FBS Talkies is a talk show presented by Fur Ball Story. It’s a series of episodes where various pet-related issues are discussed with some highly reputed animal welfare workers, veterinary doctors & trainers.
For the first episode of FBS Talkies, we had Ms. Aavritee Naithani as our guest speaker. She runs a welfare center dedicated to animals called Sanjay Gandhi Animal Care Center (SGACC), New Delhi. The chat between Aavritee and our Co-Founder, Animesh Katiyar, was very productive and insightful. Multiple issues related to the life of a rescuer, how to rescue any animal, and doctors at the welfare center, were discussed. Moreover, some general behavioral issues that any pet faces and the steps to rectify them were talked about.
About Our Guest
Ms. Aavritee is a lawyer by profession and started working for animal welfare during 4th year of her college. Her shelter (SGACC) is the only animal care shelter in Delhi-NCR which is dedicated to all animals. As of now, it’s home to over 2500 animals ranging from dogs, cats, equines, cattle, other injured wildlife, and many more. The role of an animal shelter consultant and manager is a highly taxing one. SGACC, without any discrimination, is a haven for every animal who needs a home and especially those who require medical care and treatment.
Aavritee further explained her shelter’s daily routine. They rescue about 5-10 animals daily with the help of their self-owned, private, and government-run ambulances. They’re fully equipped to provide thorough care and treatment through their team of experienced vets and paramedics.
Rights & Laws for Animal Welfare Workers
The agenda of this video is to spread awareness among pet parents and welfare workers about their rights and laws and to be self-sufficient to tackle any situation. Upon asking about the same, Aavritee said that even before she became a lawyer, she educated herself about the basics of lodging an FIR and approaching police authorities to report cruelty acts. Further, she asserted that every animal lover must be aware of the “Prevention of Animal Cruelty Act” and have a copy of the interview she quoted, “One must be mentally prepared as there will be situations where you may have to sit in the police stations for hours to claim your rights and simultaneously educate the police personnel too, as not everyone is aware of these laws”. She continued to explain that one can report any gruesome act against an animal under Indian Penal Code (IPC) 428 & 429.
Career Opportunities for Animal Welfare Workers
The discussion then moved to a vea crucialstion that many seek an answer: “Is there a good and stable future in the career of a Shelter Manager/Animal Welfare Worker?”. Our guest responded in the affirmative saying that, if people like her, who have pursued professional courses and are well-educated, refuse to do anything for a social cause, then the whole point of education is a waste. Further, she informed that there are many organizations even of international recognition that provide steady careers as well as income for working towards such social causes.
We got to know that there’s also a skill development program for ‘Animal Health Workers’ provided by the Indian Institute of Skill Development Training. It is a 6-month course related to the development of livestock and small animals. Anyone with a basic level of education can pursue this course.
Life of Shelter Managers
We then proceeded to learn more about the life of a shelter manager and what it entails. Aavritee revealed that being a shelter manager means facing continuous criticism, at every step. She stated that it was a continuous and thankless job. One must be mentally prepared for it”.
There are two things to which she, as a shelter manager, gives the highest priority. First – is hygiene’, as half of the medical treatments go to waste if there’s no proper maintenance of hygiene and sanitation. Second – ‘Training’ of new people who want to join the movement as shelter workers or medical staff. She iterated that the job of a shelter manager involves a lot of multi-tasking, therefore, one must be resourceful as well as a problem solver.
Throughout the conversation, Aavritee was extremely concerned about the brutality against dogs and stated that “Dogs, without being a reason for any financial or economic loss for anyone, are being unnecessarily tortured and tormented. There are multiple incidents of such unprovoked brutality happening all over our country. Their main concern is food, and that is what forces them to travel to different areas. If you cannot feed them, then at least don’t hate the ones who are”. She again informed us that the constitution has described a fundamental duty on citizens under article 51 AG, that they must be compassionate towards their environment and living beings.
Understanding The Uncanny Behavior of Street Dogs
The last question for the episode was indeed a very common one- “Why is it that whenever we take our pet dogs out for walks, the community dogs tend to follow and even if we want to rescue them sometimes, they avoid us with aggression?”
Our Co-Founder, Mr. Animesh, gave quite insightful answer to this. He said, stray dogs are very territorial. Thus, at least for the initial days, the local dogs are unable to understand the reason behind the pet dog’s presence. So, they fear their resources being at risk. Animesh also added that pet parents should try to carry some food with them while heading out for a walk with their pets and feed them. This will eventually make the local dogs accept the pet and understand that it is not an enemy but a friend.
He also added, when it comes to rescuing an anxious/aggressive dog, there are two approaches: First is emergency, in which we must, unfortunately, also use force just to save the life of the dog. Not everything in animal rescue/welfare is sunshine! The second approach is a rather evolving one. If it’s not an urgent case, we can also use herbal supplements to calm down the dog.
To relax an anxious/stressed dog, a rescuer can give Ashwagandha-based tablets rather than melatonin, which can be dangerous if overdosed. Ashwagandha is a safer alternative and is scientifically proven to pacify an anxious/stressed dog.
Social Media Bullying of Animal Welfare Workers
The bonus question for this episode for our guest was related to social media bullying. To this, Aavritee answered that “Be it an animal welfare worker or a pet parent, who owns a pedigree dog, people tend to bully or comment on their social media posts without knowing the facts. Social media platforms are available to everyone and people sitting in one corner of the country comment on anything happening anywhere else, without verifying any facts. This culture should be alerted and eventually put an end to it. Many people and NGOs that are genuinely trying to do good work, suffer because of all this.”
Subscribe to our YouTube channel for more such interesting episodes where we have discussed various issues related to pets with highly reputable veterinary doctors, trainers, and welfare workers.