Unable to leave dogs, couple stay back in flooded home

Over the last four years, Sunitha used to take care of stray dogs.

Even as their neighbours shifted to relief camps after floodwater entered houses, Sunitha (41) and her husband Shinto didn't feel like leaving their home, as more than 40 stray dogs under their care would be left at the mercy of the water.

"Even when we went out to have some food these days, the dogs would scream. Many of them have survived the 2018 floods. Hence we don't even feel like going to relief camps leaving them here," says Sunitha, a resident of Thalikulam, about 20 kilometres from Thirussur town in central Kerala.

Over the last four years, Sunitha used to take care of stray dogs. While their thatched house hardly had space for Sunitha and Shinto, they accommodated the dogs as they loved them.

Sunitha works as a collection agent for a private financial firm and Shito is an autorickshaw driver. The meagre income they earn is spent on the dogs.

"Last year when the floodwaters entered here, we struggled a lot as there was not even a proper kennel for the 25 odd dogs with us then. NGOs and animal lovers came across our plight and provided raised kennels by spending about Rs 1.5 lakh. Hence many dogs are safe now even if flood water raises by a couple of feet," Sunitha told DH.

Sunitha says that she started taking care of dogs when one of the neighbours wanted to abandon puppies of a stray dog that delivered at their house. Thereafter people started leaving injured dogs and stray dogs under their care. Animal lovers from various places including other states, who knew Sunitha's plight, used to send dog food and medicines occasionally.

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