The first time I fell in love, I was just a mere toddler. My first love was not a human being but the numerous stray animals around me, and as I grew older, the love and obsession with the animal kingdom only grew.
Hence, it was no surprise to anyone that my favorite television programmes were the documentaries & series on Discovery and Animal Planet channel. NGOs that worked for the betterment and rights of strays and raised their voice against animal cruelty fascinated me! My heart went out to all the activists trying to find, save and protect all strays from cruelty and abuse. It always intrigued me to see the efforts these individuals put in to protect our furry little friends and I used to marvel at the nobility of this cause.
With such a huge passion for strays and animal rights, I started caring for the strays in my locality and have since then adopted several stray cats and dogs that crossed my paths.
As I matured I started admitting strays to sterilization centers which gave me an opportunity to see and understand their functioning. Soon a burning desire to start something of my own fuelled up in me, the result of which AMTM (Animals matter to me) was born in 2010.
At the onset we were more or less an Organization consisting of Volunteers and worked at various ABC (Animal Birth Control) pounds, but as time went by we have flourished at our own pace.
“There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.” – Elie Wiesel
Many of us don’t spare a second thought on the pain and sufferings innocent critters have to face each day. However, I believe if we realize that with the smallest of our efforts we could help in healing an animal and provide a loving home for it, more people could be encouraged to perceive, pursue and support this cause.
With this objective in mind, we started sensitizing people about animal welfare by visiting many schools and colleges. Its imperative to imbibe the right morals at an early age to cultivate a mature future generation.
We carry out mass sterilizations, vaccination drives, spay/neuter programs, feeding stray animals on the roads, re-homing of abandoned pets, sensitizing society about their local strays, take up cases against animal cruelty, basically anything and everything hampering the well being of strays.
We run a fully equipped ambulance with facilities like ICU, OT, spot treatments, spay/neuter and vaccinations as a mobile clinic. With time we felt the growing need for a Rehabilitation Centre of our own and have been running one from the last one and a half years.
At the AMTM rehab centre, the strays housed in the facility are nursed, treated and released back, post spay neuter program. All creatures admitted here have either been given up by their owners or abandoned or were cases of mishaps or cruelty. When any homeless animal is first brought to the Rehabilitation Center, a thorough physical check-up is done and medical proceedings are carried out depending on their ailment. Treatment could include anything from checking for injuries to rabies shots; from neutering to spraying for ticks and fleas.
Once the strays have undergone their check-ups and are treated for infections and so forth, they are listed for adoption, another detailed and stringent process. AMTM scrutinizes the adopter’s background and personality thoroughly because we need to be absolutely certain that the adopter is compatible with the stray and vice versa. AMTM believes in giving time to the animal and adopter to assess their compatibility levels, and in case of incompatibility, the animal can be returned to the rehab. A small adoption fee as per adopters wish is taken as a token for the work carried out by AMTM.
“If a man aspires towards a righteous life, his first act of abstinence is from injury to animals.” – Albert Einstein
AMTM has a “NO KILL” Policy which means that animals will be sheltered and cared for, until they are adopted or fit to release, post treatment. The dedicated staff and individuals working with us have taken the term ‘animal care’ to a whole new level. My dream has become a reality.
I have been criticized by many, with arguments such as, concern for animals is a secondary issue in a country where humans are deprived of basic amenities and live under constant peril. We are at times looked upon as an inconsiderate lot.
However, for me, animals and humans are on equal grounds, as they too are living creatures that deserve care and affection! Hence I continue on my saga to work for the woes of the animal kingdom.
Last but not the least, it is heartening for me to see that there are many individuals and organizations who work zealously on improving animal rights across the globe and are driving campaigns to alert people about the cause. I am strongly believe that if we are to better humane standards in Mumbai, then a lot of work needs to be done in creating more awareness amongst individuals and more importantly, changing mindsets.