If the stray dogs and cats that inhabit the area near Nariman House, Colaba could talk, they would reveal quite a story. Every morning, over 20 dogs and 35 cats in the area lie in wait to be served breakfast. Rice, chicken, and turmeric, sometimes vegetables – all cooked together to make a nutritious meal. And it doesn’t stop at food alone. An injured dog can expect to be nursed back to health. Unspayed ones are spayed and set back on the streets. What’s more, from merely being strays on the road, the dogs are elevated to the status of community dogs.
All this is possible because the dogs of Nariman House, Colaba have a good Samaritan to thank for the nutrition, health and love- Saraswati Menon.
Originally from Kerala, she was brought up in Chennai. Her love for animals was fostered in her by her dad who used to foster and care for stray dogs. “It began early when I, following my dad’s example, started feeding dogs near our house with the leftovers that our dog, who was a fussy eater, refused to eat”. Menon fondly recalls how, after she moved to Mumbai, she slowly started winning the trust of the dogs here by beginning to feed them. Since then, there has been no looking back as she has continued the good work of feeding and caring for them. Today, 30 years later, this 67-year-old still assiduously wakes up, gathers the food that she has cooked for them into 2 carrier bags and sets out looking for her animals. She calls them by their individual names which were given to them by her.
“If I don’t feed them, they’ll go hungry. I will never let that happen,’’ said Menon. Rain or shine, it is a routine that Menon will never trade for anything. This activity takes up about an hour and a half and used to cost her about 7000 rupees per month. Now, the entire community helps her out with the expenses which she is very happy and proud about. Menon has also neutered and vaccinated all the dogs she feeds and says this is her way of managing the stray population. “Neuter them and feed them daily and you will not face any trouble from street dogs,’’ she said. She is currently planning a move back to Chennai and wants to implement some plans to get the remaining dogs neutered before she leaves. “They depend on me and it is my responsibility to ensure they are taken care of during my absence,’’ she added as she spoke about moving back to Chennai.
We at WeLove Animals Foundation are happy to announce that we have taken over the reins. Led by our founder Mohit Lalvani and his wife Mumtaz Lalvani, we are currently working with Ms. Menon on the full set of services, which would aid to achieve all her goals with regards to our precious animals.