similar stance, save more lives and spread the unconditional love.
Credit : Arya Chatterjee, Ishita Majumder(members of the rescue group) and JUDogs for research.
Professor Rimi B. Chatterjee, Ishita Majumder, Himika Chakraborty, Debanjan Dhar and JUDogs for pictures.