KARACHI: A three-legged dog greets you at the bright red gate of the newly-opened ACF Animal Shelter in Mujahid Colony, Dalmia, and hops alongside you as if it wants to show you around the facility.
There is a donkey inside the fenced lawn, munching away at marigolds. Just like a toddler, a puppy inside his pen drags along a big teddy bear. At the shelter’s launch on Sunday the once abandoned animals are learning to trust humans again as they receive gentle pats and lots of love from the guests.
One of the guests, well-known veterinarian Dr Abrar Pirzada, who appreciated the efforts of the lady behind the good work, Ayesha Chundrigar, and her team of volunteers, also had some suggestions.
“You can make some stairs with boxes for the cats to climb up and curl up inside and for the dogs you have to think of creating an environment where they don’t get bored. Otherwise, one bored dog will start howling and suddenly you’ll have a chorus,” he laughed.
Looking around at the cats, dogs, donkeys and horse, he added: “Well, every animal has it’s own demand.”
The vet also said that the animals, especially dogs and cats, coming to the shelter should be sprayed and neutered in order to control their population. “Otherwise, how many shelters can you build?” he said thinking aloud.
Meanwhile, Ayesha Chundrigar said that she along with her volunteers was also looking after the management of the Edhi Animal Shelter near the toll gates on Superhighway.
“That is a huge four acre facility and this here is 1,450 sq yards of land gifted to me by one of our donors. This is more approachable and thanks to our donors I am trying to create a system that can be better managed here as we are a very few volunteers running the show,” she said.
“Because of the distance, people don’t go to the big shelter as much as I wish they would. Animals need love. I want people who love animals working with me here. I hope to see more children visiting. Maybe we could have school field trips to this place, too,” she added.
Several of the animals have been victims of human brutality that have been rescued by ACF volunteers. In one corner stands a blind mare whose stomach had been cut open by a sharp object but her wounds have been stitched up and she’s recovering. In one room there are cats and dogs who have been brutally beaten up.
M. Ali Chundrigar, Ayesha’s father, showing the guests around said that his daughter, ever since she was a little toddler had wanted to help animals. “She was barely three when she would tell me that she wanted to open an animal farm. These shelters for abandoned and abused animals are a realisation of a dream for her,” he said.
Published in Dawn, December 21st, 2015