KATHMANDU, Sept 24: Someone once said that in a perfect world every dog has a loving home. Dogs have always been a part of my life, not as pets but as members of my family. But when I see street dogs starving, getting beaten and dying, it breaks my heart.
What’s happening to the dogs on the streets is absolutely inhumane. Some generous people give them food or pet them while there are still many of us who say they are dog lovers, and yet they just walk by, doing nothing except showing pity and sympathy.
So what can we do? Not all of us can take home every dog we see. However, there are many places that you can call which will help dogs rehabilitate and be healthy again. One of these places is an organization called the Kathmandu Animal Treatment Centre (KAT Centre) that is located in Budhanilkantha.
I volunteered at the KAT Centre during my summer holidays this year, and the experience was such an eye opener. It showed me just how much dogs have to suffer, and just how desperately they need our help. It was heartbreaking to watch the dogs come there suffering from all sorts of ailments, most of which were inflicted by us, humans. But as I spent time there I saw them getting healthier and happier.
KAT Center first opened their doors to street dogs on May 9 in 2004. The center’s founder is Jan Salter. There was a time when the government allowed a decision to poison more than 10,000 street dogs with strychnine in the name of controlling the dog population. The poison would cause the dogs to go through violent seizures for up to nine hours before they finally died.
“It’s a shame that in many respects we are no better than ‘the Yulin festival’ where they eat dog meat”, says Deepesh Dhakal, Communication Officer of KAT Centre. And that is really sad considering we must be the only nation where we worship dogs on the day of ‘Kukur Puja’. But seeing the way we treat dogs the rest of the year, I wonder if we treat our ‘Gods’ like this how will we treat each other.
After an agreement was made between the government and the KAT Centre, the government agreed to stop poisoning the dogs.
In KAT Centre they focus on rescue, vaccine (especially for rabies) rehabilitation, treatment, and birth control. Once they’ve recovered, the center frees the dogs back on the streets unless they get adopted. Sadly if a dog can’t be helped or healed they can’t let the dog back on the streets, so to end the suffering they have to put the dog down. KAT Centre also educates people, mainly the youth about dogs, and how to treat them properly.
If you see an injured dog, you can simply call KAT Centre’s helpline and save the dog’s life. They have emergency rescue trucks to attend the injured dogs. You can also donate a little amount to help them create more centers which are bigger and comfortable for the dog. Apart from monetary help you can also donate food, blankets, toys, or you can even volunteer your free time to help the organization take care of the dogs.
We all want to make the world better, so why not start by building places that will care for dogs? For now at least there is KAT Centre – a loving home for every dog!
Aarya is a tenth grader at Lincoln School in Kathmandu.