From the Horse’s Mouth
Posted on July 18th, 2022
“Everything has to evolve, or else it perishes” ~ John Knowles
The last few months were testing. After one and a half years of numerous trips to the Assistant Commissioner of Charities’ office, we finally managed to process our organisation’s name change, and document our new name in various compliance departments. Although a couple of departments are still pending, we made it through to the other side of the tunnel.
Evolution takes time. In nature a small change takes thousands of years to manifest, sometimes more. But it’s necessary, and it’s a great teacher. The entire essence of the natural world is one of change, underscored with patience. We learnt to be patient too. We were evolving through a pandemic, and that in itself gave us ample time to process the changes we were going through.
We learnt to set small goals, and not become overwhelmed with the big changes that we would be tackling. We took things one step at a time. In so doing, our strategic planning skills improved – a valuable lesson indeed! We embraced our cliches, identified our faults, and took the chance to rectify them permanently. And we came closer as a team. Each one of us played their part and celebrated in the end as a team.
Every time we took a step forward, we practised gratitude. We realised we were being more grateful than we usually would be, and thanked the universe for giving us a chance to evolve and change.
We also realised that any change takes its own time. Worrying or agitating about the process is an exercise in futility. That time can instead be spent better to create awareness that will drive the change.
Both the Painted Lady Butterfly and Fox Moth become beautiful butterflies, one in 4 weeks, another in 5 years. Similarly, remember, for any aspect of the society to change too, complacence is counter-productive, but patience is the key!
Posted on April 5th, 2022
The pandemic was a negative event for humans, but positive for the animal kingdom. The world spotted more free roaming animals, on the roads and in the skies, as humans were restricted. Nature healed herself at so many places. Our hospital witnessed zero cases of hit and run in the months from April to October. Care takers brought sick animals even without any conveyance, carrying them in arms, in gunny sacks. The cup of Kindness was not affected.
But come November, as restrictions were lifted, humans went back to their original selves, uncaring about the animals they share their world with, and we started to witness a immense boost in man-animal conflict cases.
While we continue our work of nurturing sick and injured animals, we realise that Unleashing Kindness, which we experienced and extended during the pandemic, is the only non optional, non negotiable antidote to all malaise that has set in our society.
We also must use this opportunity to make people understand the importance of boycotting meat as food, and push to shut down slaughterhouses, especially, the round-the-corner illegal ones. The last 8 months has seen a humongous number of citizens growing organic fruits and vegetables on their terraces, balconies and even on window grills. This is the time to push for more of us to learn the science of Kind gardening, hydroponics and permaculture, without harsh use of chemicals. To look at how to be minimally invasive on Mother Earth and how to sustain ourselves with minimum.
Kindness needs to percolate into every sphere of our existence, if we decide never to confront yet another Pandemic again.
From ‘I’ to ‘We’
Posted on April 5th, 2022
This never before Covid – 19 situation has been a difficult time for humans and animals alike, made more difficult by isolation. It brought a lot of anxiety adding to the already existing ones of impending statutory changes, which has threatened to negatively impact flow of funds.
At the onset of the pandemic, the first and foremost concern was for the homeless – humans as well as animals! The State Govt. kept animals and livestock very low on priority, as is natural during any calamity.
There were very few sources of food and water for the animals. Dry food companies had closed down their godowns as most of them were in containment zones.
A considerable number of our staff abruptly left the city for their native villages because their landlords ousted them overnight., and from a full strength of staff, we were suddenly jolted into working the same hours with skeletal staff. With the shut down of transportation, the commuting for our existing staff became the biggest challenge, whether they were commuting from within Thane, or from as far as Asangaon and Vikramgadh. Police intolerance made matters worse
At the onset, veterinary services were not included in the list of essential services. A lot of animals were suffering as NGOs had closed down their ambulance services and private vets had shut their clinics.
Vegetable and food markets were open with strict timings making it impossible for us to buy food in bulk. Medicine supply, initially, was cut off completely. We had to suspend all surgeries.
Governing body could not meet regularly, accountant was a suspected case, and everyone held their breath.
- A lecture by Dr Krishnamurthy, CMO of Thane Municipal Corporation on the ‘What-Why-How’ of COVID-19, to satisfy doubts in the minds of our staff.
- We made it mandatory for all staff to use cloth masks, gloves and sanitisers without worrying about the expenses.
- All staff duties were rearranged. It was decided to pick up and drop all staff to and from their homes in our ambulances, from as far as Asangaon and Panvel.
- The medical staff volunteered to continue doing 6 shifts at a stretch, followed by a 2 day break, to ensure one ambulance was available to run for street animals every alternate day.
- We coordinated with the Thane Police and Thane Rural Police and Palghar, to procure Essential Service passes for the ambulances, for nearly 100+ volunteers who deployed themselves to provide food and first aid to street animals.
- We provided more than 6.5 tonnes of fodder to 168 horses, more than 2 tonnes of dry food for dogs and 180 kilos of food for feral cats.
- We tied up with Veterinarians at some Corporation areas, who we would remunerate, to treat animals of our volunteers, because we could not reach these areas regularly.
- We supplied Masks (sponsored by a friend), Sanitisers and Gloves to the Police Personnel at Arthur Road Jail, on their request.
- Even with the Lockdown breathing on our necks, we had to do a major repair on one of our ambulances.
- Each day, since 22nd March 2020, 2 of our Trustees were present full day with our staff to give them moral support.
We have had a challenging time – and it continues. Medicine supplies have been hampered, we’ve worked with skeletal staff as per government regulations, while patients flowed in at the usual steady pace. We worked hand in hand with every department and in the process, got closer to them. Understandably, our donations declined steadily – but we never gave up, strengthened by the faith that you would never give up on us.
Given the unprecedented and uniquely uncertain nature of these times, we will need your support all the more this year. We are well aware that all of us will have to live within our means and constraints, but we urge you to keep us in your thoughts and set aside monetary resources to help us help the animals in need – God’s creatures that we all love so much and who need us now, more than ever.
Emerging In A New Avatar
Posted on April 5th, 2022
All organisations need to go through changes in order to grow and explore. While some changes are introduced as new technologies to make work more efficient and economical, in other instances, changes are driven by external pressures and the need for mergers. Every year, Thane SPCA goes through some metamorphosis or the other, either in the way it functions, or procures and updates the facilities it provides. However, just like any other market, change ensures that Thane SPCA can continue to meet the demands and expectations of animal lovers across the district.
In 2018-19, Thane SPCA acquired new medical equipment that ensured improved medical care. The entire hospital floor was replaced with new polished flooring that ensures more efficiency in maintaining cleanliness. We also replaced the old entrance gate with a new anti -rust gate. We acquired the Platinum Seal certificate from Guide Star India.
In the coming year, we will be undergoing further transformations. We will add one more ambulance to our fleet. We will upgrade the format of this newsletter to make it even more crisp, sharp and lucid. Also, in response to a directive from the Animal Welfare Board of India, we will be potentially changing our name. This change will completely transform Thane SPCA’s identity, which in itself will bring in more challenges. But we will go through it together and emerge with a new avatar – our dedication to animals remaining unchanged if not stronger.
Running For Animals – Each Step, a Victory
Posted on April 3rd, 2022
I have to agree with Bill, but not just because running privately or in long-distance races is a test of physical and mental endurance, but because it’s also a testament to the size of a person’s heart and soul, when he/she runs for a cause.
This was more than evident in the Tata Mumbai Marathon that was organized earlier this year on the 21st of January – a massive event in which people with gigantic hearts chose to step up and run for causes close to their heart. The event’s fundraising platform – United Way of Mumbai saw people from all walks of life and abilities raise lakhs for rupees for causes as varied as autism, blindness, hemophilia, downtrodden youth, mental health, environment, slum rehabilitation, elderly welfare, child welfare and development, and palliative care for cancer patients, to name a few. 550 NGOs participated in the past 14 editions of the Mumbai Marathon, raising a whopping Rs.196 crores in total. This year, Thane S.P.C.A. was a participant as well, and thanks to our runners, as well as almost 90 online contributors, we raised over Rs. 3.5 lakhs – much more than the original goal that we had set for ourselves. Donations and contributions came flooding through from different parts of India and the world, with such wonderful words of motivation and gratitude, that we were injected with truckloads of encouragement – enough to make us want to keep participating in as many races going forward, as possible. The response to our simple fundraising effort, was truly overwhelming, and the experience itself – running amongst thousands of Mumbaikars and citizens of other countries, the energy pulsing through the tracks and radiating out into the entire city, and the sheer volume of amazing people participating for personal satisfaction and to raise funds for the causes they support and believe in – it was an incredible experience. And in the end, with the funds raised for Thane S.P.C.A., the animals at our hospital/shelter benefitted, which always makes every effort, every challenge, and even every little daily trial, worth it.
The Mumbai Marathon – the single largest philanthropic sporting event in the country, is one of the top ten marathons in the world – alongside the likes of the famed New York City marathon and Boston marathon. If you are a Mumbaikar, Thanekar, Punekar, or really, located anywhere else, but want to run for a cause, think Mumbai Marathon, and think Thane S.P.C.A. It’ll be great cardio for your heart and super food for your soul, and rest assured, the animals will bless you for it!
So, lace up your running shoes and get training – we’ll see you on the track next year!