During the lockdown, many stray dogs were left hungry. They had to roam the streets and rummage the dump yards and garbage bins to find something to eat as all the shops, hotels, market and eateries were closed at Ramanagara near Bengaluru. “Finding dogs or any pet animals going hungry is unacceptable to us,” says H S Nagarjun, past president, RAC Shanthiniketan Ramanagara, RID 3190. The Rotaractors of this club feed at least 50 stray dogs in Ramanagara every day.
The initiative was first mooted by club president E Nagendra when he saw some dogs searching for food. Some even started chasing people as they became more aggressive with the non-availability of food. “India records more than 20,000 rabies cases a year and the disease is rising due to the huge growth of stray dogs in urban areas. Once you feed them, they become calmer and won’t hurt anyone,” says Nagendra.
The advisory by the Animal Welfare Board of India circulated two days before the first lockdown also “inspired us to do something for the strays. It said that feeding stray animals is an essential service and encouraged local authorities to allow people to feed street animals during the lockdown because, without that aid, large numbers of animals will suffer and die,” he says.
“We uploaded photos of our Rotaractors feeding the animals on social media to spread the message and encourage more people to replicate the kindness,” says Nagendra.
A salute to Karnataka State Police
The club expressed its gratitude to the police force by pinning Covid Warrior badges on 200 officers in Ramanagara. “They manned the roads and ensured that the lockdown was successful while risking their lives for us. While some laughed and mocked at them for being too strict in implementing the Covid rules, the policemen won our hearts as they stood there like a rock and made us stay indoors.”
ASI Keshav Murthy thanked the Rotaractors for this token of appreciation. “It’s a long road ahead for all of us. Please do treat all the Covid warriors with respect because each of us risks not just our lives but our family’s lives too, to keep you safe,” he said.
The club celebrated Senior Citizens Day with the inmates of Darideepa old age home. The highlight of the visit was when “two aged women taught us an old patriotic song,” recalls Nagarjun. Club members performed a scene from the Mahabharata and in the end the Rotaractors took a pledge that “we will never disrespect or desert our parents and will treat them with dignity when they need our support in their old age. It was an emotional moment for all of us,” he adds.
The Rotaractors also planted 1,000 saplings on the campus of Morarji Desai Residential School near Ramanagara.