In the Christmas spirit of giving, ResQ decided to gift the people of Pune safer neighbourhoods.
This year, our Christmas was unlike any other. Instead of having a lazy Sunday at home, we headed out at the break of day with a mission to vaccinate 500 dogs against rabies in Pune. Our team of 25 ResQ staff and volunteers split up to cover 6 densely populated areas of the city, ultimately vaccinating over 1000 dogs by the end of the day, leaving the initial goal of 500 way behind!
We’ve been doing mass vaccination drives for 2 years now, and we had already reached our target of 500 by 11am, before even half the day was done. Mid way, we even had to order more vaccines because we were running out. Our entire team gave it more than their 100% all throughout, working for 16 hours at a stretch. Only stopping for a quick bite, we were essentially running on adrenaline by the end of it. At around 8 pm, we finally called it a day.
While on the drive, we kept a record of each dog that was being vaccinated by spraying it and collaring it with our elasto-reflective bands whenever possible to make it safer for them on the roads after dark. We also made note of the sex and age of the animal along with its ABC (Animal Birth Control) status. This is for reference, for when we look at planning future drives similar to this one.
One of the biggest challenges we faced was of unfriendly dogs. Our team members were absolutely fabulous and managed to vaccinate these ones too. This is a big plus in terms of safety on the road, since these are the animals which usually have had a difficult past and are territorial and aggressive around people.
By the time we called it quits, our total count of vaccinated dogs had reached 1192. We did some research, and this is the first (and only) time these numbers have been recorded, by one organisation in a single day.
We’re mighty proud of our numbers, no doubt. But what makes us happier is the impact we’re causing on the safety of people and dogs on the streets. Neighbourhoods heavily populated with stray dogs, are now safe for people to walk around in, without having to worry about the dangers of contracting rabies.
The success of this drive has motivated us immensely. We’re definitely going to come up with similar initiatives in the future, this isn’t where we stop. We are working towards bridging the gap between people and animals, reducing human-animal conflict, and this is just the first step!
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