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Give them the gift of your time

Last updated: 26 February, 2010

If you cant keep a pet, there are other ways in which you can enjoy the company of animals. Many young people today are volunteering at animal welfare organisations, and reaping the rewards of unconditional love.

Achala Paani is the founder of Let’s Live Together (http://letslivetogether. wordpress.com), a not-for-profit organisation with the mission of getting stray dogs off the streets and into loving homes. A graphic designer with a degree from Chitra Kala Parishath, Achala helps run her family business while devoting herself to her work for animals. Achala can be contacted by email (letslivetogether.in @gmail.com).


Manjunath Lakshman, a commercial artist who runs an advertising firm, has been a volunteer with Let’s Live Together since its inception. With his large number of contacts, he coordinates the adoption camps, arranging for the shamiana, handling the printing requirements, and so on. Manjunath loves dogs but has decided not to keep any for the moment as he can’t give them the care they need. Instead, he looks after eight street dogs — community dogs, as he call them — near his office. They are fed and sheltered, and two have been sterilised so far. Unlike other animal welfare NGOs, LLT focuses on puppies, he says, as this can ensure them a better future and get dogs off the road in the long run. Once the puppies are placed in adoptive homes, LLT follows up for a few months to make sure they are well cared for.

Santosh Rajashekar, a software engineer at IBM and a managing committee member of CUPA, claims that helping animals is his main work, while his job is his hobby. “Stress at work is inevitable,” he says, “but if you’re looking for stress busters, no sauna, gym workouts or sport can match up to the joy with which your pets greet you. The magic is indescribable.” He urges people who have lost a loved pet to adopt another from the CUPA shelter. Log onto http://bloggers-bark .blogspot.comfor adoptions details and pictures.

Meera Sankar, a college student, and Ahalya Raman, a high school student, both volunteer at the CUPA shelter, bathing the animals, taking them for walks and so on. “I’ve always loved animals,” says Meera, “and found them interesting to watch and play with. It makes a nice break from the daily routine, and feels good to help them in some way.” Ahalya said she derived a lot of satisfaction from doing something for animals who had been treated badly in the past.

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