Q3-2022

Newsletter Q3 2022

FROM THE EDITOR'S KEN (NEL)

 

Sunface - The Blue Cross Mascot

Hello Folks! Another quarter zipped past us like Apophis before I could say Humuhumunukunukuapua’a, which by the way is the longest name given to an animal – this particular one being a fish of Hawaiian origin. They are a reef triggerfish and happen to be the official fish of Hawaii (yes the same place where your slippers came from).

The Jul-Aug-Sep quarter had loads of stuff happening and this time too I’ve been spoilt for choice with the wonderful stories of rescue, recovery and rehoming we’ve had to share with you – the unstinting supporters of the Blue Cross.

In early May, I was introduced to two ladies by our GM Vinod – Veena Gurubatham and Vidhya Lakshmi who had come all the way from Salem (a major city about 340 km west south west from here) to check out our work. After the usual pleasantries, I heard them talking about taking our help for the wellbeing of my brothers and sisters over there. They left paying glowing tributes to our work and I guess were impressed enough, because in early August, under the flag of BCI they kicked off a full fledged ABC program for the Salem streeties in collaboration with the Salem Corporation. Read all about the initiative here. 

In early July our new Adult Dog Adoption Centre (ADAC) went live – I call it the finishing school for my abandoned brothers and sisters. Help Animals India sponsored most of the work for this project. We opened admissions for grades 1 through 4 and I spent the first week of July shortlisting candidates for the first academic year. There was a flood of applicants, but I dealt with fairness and the admittance was purely on merit. With 23 enrolled we are now filled to capacity, so we would like you to swing by and pick one of them to take home. If you wish to get one send my manager a holler at velu@bluecrossofindia.org

August 26th : International Dog Day: Blue Cross collaborated with WorkEZ to run an adoption drive at three of their locations – Guindy, Mount Road and Sholinganallur. If you would like to run such programs and help find homes for the scores of orphaned pups and kittens that land up at the Blue Cross everyday please write into velu@bluecrossofindia.org 

 

September 12th 2022: BCI website relaunch – Did you know that the seeds of BCI were sown in 1959 and it was called AAA for Animal Aid Association until it was officially registered in 1964 as Blue Cross of India. Learn about this and much more of our history. Head to bluecrossofindia.org and learn about who we are , what we do and ways you can help us, and don’t forget to leave us feedback about the website in the comments section at the bottom of this newsletter. 

September saw a beautiful turf come up on the horse paddocks by the BCI stables. You might remember from the newsletter of first quarter, Jack (our lead horse) had made a compelling appeal for help to fix the horse stables and not only Help Animals India stepped forward, but with additional air cover from Park Hyatt- Chennai (Mr Viju Mahtaney) the entire unused marsh area that had also been raised a couple of feet (see our Q1 newsletter). This quarter Mr Mahtaney’s team took it one step further and the entire place was covered with a beautiful patch of green and turned into a full service paddock. Watch a video of these lovelies galloping in the meadow – aren’t they a sight for sore eyes.

It costs a ton to just keep things running, and I am not talking about my horse pals in the new meadow. The day to day expenses to keep a sanctuary, hospital and rehabilitation centre running is crazy expensive. On top of this I realised the hard way that even to keep things standing it costs quite a bit – take for example our cat surgery and recuperation area on the 1st floor of our feline complex (i mean the building and not the emotional one we suffer when we see them being given special perks). Last monsoon the roof took a terrible beating and many surgery days were lost as water would pour in like a faucet when it rained. With scant savings, literally in this case for a rainy day, it was Mr Mahtaney from Park Hyatt once again who rescued my feline pals from being marooned up there, and all in good time before the rains hit us again this November. A beautiful new roof has been installed with excellent ventilation to take my pals through summer as well.

Enjoy!… and don’t forget to sign up and white-list us to receive this newsletter in your email inbox every quarter.

THE LAST 90 DAYS ON THE CHENNAI STREETS

Making a difference – One street animal at a time

The rescues, birth control surgeries and re-homing by the Blue Cross Of India during the second quarter (Jul-Aug-Sep 2022)

Arguably the largest positive impact any single AWO has on the health and well-being of street animals in any city in the world.

Much of what we do and the key programs that we run are thanks mainly to the kind and generous contributions from our close partners and sponsors:

ABC Program

Animal Rescues

 Animal Health & Nutrition
 

Street animals in distress – Greater Chennai Area. 

This interactive bubble-o-map shows the number of rescue-requests received/accepted and rescued by the Blue Cross of India from the areas that are in the Greater Chennai Corporation limits (and a few outside) in the 3rd quarter of 2022.

Jul, Aug, Sep 2022

Rescue Requests Received : 6319

Rescue Requests Accepted : 5631 (89 % of received requests)

Actual Rescues : 2927 (52 % of accepted requests / 46 % of received requests)

This quarter saw a big spurt in the number of rescue requests made to us from 5352 to 6319 – an increase of over 18% quarter on quarter. 

Despite our hospital and mobile hospital capacities remaining the same, we have been able to rescue more animals than Q2 – an increase from 2637 to 2927 (+ 11%). We are bursting at our seams and we need all the help we can get.

There are so many ways you can help animals – head to our new website ‘Ways To Help’ page and make your contribution to the voiceless. 

And don’t forget to always ask this – Isn’t the harm, disease, and mistreatment these poor street animals endure symptoms of a deeper, more systemic problem? – the unsustainable street animal population. The solution to this has always been there – a well run animal birth control program – the key phrase here being ‘well run’. 

What’s a well run ABC program: One where the catching and neutering/spaying is not complaint based but where the coverage begins at a street level, completing 70% of dogs in a given street before moving to the next. Dogs are territorial – they seldom cross their area-of-operation – so focussing on one street, followed by the next contiguous one, until the whole neighbourhood is covered before moving to the next neighbourhood can pay more dividends in the long term- especially as resources and capacities are scant . 

DONATE HERE – If you would like to help us help more of them

BACK FROM THE BRINK

Great Comeback Stories

We have some fantastic comebacks this quarter. I have selected Lucky, Thara and Rino due to space limitations. You can find lots of such stories on our Instagram page – if you don’t yet follow us there – please do so right away at BCI Instagram.

This section is dedicated to the diligent rescuers, animal caregivers, volunteers, and veterinarians who offered these animals a second chance at life by going above and beyond the call of duty.

DRAMA IN REAL LIFE

Great Rescues

The Blue Cross special rescue team pulls off rescues that need special skills. Dawn Williams leads the team and trains many willing volunteers to become independent rescuers.

Our intrepid team of rescuers and volunteers pull off the most daring of rescues, literally extracting animals off precarious edges, ledges, pits, sewers and wells to give them another shot at being adventurous.

STREET ANIMAL HOSPITAL-ON-WHEELS
BCI FOUR PAWS MoHo (Mobile Hospital) – India’s First And Only On-Location Treatment of Street Animals 
 
This quarter – the 2nd full quarter for MoHo (FP – Four Paws) – she made 555 treatment visits and treated 261 new cases. A huge number of them were success stories with very low mortality rates achieved primarily due to :
 
 – faster first-aid treatments
 – convalescence in a familiar environment
 – zero hospital infections / cross-city infections
 
Also since its inception on 2nd March 2022, MoHo (FP) has hit some great numbers which I share below:
 
Total No of Animals Rescued by BCI since MoHo began : 6776
Treatment Initiated Onsite (by MoHo) : 682 (amounting to 10.08% of total rescues)
Treatment Fully Managed Onsite (by MoHo) : 593 (amounting to 8.76% of total rescues)
No of Treatment Visits (Onsite) : 1245
No of Treatment Cases Closed Onsite (by MoHo) : 500 
  
Thara

Veera

Black

4 month old female pup from Porur
Case: Vehicle ran over the puppy
Diagnosis: Open fracture in the rear leg 
No of visits: 7
5 year old male dog from Tharamani

Case: Bite injury

Diagnosis: Open wound in the back
No of visits: 5
9 year old male dog from Guindy

Case: Ear infection & dehydrated

Diagnosis: Ear infection, Malnourished and dehydration 
No of visits: 5
 

This quarter MoHo notched up nearly 4500  Kms in about 480 hours. 

Take a look at the bubble-map for MoHos treatments during the quarter – hover your mouse over the bubbles to see the locality wise treatment visit stats. The red circle is the BCI Hospital location.

Jul, Aug, Sep 2022

Treated by BCI (Hospital + Onsite) : 2927

Treated Onsite : 261 (8.9% of total rescues)

No of Treatment Visits (Onsite) : 555

I had my quarterly review with MoHo (FP), mid October – a bit later than usual this quarter due to my busy diary. She looked a shade unhappy, and I knew why. Her sister MoHo-2 or MoHo (DL – after the sponsor Dahnay Logistics) who we had promised would join her last quarter had yet to be delivered by the body shop.

Meanwhile there is more good news, after the phenomenal success of MoHo (FP) a third MoHo has been sponsored by Ranka Steels. The vehicle to be christened MoHo (RS – after Ranka Steels) will be the 3rd Tata Winger in the MoHo fleet and has already been delivered. It is now in the process of being sent to the body shop for re-building the interiors & exteriors into an ambulance. 

Blue Cross MoHos – the future of street animal healthcare are here to stay. We need experienced and street-smart Vets and Paravets to join our team. If you know any good ones, please do send Vinod (vinod@bluecrossofindia.org) a quick shout.

MoHo (FP) has been on the road for over 200 days and going from strength to strength. Watch this space for exciting news on the silent revolutions happening in street animal healthcare.

DONATE HERE -Fund the running costs of our MoHo-2.

OUR ARCHANGELS

Animal Care-Givers Of The Month

Every month I am in the committee that picks the best from all the people who care for us everyday. 

It is very difficult to choose, when everyone is so good to us. At BCI we are the world, and we will always be. Our caregivers dote on us and we could ask for nothing more. 

I picked –  Savariammal, Rani and Mubashir as the animal-care-givers for the three months this quarter. Their dedication to their work and kindness to us, especially the little ones that need immense care is indeed a service no amount of money can buy.

VISITING ANGELS

Volunteers Of The Month

The bountiful new faces and smells the weekend brings to the Blue Cross cannot be expressed with words. Oodles of love and affection and petting. Some smells more familiar than others, some more regular than others, but I know it when it arrives and I wait for it longingly. 

It’s volunteer of the month time and our volunteers of the month for Jul, Aug and Sep are Vishal, Gitu and Navayugan. 

And if you too would like to come hang with at the shelter and help us out with all the ‘human’ things needed to get done please sign up here. We have a whole lot of onsite (Chennai) and remote volunteering opportunities and would be thrilled to have you in our next induction – let’s get in some new smells, people.

THIS, THAT AND OTHER ANIMAL MATTERS

THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT

“This happened twenty five years ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday. Johnny, my dog was very sick and needed to be in a hospital. Those were days when public transport was not an option and even the auto drivers refused to let a dog ride with you. 

Having exhausted all options, high strung and with almost no hope, I made a desperate last ditch call to Dr Chinny Krishna already knowing well what the answer would be – ‘Blue Cross is a charity and is set up for transport of street animals only’. 

What I found outside my doorstep 30 minutes later – was his personal car, ready to take me and Johnny to the only big vet hospital in town at Vepery – a long drive from Adambakkam in the south. A gesture so humane, it has completely transformed me as a person. I had not known much about Blue Cross before this, but started to volunteer regularly there. I experienced first hand the battles they were fighting everyday. The challenges of running a free clinic, rescuing trapped animals in distress and bringing in sick street animals to treat at their hospital from all around the city. The uphill battle they fought to educate and bring policy changes. Successfully making the animal birth control program (the most humane way to population control) the official way to manage street animals is a watershed moment for India and till today remains an example for many other countries that followed suit. I saw first hand all this happen in Chennai – the stoppage of catch-and-cull, the ABC program being implemented and the drop in incidence of rabies as a result. 

As for volunteering at the sanctuary – the whole experience for me was, to say the least, the most humbling, and it forever changed my perception of animal welfare. 

The resources needed to pull off anything at the scale Blue Cross is working at is immense. With nearly 2000 animal residents (many in treatment) the medical and nutrition costs alone can break the spirit of a team any less resolute than the one in place. Keeping employee costs and turnover low and motivated to provide a high level of care (many a times palliative due to the advanced conditions of sickness and injury when street animals are finally noticed and brought to the sanctuary) is extremely challenging, especially amidst all the suffering. But Dr Chinny’s team does it day after day, all 365 days of the year against all odds. I cannot imagine anything in my long experience as a businessperson as complex as what BCI has been doing relentlessly for nearly six decades.

I will continue to volunteer and support BCI and do my bit for the voiceless in every possible way. Volunteering at the BCI has made me realise no living being is inferior to humans, and has taught me patience and a unique appreciation of life.”

Anitha Balasubramanian is one of the founder partners and a director at Quintessence Business Solutions – a Dallas-Texas/Chennai based Revenue Cycle Management (RCM) company that helps clients worldwide in the medical billing and coding services. Quintessence has been supporting the Blue Cross of India for several years by sponsoring the fuel, maintenance and rescue costs. Blue Cross rescues close to 1000 animals every month, treats and rehabilitates them before they are released back. 

BLUE CROSS OF INDIA STARTS ABC-AR AT SALEM, TAMILNADU. 
This August at Salem under the leadership of Ms.Veena Gurubadham and Ms.Vidhya Lakshmi of RAIN, the ABC-AR program for street dogs was kicked off on behalf of the Salem City Municipal Corporation. 

In the first month Dr Prabakar, a gifted WVS trained veterinary surgeon performed the surgeries. Dr Prabakar has been a WVS trainer and has much experience in ABC, having travelled to many parts of the country and trained others in the ABC procedure as well as performed ABC surgeries. In September to ramp up the numbers, another WVS trained vet Dr Ravi Verma joined the veterinary team.

In under two months this team has successfully completed birth control and anti-rabies vaccinations for 657 street dogs in Salem with a record zero mortalitySurgeries began in the first week of August. In the first month 254 surgeries were done. With the addition of the second surgeon the numbers were ramped up to 403 in September. 

BCI would like to acknowledge the leadership of Ms. Veena and Ms. Vidhya in making this program a grand success. We hope this inspires other large city municipalities in Tamilnadu and other states in India in running effective ABC programs.

BLUE CROSS OF INDIA KICKS OFF THE COMMUNITY ANIMAL CAREGIVER PROGRAM

This quarter with the support and initiative of one of our associate life members and volunteers Rob Thangadurai the Blue Cross kicked off enrolments to the BCI- Community Animal Caregiver Program or BCI-CAC.

The idea behind the BCI-CAC program is to provide air support to the citizens who wish to help street animals in their communities. The card is to recognise the holder as a legitimate animal caregiver who is willing to take the responsibility of ensuring that the street animals under her/his care live distress and disease free. One of the primary goals of the program is that over a period of time the CAC’s build support in their communities for awareness and animal welfare initiatives, especially animal birth control and anti rabies programs and help influence the completion of ABC-AR by the Chennai corporation for all the community dogs under their care. 

The ultimate goal of this initiative is to reduce street animal population and thus reduce opportunities for man-animal conflict and animal distress as a result. It is envisioned that the CAC’s would be able to achieve the goal of population reduction without animal suffering by building a strong bond with the animals under their care, and thus facilitate their stress free catching for the government catch-spay/neuter-return ABC programs.

To support the initiative, the Director General of Police of police Dr. C Sylendra Babu . IPS, assigned a senior police officer from his team Mr Kurinchi Selvam who the CAC’s can reach out to directly in case of any difficulties in street animal matters. 

As of end Sep, 77 CAC applications have been received. The screening / vetting process is presently being done and in early Q4 2022 a limited number of CAC cards will be issued when the program will be officially launched.

If you are already a caregiver to street animals in your area and wish to be part of this BCI community outreach initiative, please apply at this link.

YOGA WITH AN EXTRA TWIST – PAWGA

Yoga is full of twists, but this story of three friends and yoga has a unique extra twist involving animals – puppies and kittens.

Meet Subhashree, Swathi and Sinduja who have been friends since under-graduation. Even in their late teen years the three were keen to have a business of our own, but one which would have a positive impact on society and would help change perceptions and break dogma. 

Out of business school even though they went different ways, the passion to do something lasting kept pulling them back. And when passion comes together with industry, it is bound to leave a lasting mark on the landscape. 

“I was a regular volunteer at the Blue Cross of India. In 2019, I got a brainwave during one of my visits to the BCI as I sat among the hundreds of puppies in the sanctuary.” says Swathi. “It was sad to see so many beautiful, cute little lives dumped at BCI. I thought how we could improve awareness about the state of orphaned street pups and improve their chances of getting adopted into loving homes.” 

“I came up with the idea of yoga with puppies” says Swathi, who over the next year developed the idea with her enthusiastic friends Sinduja and Subhashree. Sinduja says, “The idea seemed feasible enough and the more we thought about it the more we recognised that we were on to something big. The best part was, even if we couldn’t get the puppies adopted, we realised we can raise awareness and bring in money for shelters on a regular basis by giving a portion of our ticket proceeds or even run fund-raisers for shelters.

PAWga was born with Sinduja handling on-field and online marketing, Subhashree taking care of PR and Swathi managing the numbers and helping the business have a decent runway.

But, how did PAWga actually start?

“Even if our concept was solid, in all honesty we weren’t sure if shelters would be convinced with the idea. It is of course the first time someone is doing it in India. It wasn’t a proven model in India at that time and something out of the box (and out of their capacity) for most shelters.” says Sinduja.

“In 2020 after a year of research, with trembling hands, we drafted an email to the BCI team with our idea for PAWga and a conviction only three crazy women in their early 20s can have. And it happened! Dr. Chinny Krishna responded with a ‘YES’ in all caps! And so began PAWga. We have obviously printed and framed this one email.” says Swathi.

Who does yoga with puppies help?

– The animals : By alleviating early-stage depression and anxiety as they grow in a shelter and don’t get to interact much with humans and giving them an opportunity at adoption.

– The participants : By reducing stress levels as it is scientifically proven that spending time with animals helps humans positively and by changing the lens through which people view indie breeds in India and show to them they are as fun to be with as any other breeds.

PAWga is ,

  • beginners yoga which is easy for everyone across all age groups to practice. 
  • has puppies running around the people as they do yoga, giving people an opportunity to bond with puppies in a cozy environment.
  • where the puppies at the event are up for adoption so anyone who bonds with the puppy can take them home.
  • where a portion of the funds raised goes to animal welfare.

Our journey so far

“We were enthralled with the response from BCI. We tested the concept on ourselves first, we tested it on our friends and even introduced kitten yoga earlier that year. We approach PAWga with the single-minded goal of making shelter animal’s lives better and in the process tweaking customer experience so that both the puppies and the humans are happy. The effect and feel after 60 minutes of PAWga spoke for itself and our tickets got sold out. “

Was it easy?

“Hell no! There was nothing easy about PAWga though playing with puppies for 60 mins seems like a dream job. There were people who mocked us and told us yoga and puppies can never be combined. Most venues did not allow pets and sneezed at dog hair. But we made it so far because of people who had faith in us, because of the people who came to us solely for our cause, people who opened up their spaces for us, and people who pointed us to the right help at the right time and most importantly Blue Cross, who always had our back.”

What’s next for PAWga?

“We have now expanded to Bangalore and our mission is to expand to other cities as well because many shelters suffer with low rates of adoption. We want to be present pan-India soon as our demand has also grown. We intend to run more fund-raiser events and have collaborations with schools and colleges that help instil animal welfare in young people. We also intend to run an annual pet fair from 2023 to increase footfall at the shelters.”

THE SPELL OF ROMEO – THE ENCHANTER

“We didn’t know he was the one. He wasn’t even a finalist. Until then, when we were thinking of a pet, we were considering a Persian cat. We called a few pet shops and decided we couldn’t afford one. So, we decided to adopt. When the moment came when we had to make a choice, he was the one we were driving home with from Blue Cross of India. Our parents had no idea we were bringing home a cat. They reacted as all parents do, “He must go!”. 

The first week was the toughest. Being first time pet owners, we didn’t know what to feed him. We gave him cow’s milk, with cat food in it. It made him sick. We were distraught. It became worse when he simply stopped eating. We were convinced that we were bad for him. Giving him up seemed like the humane thing to do, but how could we when we grew to love him so much. We’re grateful we never gave into that impulse. 

Four days later, he began exploring the house. Our parents warmed up to him. It took a lot of experimentation but we figured out his food preferences. He was ever so patient and loving throughout the adjustment period. Before we knew it, he was napping on my mother’s lap when she came back from work. We knew we were Romeo’s family, his forever home. 

It’s been a whole year since. He’s a feisty, temperamental teenager now. Has a very refined palate. Spends most of his time in our garden, chasing butterflies, and crickets. Don’t tell him I told you this, but he is a lousy hunter. There was one time he chased a cricket onto the sunshade, wanting to give him an ego-boost, I joined the hunt and pushed it down with a mop. It was right there, he pounced on it but it got away. Then he looked at me as if it was all my fault.

Well – thats Romeo in a nutshell – he has put our entire family, especially my skeptical parents in a magic spell.”

For over a year now, Priya and her parents have been under Romeo’s spell and couldn’t be happier. Do you want to be spell-bound by the simple wave of a whisker – adopt a kitten instead of shopping for one. 

The Blue Cross of India animal sanctuary has loads of kittens, pups and oodles of advise on how to care for them and bring them up. Make one a part of your loving family today. Reach out to velu@bluecrossofindia.org or vinod@bluecrossofindia.org for adoption queries. 

THE ANIMAL CALENDAR

Celebrating life – Preserving the endangered – Bringing Awareness

Get yourself an appointment on our busy calendars to know and learn more about us.

Click here to download the High Res Self Printable Blue Cross Of India – Animal Calendar and get to know more about the 67 different animal days celebrated around the world using QR codes..

July 2022
Aug 2022
Sep 2022
14th Jul 

World CHIMPANZEE Day

04th Aug 

Int CLOUDED LEOPARD day

1st Sep 

Int PRIMATE day

14th Jul 

World ORCA Day

10th Aug 

World LION day

17th Sep 

World MANTA day

16th Jul 

World SNAKE Day

12th Aug 

World ELEPHANT day

17th Sep 

Int RED PANDA day

29th Jul 
Int. TIGER Day
12th Aug

World HIROLA day

22nd Sep 

World RHINO day

 
 
13th Aug 

Int. WOLF day

22nd Sep 

Int TAMARIN day

 
 
19th Aug

World ORANGUTAN day

24th Sep 

World GORILLA day 

 
 
26th Aug

World AFRICAN WILD DOG 

day

26th Sep 

World CASSOWARY day

 
 
30th Aug 

Int. WHALE SHARK day

 
 
DONATION APPEALS

The Blue Cross Of India has been serving the voiceless for the last over 58 years mainly through donations from generous individuals like you. BCI is the first animal welfare organisation in India to be awarded the Guidestar Platinum Rating for transparency in 2013-14 and every year since – a stamp of assurance. 

Your donations are used in the most transparent and frugal manner for animal welfare, with minimal administrative expenses. The guidestar rating helps potential donors make a well informed decision based on an objective assessment of how donations are put to work by BCI. Learn More…

We thank you for your kindness and generous contributions that help the BCI take good care of us year after year. 

(Donations are eligible for 80G tax exemption – Make sure you mention your PAN No). Pl donate generously here.
Make Memories with Blue Cross Of India


Is it your Birthday
A Memory of someone close – a pet, a person
Perhaps your Anniversarry needs a celebration
Or you want to Honour your departed
You care about someone special and want to give a Surprise
Maybe you reached a personal or work Milestone
Or would like to Dedicate to someone you love 

Whatever it be, make it a memory that 2000 animals will be grateful for and bless you with their stomachs full.

The selfless gratitude of an animal – priceless……
                 ……..for everything else – there is Mastercard (or Visa or whatever other plastic floats your boat)

DONATE TO FEED US ON YOUR SPECIAL DAY – MAKE IT EXTRA SPECIAL