Jenny, flew to heaven!

Jenny…Flew to Heaven. Her eulogy is written by our manager, Wajiha.

Jenny, Our Paralysed dog who came to us all the way from Islamabad passed away a couple of weeks ago. Her last days were relaxed and calm in her spacious cage. She was an extremely scared dog; who knows what horrifying past experiences she had locked in her memories? When she first came to ACF, it took me weeks to be friends with her. She would gradually let you pet her head first then her body. In the beginning, she tried to crawl away on her front feet but crawling and pushing herself was not advised for her by vets, she could simply worsen her wounds by doing that. So she was moved from a room to a specific confined area where she could move and relax but not push herself a lot, placing her on soft pillows and covers, she would relax and see everything happening around her. She never budged at all when every other dog would jump for seeking attention, she would play invisible. that’s how she was. every time she was treated by vets her heart beat would rise and was easily felt by anybody holding her for support.

Jenny was just a simple living creature, she never liked being put on wheel chair, she was really not exercise friendly and took time trusting being held by us. The only major concern was despite her movement-free life, she wouldn’t gain weight. Her favorite was the afternoon snack for which she would half sit up and wait for her bowl impatiently. I used to feed that to her myself. Every time I would pass by her I would call on her “Jenny!!” and she would lightly check from the corner of her eye.

Her health was deteriorating gradually, she would still eat all her food which was the only plus sign. And then she quietly passed away one day. it’s the strangest feeling when you no more have that being around you whom you had to win over by countless efforts, talk to everyday about random things so she would start recognizing you, and then one day you tell them,’ your condition doesn’t seem so good Jenny please get well’ , and the other day they just disappear, lie in their grave leaving you with memories and tears.

It was her eyes, you can’t even forget when you sleep… they spoke to me. Thank you to everyone who made the effort to send her to Karachi. She had a peaceful few months before she passed quietly.

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All You need is Love!

I had never worked with animals before, but I’ve always been drawn to them and they always incite my curiosity. There aren’t very many creations that I would deem ‘ugly’ in nature and even if a being is aesthetically displeasing, once I find the purpose of their existence they immediately become beautiful to me.

Pets on the other hand are a different matter entirely, they don’t further the ecosystem and most cultures find it rude to consume them- their only reason for existence is to love us and vice versa. The beauty in flowers exists just to caress us visually and in much the same way, pets (even the stray ones), are an emotional luxury. A balm to our intangible wounds and a source of near-constant delight (if loved and raised right). When I first visited the shelter it was overwhelming, the dogs barking at the excitement of a new guest, some coming up to me to get a cheeky sniff, the paralyzing heat, the smell of medicine (and hence life for the inhabitants) and Shadow, the onyx bear-dog, being majestic but intimidating in his rainbow colored enclosure; I was admittedly apprehensive of my surroundings. But then Azeem bhai introduced me to the residents of the shelter, furry and otherwise. I immediately began to find favorites among the cats and dogs (I know, totally wrong of me), and suddenly the heat and strangeness mattered so much less almost within the first 5 minutes of being there. I realized then that there is a cemented sincerity in animals that we yearn for but hardly ever find in our fellow humans.

All those animals- they just wanted me to pet them, especially the dogs in the enclosures, they got so excited and sniffed my open palm (as Azeem bhai instructed) and nuzzled closer to get petted on the maximum amount of surface. Canines are extremely tactile animals and are best raised with lots of physical affection and socializing, hence I was happy to see that loneliness was not a problem faced by the dogs here.

Then I was introduced to Jenny, possibly the bravest dog I had ever met till that point. Her injuries paled in comparison to the betrayal I saw in her eyes, and believe me, the injuries upon first sight reduced me to a blatantly crying mess. We did that to her, human beings, how could she ever trust us again? Her eyes so wide and scared and gorgeous just broke me, they wiped humanity from my mind completely, but only temporarily. Because in the end it was a human being who suffered all the bureaucratic hassle of getting her to the shelter in Karachi all the way from Islamabad, just to save a stray dogs life. Plus all the people around me were fixated enough to save her- to help her through this, to do whatever was best for her.

In that second of living in both the realities of human behavior I decided I will be on the side of humanity and in the past week or so of me visiting ACF, I have come to find that working with animals is a strange merger of humanity and divinity. Working at the shelter has already given me a kaleidoscope of perspective and every day when I wake up I can’t wait to see what else this little sanctuary for the unfortunate and forgotten will teach me next.

Mehar W. Khursheed

#KarachiRain

While the entire population was feeling blessed by the monsoon eruption in Karachi city, We the ACF people, start to worry about our animals. Since the prediction was already there for a couple of days so the arrangements were in process at the shelter, so we locked up all the pups, cats and most of the dogs in their cages inside shed to save them from the torment followed by thundershowers and lightening.

I salute one person who has dedicated her whole life for these voiceless creatures, Ayesha Chundrigar, when rest of people could be enjoying rain, she was worrying all evening about the animals we locked up. As its evident when Karachi is hit by the droplets of rain the electricity goes out. Making regular checks with the team and security guard about condition of sick ones and indoor animals, if windows are open, if they’re not making noise or else the neighborhood starts to complain. So this person stays up and has an entirely different take on monsoon in Karachi.

We request and need people to provide shade or a secured place for stray cats, dogs on their streets while the season expands, as well as for the birds. You can also help the needy people who sleep on the corner of your street with a temporary shade placed for them. Call ACF rescue service if you find any animal in need of a roof for the season. Let’s join hands!

Meeru’s perspective!

Our intern Mehreen recently got the opportunity to talk to the oldest cleaner at ACF, Meeru. He decided to join ACF upon its inception three years ago, and has never looked back since. The conversation was as follows:

 

“What do you like the most here?” I ask.

 

“That’s a difficult question to ask!” he smiled. Tilting his head to one side, he paused for a second, and then continued. “I love how the animals here respect and love me. They follow me around during mealtimes and randomly nuzzle me when I least expect it. It makes me feel cherished and valued. Love and respect are not often bestowed upon people like me”. He chuckles ironically.

 

“What about the people here?” I continue.

 

“Oh, they’re achey log. I enjoy it when visitors come here; it adds freshness and life to the place. I may not say much to them, but I feel very happy to see people treating animals so well.”

 

“What saddens you?”

 

“Lots of things. I hate it when any animal dies here. All of us get so attached to the animals, so much so we treat them as our friends. Recently one of my favourite puppies passed away.” He pauses, and then adds, “bohat bura laga tha mujhey”.

 

“Anything else?” I ask.

 

“I also don’t like it if someone is rude to the animals here. Just because animals cant respond doesn’t mean you should abuse them or treat them badly. They’re living creatures, just like us.”

 

I agree with him, and then ask, “What’s the most difficult thing about your job here?”

 

“Oh don’t get me fired!” he jokes, then adds, “I don’t think there’s amything difficult, I enjoy working here a lot. If there were anything at all, I’d say the cleaning gets very tiring. These animals are quite naughty!” he points at a group of dogs resting nearby. “They dirty the place very often. Always keep me on my toes!”

 

Eulogy – Princy

The ACF Princy-

Rescued back in January 2016 with new born pups Princy had always been a scared one, she was always nervous and she could never defend herself with other dogs. Once her kids grew up, she left them on their own and just enjoyed lurking in corners; she would only pop out whenever we were out, she loved being around people, her first impression on everyone, even on visitors was such that she would stand on her hind legs and flash a big smile. She could walk on 2 legs for ages! She knew how to push open the office doors and would sit on the waiting area sofas for hours or behind my desk. That was her hideout maybe because she knew I wouldn’t let anybody take her out. One of her other favorite hide out spots was the cat room: she was such a friendly cutie pie, none of the cats felt threatened.

She was an exception to all our shelter rules, whenever the cleaners would lock her up again in the healthy dog area, I would sneak in and bring her out again. I used to tease her at times by not letting her out and she would make those funny angry noises and act like *she-is-the-most-tortured-dog-in-the-history-of-this-world*. However, we tried our best that she learns to defend herself but it was just in vain. She wouldn’t eat anything if another dog would just bark at her loudly; she would always look up to us to save her. She was all the cleaners favorite too. They would give her food separately when she won’t eat out of fear of other dogs.

I don’t have many pictures with her, reason: she would never sit patiently with me; she would either keep jumping on me or licking, or just come sit on my lap and she was a full grown dog but would act as if she is still a little puppy. She was the first to welcome me every day at the gate, and giving those looks with her eyes like a connection, she would tell me everything, especially about her health.

Her most special feature was her beautiful eyes, oh yes, they were so expressive… I already miss those. Her death came as a shock, she collapsed within a day of her sickness, before we could diagnose or complete her medical course, she passed away. Can’t really express when I came early just to make sure she was doing okay and found her body just lying there, lifeless. Picking her up again for one last long hug was the most painful feeling I have had so far. It’s first working day without her, I miss her presence and feel like she will just pop out of a corner and hug me the way she always does. You can’t be replaced Princy.

RIP Princy: like her name – spoiled like a Princess.

Meet Snuggles!

My rescue and survival story:

Hi, I am Snuggles, I was named by my new family at ACF because I love to snuggle. I was rescued by ACF in mid April along with my sister. Unfortunately, she was so scared that she left me and ran away from our mother’s home at the time of rescue. I was also terrified I did not understand why we were being taken away from our mother, I don’t speak human, but I understood when my former family kept my pure bred mother that they didn’t want us anymore. I wish my mother was spayed in her earlier years, because I don’t want the same to happen with my other siblings. Nobody has come forward to adopt me until now, although I am big enough to be trained. I had other younger siblings as well, and I loved playing with them and pulling their tail and being the big sister. 

When I reached the ACF shelter I used to hide mostly and sleep under the refrigerator but after spending 3 days there, I realized these people are my saviors. I started to trust them and slowly inched my way out. Now I love these peeps, they have named me snuggles because I love doing that. I rub myself on their clothes, I cling onto their shoulders and rub myself against their face, as you can see from some of my pictures attached, and once I am done with the ‘purr-ing’ I sneeze on their face. Lol, I know so ‘eewoo’ right!? But that’s why I am a cat!

I am in my kitty months but I have allergies, I was told by my vets here. I start sneezing and get nasal discharge. It irritates me to sneeze continuously from time to time, my vets are giving me medication for that, My vets want an allergy test done for me, but as you know there aren’t many facilities available in our country for us animals, they are still trying to get it done privately.

I am happy now, but I have a message for you all; if you can’t foster us please get our mothers spayed at the right time. It hurts us as a family to be separated. I am lucky to get love and care I need here. But I have many animals here who share the same background as me and they find it so difficult to adjust and I am sure there are many others who would not even get a chance to be rescued, they will be sent out on roads. So please adopt us and give us a chance to become your family too.
My specialty: I have a mute ‘Meow-ing” sound and I love drinking leftover tea.

Snuggles narrated by Wajiha Ahmed

As an Intern

As a fresh-faced graduate, stepping out of school was a new journey altogether. Being on a gap year with a university offer, I decided to volunteer at the Ayesha Chundrigar Foundation (ACF) in January.

Initially, I remember being downright terrified! Coming from a household with little to no affinity for pets, I was not used to so many animals bounding up to me, all begging to be petted and loved. I recall spending most of my time in the office, sorting out files and churning out excel sheets. Wajiha and I would chat, and she’d show me the various puppies and kittens they’d keep outside the office. Slowly, I started getting comfortable with my surroundings.

A few days later, I ventured out of the office, and stood face to face with the three-legged Trio. In an attempt to make friends, she stood on her hind legs and held her front paw out to me. I held it to prop her up. I realised then that she didn’t even know me, yet she trusted me enough to support her with her one front paw. It felt simple, and truly honest. Trio became my first companion at the shelter.

From then onwards, I spent most of my time outside. I discovered that each animal has a unique personality; from the eccentric Scooby, to the introverted Princey, to the possessive Gaga…each of them seemed a being of its own; a shunned, unwanted existence which society had pushed away because they didn’t belong within their circle. They were no different than pedigrees, I thought. Except maybe they weren’t pampered, or well-fed, or spoilt the way our pets are. Yet, they still had a life, and never failed to make a deep, unwavering impact on those who met them and started loving them.

As the days passed, I bonded with the animals and the team. We’d laugh together if an animal did something goofy, and scold it if it was naughty. If one passed away, it was terrible. Most people would say, “Come on, it was just an animal!”, but we felt like we’d lost a best friend forever. It was a deep, sickening feeling which barrelled itself inwards to the very core.

ACF’s still relatively young, but the team is steadfast, and yearns to grow and improve. I feel like I’ve matured through my experiences here, and have discovered what it truly means to be empathic. Every time I see these animals; all yearning for love and affection, I am thankful for being given a chance to help the voiceless finally be given a voice. It is truly a powerful feeling.

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