Common FAQs that every community caregiver should know
Animals may be voiceless, but as a community, we should always stand up for them and speak up on their behalf. As a regular community caregiver, we often come across street animals that are in distress, unfortunately.
If you are/have been a pet parent or a regular at community care, especially dogs or cats, you must have observed them closely and might be aware of different types of rescue cases. But, if you have just started with community care, here are a few commonly asked questions:
Q. What should I do if I see an injured dog/cat?
A. If you see an injured street dog or cat, the first and foremost step should be to shift them to a safe and deserted location. From a safe distance, calmly try to locate the injured spots. If it is a minor one, you can contact the local Vet and perform the basic first-aid as per their direction.
Unless you are a trained professional, never attempt to treat the animal yourself or give any medication as a precautionary measure. Inappropriate medicines or treatments can worsen the dog’s or cat’s overall condition.
Unfortunately, if it is a major injury that seems life-threatening, do not touch them. It might aggravate their pain. Please try and contact a local rescuer, rescue organisation, or an animal shelter. Some of them also help with resources to either aid the injury or rehabilitate the animal. Until the concerned authority arrives, try comforting the animal by speaking softly to them and offering food/water. Do not try to force feed them in such situations.
In worst-case scenarios, if you cannot reach out to welfare organisations, try contacting a trusted Vet.
Q. I see a mother dog/cat and her litter, what should I do?
A. If you see a mother with her litter, the best thing you can do is keep an eye on them and ensure they have a safe location and are protected from weather and traffic elements. Creating a temporary shelter by hooking up flex and leaving some blankets during the cold/rainy seasons helps, too. You can also engage a local NGO that may help deworm and vaccinate them, and in future also help with spaying/neutering.
Q. If we find a pup/kitten all alone, what should I do?
A. First, ensure that the pup/kitten is in a safe, traffic-free zone. Engage a local NGO to deworm and vaccinate the pup/kitten. If you are considering taking them home, ensure that you are willing to care for them for life, because finding homes for Indian streeties is a challenge. If you do manage to get them adopted, please follow up on the adoption and be willing to take them back if something goes wrong with the adoption.
Q. How do you care for a motherless litter?
A. Do not pick them up unless you know 100% that you or someone else can care for them for as long as they need this, maybe their entire life. One of the cruellest things to do is to pick up a stray pup/kitten, let them get used to being a pet, and then abandon them back on the streets. Many people make this mistake without thinking it through in the spur of the moment.
Q. If the shelter I approached does not have any room for the litter and I cannot look after them, what is the next best option?
A. This is a very unfortunate situation to be in, exactly the kind one should avoid, as mentioned above. The next best thing to do is to look for further credible shelters or approach NGOs for help. If you live in an area with an active local group for animals, it may be a good idea to approach them as well.
Common myths about community animal care
- It is the same formula for all community animals and their caregivers
- It is time-intensive and expensive
- All animals need ours or a shelter’s help
- You can only do it if you are an animal lover
- The only way to contribute to them is by donating or working on the ground