For Sandhya and her husband, Rohit Tewari, the journey from being animal lovers to running an NGO that acts as a network for animal welfare, throughout the city of Pune started with the simple thought of just doing what they could, with what they had. While admittedly, they’ve been guilty of flaunting their pedigree pets, retirement and proximity to stray animals sensitized them to the gaps in the area of animal welfare, and what they could do to help.
They started working as a group named Saath Saath, with a couple of likeminded people that helped educate slum children and create awareness about animals (domestic and stray) and their welfare. This group was connected via Facebook and overtime, with whatsapp, across different areas in the city.
“We were raising funds from our own pockets as cases came. We needed regular donors, and a legitimate and credible organisation that they could donate to.” While Saath Saath is not an active group anymore, it led to the creation of Tails ‘N’ Trees in 2017 as an official NGO, with Sandhya, Rohit and another trustee.
Sandhya says “To build a shelter and take up the responsibility and financial burden that comes with it seemed illogical. There are already so many shelters in the city. We don’t need more shelters; we just need to make animal health services more accessible.”
The group collaborates with a multitude of organisations across the city, be it local government bodies, vets and ambulance services, volunteers, or shelters. These sources are vetted and assessed for a certain standard of practice, quality, and promptness. Sandhya believes it is important to understand that everyone is different and figure out the best possible way to work with a diverse group of people.
As and when cases are found in different areas, members of this community who can effectively help are immediately informed and connected to the necessary authorities or closest volunteers. The logistical aspect of running an operation such as this is very crucial and it’s efficiency is rooted in it’s network of regular people who just want to help in any way possible.
Understanding that a field such as this permeates every aspect of your life- personal boundaries become quite lenient. “There really isn’t any way to manage time in this field, cases come at any time and we try and help as soon as we can.” Although she does not aim to run a shelter, cases have often been brought to her house at odd hours and never been turned down. Managing grief seemed to be a large aspect of this – “We can’t turn down any animal brought to us, and we’ve lost a lot of dogs at our doorstep, and it’s gotten less difficult over time. But we understand, and this is something we try to teach our volunteers as well, that we can’t save all of them, but we can help them.” A simple outlook to making change happen!
Tails ‘N’ Trees has achieved a lot over the years, with impactful sterilization drives, feeding initiatives, countless rescue operations, rehabilitation cases and animal welfare education. Above everything else, creating a network of compassionate people who are trained with basic first aid and well versed with the inner functioning of the system, seems to be their most significant contribution.
Animal welfare throughout the country has the same shortcomings. It isn’t a priority enough, there isn’t any corporate funding via CSR as it technically comes under the jurisdiction of local governance, the infrastructure and awareness is subpar and more often than not, is looked at as a nuisance rather than an issue that is manageable. Tails ‘N’ Trees looks at receiving help in any way or kind that can be offered- your time, attention, funds, or even just awareness.
How can you help Tails ‘N’ Trees?
This not-for-profit can be reached at +91 7972925103 or you can visit their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/tailsntrees.org
Donations are accepted too.
Name: Tails ‘N’ Trees
A/c no – 058588700000040
Bank – Yes bank
About the Author
Sagarika is a comedy producer, a product designer by qualification and an animal lover. She believes in facing everyday with a laugh, if not always, with a smile. In her free time, she likes exploring the bottomless pit that is cinema, and if lost, is often found plucking flowers and befriending dogs.