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"Like a Dog Foundation’- Treating animals with care—GetBengal story

27 April, 2024 10:00:01

Animals are either deified in our culture or reduced to disdain. There is no in-between. Awareness about animal care is a recent development that should have existed from the beginning. Many diseases spread through animals, of which we are unaware, and they suffer just as much as human beings, though they often seem invisible and insignificant. However, this thoughtless attitude is gradually changing, thanks to organisations like the ‘Like a Dog Foundation.’

‘Like a Dog Foundation’ is a non-profit organisation based in Kolkata that treats animals and conducts short drives and campaigns to help pet caretakers who cannot afford expensive treatments. They assist not only pets but also street animals, which are often seen as free-roaming by the foundation.

Founded in 2014 by sisters Dr. Reshmi Sensharma, VMD, and Sweta Sensharma, who is currently the director, the organisation later became a registered non-profit under Section 8, with the sisters as directors. Sankalpa Ghose, the third co-founder and advisor, joined in 2015 in a more direct capacity. Director Sweta Sensharma explained that the foundation's inspiration is simple: "Our love for all animals and the understanding that all our community animals require a little bit of medical attention to live a long, healthy life, which only requires vaccination, spaying and neutering surgeries, and occasional medical intervention."

When asked about her view on how animals are treated by society, she mentioned that there exists a space in Kolkata that provides a community of caregivers for animals. They also have a network of local volunteers who can help access medical facilities for helpless and lone animals. She acknowledged that cruelty does exist against destitute animals, especially in overcrowded areas. To combat this, their aim is "to control the population (spay and neuter) and the spread of diseases (vaccinations)."

To achieve this aim, they organise a Community Animal Care Week, conducting mega vaccine drives over a short period, usually held between March 1 and March 10. This year, they partnered with the International Veterinary Students Association, Kolkata, and with the help of these aspiring veterinary doctors, they conducted many vaccine drives across the city. They administered over 1200 vaccines to more than 575 animals, targeting main areas like Palm Avenue, Topsia, Tiljala, Tangra, Garia, Shyambazar, Shovabajar, Bagbazar, and Sonagachi. The vaccinations included anti-rabies, DHPPiL, FVRCP, etc. The organisation relies on donations, and 100% of donor-supported vaccinations are used to treat animals. Donations can be made easily by visiting their website,

In addition to critical vaccinations, basic preventive care is provided to animals encountered during the drives, with surgeries performed during this period. Over 60 spay and neuter surgeries were conducted in areas like Burrabazar and Rajabazar. Although the name includes 'dog,' they do not exclusively cater to dogs but to all animals, be they roaming freely in streets or pets, as all equally need help. However, they primarily assist destitute animals that lack access to hygiene and medical care to prevent the spread of diseases. Their vaccination prevents the spread of diseases like rabies and other dangerous diseases even if these animals come in contact with humans.

They also provide online and in-person training to aspiring veterinarians, especially before the Community Animal Care Week, to equip volunteers with knowledge and expertise to handle all kinds of situations in case of an emergency. This year, the in-person training session was conducted at Offbeat CCU, 26/F Topsia Road, Kolkata, with Dr. Reshmi Sensharma. At times, the training is also held online for those who cannot attend physically. Sweta Sensharma emphasised, "Compassion is Contagious," which is their tagline and basic principle. She urged everyone associated with the foundation to spread love and compassion, stating that it takes very little to show compassion to everyone, humans, and animals alike. "As a society, if we choose to be more compassionate, there would be a lot fewer problems to deal with," she added with finality.

Foundations like 'Like a Dog Foundation' are essential today. Very recently in Gujarat, a stray dog bite killed a college student despite taking the anti-rabies vaccine, as the dog was rabid. Hence, every stray dog needs to be vaccinated and free from diseases. 'Like a Dog Foundation' does commendable work, and we can show our love and support by donating to care for these animals or by volunteering to help prevent the spread of contagious diseases and showing compassion by aiding in their treatments. Only then can we claim to be great animal lovers.

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