Oct 28 2020. views 503
Today on the Buzz I speak about our furry friends who are at Save a Paw with Love - which was established in 2015 by Shivanthi Silva to rescue stray dogs suffering from injuries, accidents, ailments, and abuse and take care of them till they are re-homed. They have 3 shelters in Ja-Ela, Padduka and Horana. If you would like to visit one of their shelters please do. You will see the amazing work which is done. I speak about the importance of giving priority to all lives, what this amazing lady has done, and how you can be apart of this amazing project too.
What made you start this project? When I was a kid I always grew up with a pet. I saw so many street dogs suffering from malnutrition, accident injuries, skin diseases, abused and tortured etc., all around the country. I always had a passion to bring hope for all these poor animals. Later in a small way, I was able to do many rescues and open up small shelters around Colombo. Then on 31 st December 2018, the labrador Charlie in Negombo was set on fire and I was the one who stepped up to take on this case against animal cruelty. I handled this dog in my own hands till his burial. From that day onwards I started raising my voice to the entire nation against animal cruelty. Day to day, the number of rescues increased and I needed my very own shelter. That's where Charlie's Home by Save A Paw was open on 11th January 2020 in memory of the burnt dog Charlie.
How has the support been for save a paw by the government and the public?
To be honest for Save a Paw I approached the previous Prime Minister and the concerned Ministers and handed over the proposals and I was the first person to do a silent protest to bring the animal welfare bill enacted in the country. It's really shocking and a shame to say that the government doesn't even know humans like us who exists and do their work for them.
Other countries appreciate when citizens do their work like this, unfortunately, Sri Lanka has no chance, or support when it comes to Animal welfare. However, I have carried on with the good-hearted people who are supporting me financially, physically and in many other ways. There are some kind genuine animal lovers who help us in donating dry rations, paying vet bills, paying transport etc.
What has been the biggest challenge in keeping this project going? To have a better place or a shelter, we started with paid Foster, then I obtained a small land on rent and built up our own shelter. our biggest issue is insufficient space and huge rents being paid. We need our very own spacious property in order to give a safe haven for these suffering souls.
The issue is, Sri Lanka doesn't believe in shelters, but the question comes when the community dogs have no place to go, then they only turn to people like us. I would say that at least the public in this country should be happy. At least there are a few genuine places like ours and they support us.
How many are in your care now? At this moment with special needs dogs, we cater to over 200 plus dogs at Charlie's home, but numbers always vary.
How can one contribute and help? There are many ways of how someone could help us in continuing this project.
What’s your daily routine like? We at Save a Paw start work by 6 am whether it's rain or sunshine. On the previous day, we always pre-plan the day for the next day. Which rescue to be picked up, which dog to be taken to vet and vet follow-ups. Cleaning all poo, cleaning the compounds because cleanliness is our number one priority at Charlie's home. All compounds are divided among 5 people and then we empty their bladders, wash the bottom parts of all disabled, dry them up, and put new bedding and all meds are given. Then other compounds' dogs' health conditions have to be checked by workers. If any dog is not doing well, we move them to the clinical isolation section, change their water bowls and give the special meals to the disabled, sick ones and pups.
Cooking starts at 8 am for the main meal. We have a separate lady for cooking. We use red rice, pumpkin, carrots, fish potatoes and spinach. While the cooking is going on, washing of the dog's bedding is going on. Checking all isolation sick dogs after our vet check, and required blood tests etc.. and the prescribed meds are given to all sick dogs by our fine vet nurses. Dogs that need to be on a special chicken diet get a separate meal cooked. Then the driver comes to take the new arrivals and take the dogs to our Vet. There's also checking the medicine stock at the clinic, checking on next day veggie stock, giving Saline for clinically isolated dogs, cleaning, washing, drying them and putting new beddings.
After all that the nurse will be doing a full round to check on all dogs at 3 pm, their mealtime. One worker takes the meal and does all the feeding and another makes sure everyone gets their potion. Apart from all this, the new arrivals come almost every day. We coordinate all the groundwork and transport till they arrive at the shelter and we raise funds which are required. Normally we don't wait for the money, we save the animal's life first. Checking all water bowls and refilling them, cleaning the poo again and again. Then if time permits will take them for a walk. If visitors come we do a full orientation for them. Not a single minute will be wasted at Save a Paw. It's a 24-hour operation because there are many dogs who need one to one care.
Can one come and volunteer and help out just for a day? Absolutely yes. There is a one-day orientation on what we do, how we clean the dogs and how we do bladder emptying on disabled. Take them for a walk, feed them, play with them and pet them and show them love, because every dog or pup here has gone through so much.
What are your thoughts on animal welfare issues in our country?
We still have a 100-year-old animal law in place and nothing has changed up to now. I personally hear and see so much cruelty and never-ending issues regarding animals. Many times I have conveyed this message to the relevant authorities to bring up the animal welfare bill into place. At last, we have many animal welfare communities and organisations in Sri Lanka. Sadly all of these organisations do not work hand in hand with agreeability and unity with each other to bring about a better future for our animals. I would like if all of these communities and organisations could come together as one and sit on one table with the relevant government authorities for proper discussion Regarding the innocent voiceless.