Extraordinary Abiding Puppy Love | In Conversation With Sakshi Sondhi, Co-Founder of Red Paws Rescue
Red Paws’ love for dogs doesn’t end with their spa in HKV. The two sisters who had established Red Paws Spa have also established an NGO - Red Paws Rescue, the bourne of which is to help, aid and take care of stray and sick dogs who've been neglected. The two sisters have been doing commendable work for almost three years now, and it was an edifying experience for us when we had the opportunity to have a talk with one of the sisters - Sakshi Sondhi.
Can you tell us something about yourself & Red Paws Rescue?
So, Red Paws was started by me and my sister, Sadhwi. It was registered as an NGO in 2010. We initially used to do adoptions and we used to work with, and still work with Sai Ashram in Chattarpur. So now we've basically moved on, because adoptions are very slow, so whatever we can do on our own in the area of animal birth control, we're doing that. Sterilising dogs in each area and getting them neutered is what we're focussing on, along with a little bit of adoption but that’s just way too slow. We also have two other enterprises, which is the Red Paws Pet Spa Shop and Red Paws Rescue to go on with currently.
So what really inspired you to do this? Why did you take this initiative?
Well actually we had a dog outside our house, her name was Julie and she kept having litters and at that time we were just really young and her puppies basically used to get sick due to lack of care and ultimately die. Then we basically we got in touch with Friendicoes and got her neutered, and that’s basically how it all started. After getting her neutered, we got all the dogs in our neighbourhood neutered.
How has Delhi responded to all this? Are Delhiites getting more aware?
Since the last few years, I think the people are getting more and more aware now. They are more aware and they come forward and help. In the winters you can see lots of dogs wearing jackets, which means there is someone taking care of them. Lots of people in and around, I have seen, are also feeding dogs. So I think it’s becoming better but also, there are a few cases which we come across, which show exactly how inhumanly people treat dogs. But I think, all in all, the young people are getting more and more involved, which is a good thing. I mean if there’s a dog outside your house, the least you can do is feed him. I think it’s becoming better.
What is your take on the condition and plight of the stray dogs in Delhi?
You see, I have been doing this for a very long time, and I have never come across any stray dog that has ever tried to bite me. The problem is basically that the dogs are so tortured on the road, they are scared and they sometimes act out to protect themselves. All stray dogs are not ferocious, that I can tell you. I have got a dog outside who’s really very scared, even if you hold a hand gently above her head, because obviously her jaw’s broken so someone must have hit her really bad.
So, I would say, all stray dogs are not ferocious, most of them are really very friendly once you get to know them. And when there are so many of them, they get territorial, so basically the answer comes at to the same thing: to get them neutered. Even if you kill them all, it will not be the solution. What needs to be done is to neuter the dogs, to control the population.
How do you think Delhi can help through you guys and on its own?
Through us, we work on donations, so we try to get as many dogs neutered as we can. So in our area - GK I, if someone calls us and says “we’ll pay for the expenses”, we get them neutered because we have a limited budget per month we can spend, since we feed dogs as well. Plus, we have two people on payroll. Someone had called us in Westend, Chattarpur - there are so many dogs there and she was willing to pay for thirty dogs, which was a great start.
Okay, so lastly, what according to you makes Delhi, So Delhi?
The people make Delhi so Delhi. You can’t help but love them and hate them at the same time!
It’s always good to meet someone who can extend tender feelings towards animals and actually do something for them. Red Paws Rescue does exactly that and if you feel like helping them, here are their contact details.