What do you do when you see a stray puppy?

When we see a litter of pups on the street, you instinctively want to pick them up and take them home so you can protect them. Despite your best intentions, this may not be the best thing to do. Why? And how else can you help?

We thought it best to get these questions answered by someone with a lot of experience in the area. So we got in touch with Tanya Kane from ResQ in Pune and she kindly answered our questions.

ResQ was opened way back in 2007 and has been helping countless animals since then. Tanya is Head of their Rehoming Centre and here’s what she had to say –

If we see a mother with her pups on the street and want to help, what is the best thing to do?

If you see a mother with pups, 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 a 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 spay/neuter.

If we find a pup all alone, what should we do?

First, ensure that the puppy is in a safe, traffic-free zone. Engage a local NGO to deworm and vaccinate the pup. If you are considering taking the puppy home, ensure that you are willing to care for it for life, because finding homes for Indian street dogs is a challenge. If you do manage to get it adopted, please follow up on the adoption and be willing to take it back in if something goes wrong with the adoption.

How do you care for a motherless puppy?

Do not pick up the puppy unless you know 100% that you or someone else can care for this animal for as long as it needs it, maybe its entire life. One of the cruellest things to do is to pick up a stray pup, let it get used to being a pet, and then abandon it back on the streets. Many people make this mistake without thinking it through in the spur of the moment.

If the shelter I approached does not have room for this puppy and I cannot look after him/her myself, what is the next best option?

This is a very unfortunate situation to be in, exactly the kind one should avoid, as mentioned above. This situation becomes heart-breaking for the person and is also extremely hard on the pup. So my hope is that these kinds of informative posts will help to reduce such instances. Most often, shelters are already burdened, and puppies are not able to survive disease pressure that is a reality at shelters. So think before you act and you won’t be in this situation at all.