People across India are taking a beating of one of the worst winters seen in a long time.
But as humanity would demand - we must do something to make it easier for the stray cats and dogs we see on the roads, inside our societies and anywhere nearby our house.
And how can we do it? By adopting a few (if not all) measures listed below.
1. Usually an empty stomach can hurt more. Start by feeding them.
Dogs, when hungry, cannot utilize their body's warmth to help themselves.
2. Look for temporary shelters - in the parks, corners and sheds around your house.
Staying on the road in the cold at night can be tougher than you can imagine. The temperature falls sharply post midnight and finding a spot for the dogs to sleep can be the best thing you can do for them.
3. Make temporary shelter using cardboard, leftover boxes, used tires, etc.
Making a temporary shelter is easier than finding a shelter. You can use plastic bags, cardboard boxes and bricks to create a temporary shelter for dogs with newborn puppies.
4. Leave your gate/shed open for stray cats or dogs to settle at night.
If you stay in separate unit, it is upon you to provide some space for stray animals to take shelter after the sun sets. Use old clothes/curtains/bed sheets to cover them.
5. Buy fleece jackets/sweaters for stray animals you see on the road every day.
Fleece jackets or regular-sized jackets for dogs are available at every dog shop or clinic. A regular one should cost you ₹100-₹200 depending on the quality.
6. Feeding them regularly? Change their diet during the winter season.
Just like humans, animals too need energy to survive the cold weather. Changing their diet can do the job for you.
7. Dogs are often vulnerable under their paws. Treat it to give them some respite.
During harsh winters, dogs and cats can suffer from swelling in their paws. You can treat it using Betadine (a combination used to heal wounds) and salt.
8. Check under your vehicles before turning on the engine.
A lot of times stray cats and small puppies take shelter under a car or in the space between the frame and the wheels. Be careful before you start your vehicle and make sure to check before driving away.
9. Motivate your friends to report any injured stray animal and ensure it can be treated on time.
Awareness is important to address a cause properly. Asking your friends to be empathetic towards stray animals can actually help your cause better.
10. If nothing works, inform your local NGO or your local municipal corporation unit about an injured stray animal.
Sometimes when you are helpless, a local group or organization might be of your help. You can contact PFA (people for animals) or visit a local municipal corporation office to address your issue.
If you understand how difficult it must be to survive on the streets without food, without shelter and without any reason to feel safe, then you can understand the plight of stray animals.