Q1-2023

Newsletter Jan-Feb-Mar 2023

edited by Tyag Krishnamurthy

FROM THE EDITOR'S KEN (NEL)

Sunface - The Blue Cross MascotAs we step into our 60th year I would like to reflect on our legacy. 

The last six decades has seen the Blue Cross of India go from strength to strength forging new paths where animals can feel safe and walk free. Today we are arguably the among the best animal welfare organisations in the country that takes pride in caring for animals of all kinds. 

Starting from being the first in the world to conceive a street dog population control program which in itself can stand as a singular achievement many can only dream of (see the BCI recognised in the annals of world environmental history by Radford University here in the timeline of 1959), to launching in 2022 the country’s first mobile hospital exclusively for street animal care, the Blue Cross of India has always been a template for others to follow. 

The animal birth control program (called ABC to show how simple it is) alone has seen the stopping of the barbaric killing of street dogs by electrocution, strangulation, beating, overdose of magnesium sulphate and strychnine poisoning – a fate suffered by untold millions of dogs in India until it was made illegal in 2001.

Our sustained dedication to the cause is exemplified by many actions and results over the last six decades – stopping the export of monkeys in 1977; stopping of export frog legs in the early seventies; stopping the introduction of Karakul lamb farming in India in 1989 by supporting Beauty Without Cruelty and other NGOs (the lambs were released to BWC and lived out their lives); developing the first interactive computer programmes to replace animal dissection in schools in 1997 changing forever generations of impressionable young minds into showing compassion for life no matter how small; being a big part of groups that helped in legislating laws on performing animals, public slaughter of camels etc – the list is long.

Few organisations, leave alone volunteer and donor driven non-profits can speak of such achievements and leave such an indelible mark on the landscape of animals in any country. 

Today as Blue Cross of India enters her Sixtieth Year of service to the voiceless she stands tall amongst the most active animal welfare groups in India with hospitals, shelters, ambulance services and a humane education programme. 

A toast to BCI for what she has done for animal kind over the last six decades.

A toast to the people who started this sixty five years ago – the visionaries – our founding mothers and fathers.

The BCI Founders

All this began on a rainy day in 1959 when Captain Sundaram couldn’t bear to walk away from the two pups struggling to stay afloat on a flooded road near his home in Madras. He took them home. In short order, his residence in T-Nagar became an animal shelter hosting 60 cats, dogs, goats, bandicoots and even a pair of baby mongooses rescued from a snake charmer.

An informal group – Animal Aid Association (AAA) was formed. The Captain, his wife Usha and his three children Suresh, Chinny Krishna and Vijayalakshmi, were soon joined by Daivasigamony, the then Secretary of the Indian Football Association. The activities of the group slowly increased and the name of the group was formalised as Blue Cross of India, Madras and formally registered in April 1964 with nine founding members.

One of BCI’s goals is to make animal welfare organisations like herself redundant when the world reaches a place where all life is treated equal and the voiceless will need no defenders. I hope we will see that day in the next sixty.

Happy reading!… and don’t forget to sign up to receive this in your email inbox every quarter.

AROUND THE (ANIMAL) WORLD IN 90 DAYS

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 quarter (Jan-Feb-Mar 2023)

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

 

Street animals in distress – Greater Chennai Area. 

This interactive bubble 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 in the last 3 months.

Jan, Feb, March 2023

Rescue Requests Received : 6579
Rescue Requests Accepted : 5661
Actual Rescues : 2502 (44 % of accepted)

Due to veterinary skill shortage this quarter BCI was able to only address about 44 % of the rescue requests that were accepted. 

The Blue Cross of India is committed to helping more, but we need your support. If you wish to help us as a volunteer or as a donor please use the links below:

In March we have picked up the pace, added several new veterinary personnel (both veterinarians and para-veterinarians) and gone-live with our third Mobile Hospital (MoHo). 

But there is a much bigger question to be asked. Is the injury, sickness and abuse these hapless street animals suffer not a symptom of a bigger more systemic cause? – The unviable population of street animals. The solution – an effective ABC (animal birth control) program.

The BCI works closely with major sponsors like HCL Foundation and the City Corporation to make this happen, but the journey is long and the road rough.

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

BACK FROM THE BRINK

Great Comeback Stories

I dedicate this section to our untiring vets, para-vets, animal caregivers and volunteers whose above-and-beyond efforts give such animals a new lease,  pulled them from the edge and gave them another chance for a paw-hold.

Pepper

Have you ever seen an extreme case of mange in dogs? Take a look at this tiny Spitz a few weeks ago. His appearance seemed beyond hope – he was hairless, with skin covered in sores, and thickened, hard, and crusty patches. Mange is a frighteningly common skin disease in stray, neglected, and abused dogs and puppies. This tiny Spitz, whom we named Pepper, was a victim of mange and appeared with skin that seemed to have turned to stone.

Pepper came to Blue Cross as an emaciated Spitz with missing patches of fur and scabs covering his body due to a severe case of mange. He was scared and alone, but his spirit was unbroken. With the help of the vets, caregivers, and volunteers, Pepper forged his way to recovery. He was treated with medicated baths, topical ointments, and antibiotics. As Pepper’s fur began to grow back after days of diligent treatment, his skin healed, and his personality began to shine. Despite the challenges, Pepper’s transformation was remarkable! He is now playful, curious, and loves to cuddle with anyone who takes the time to pet him.

Pepper’s transformation story may seem like just one of the dozens of cases each day, but it is a testament to the resilience and strength of dogs aided by immediate care and love.

Jude

Introducing Jude, a beautiful partially-piebald cat who was found in a residential area of Chennai with a nasty abrasion wound around his neck. The wound was so deep that it had become infected, and Jude was in excruciating pain.

A few good samaritans contacted the Blue Cross of India, and our mobile hospital, sponsored by Four Paws, reached the location immediately. After a preliminary examination by our vets, it was found that Jude was severely dehydrated and needed to be brought to our hospital for long term medical treatment.

Jude was scared and confused of his new surroundings but still allowed the veterinarians to treat him. Over the next few weeks, Jude began to heal. His wound closed up, and his fur started to grow back. He became the darling of the caregivers – purring loudly whenever someone patted him and nuzzling against their hand contentedly.

Jude’s transformation from an injured and scared stray to a beloved member of the shelter is heartwarming. While we provided the necessary treatment and plenty of love, he repaid us with endless affection in his own way. Jude’s story is a testament to the fact that every animal, no matter what adversity they face, can get a chance at a happy and fulfilling life.

 – stories by Keerthana (volunteer) 

DRAMA IN REAL LIFE

Great Rescues

The BCI team often helps train folks from other animal welfare organisations and even train the Tamilnadu Fire Service on animal rescues. But it all comes from our own discipline. I have seen first hand how hard the team practices to make sure they can pull off the most complex rescues like it was a walk in the park. For want of time and space we can only feature a couple here and it’s always hard to choose which ones.

I dedicate this section to our intrepid team of volunteer rescuers led by none other than the legendary Dawn Willams – himself an ex-black cat commando. A man who has been the force behind our tactical rescue teams for many years. Literally extracting animals off precarious edges, ledges, pits, sewers and wells to give them another shot at being adventurous all over again 🙂

The Stranded Kitten

 
 

Calf in stormwater drain

 

HOSPITAL-ON-WHEELS

The 3rd MoHo (Mobile Hospital) sponsored by Ranka Steels Flagged Off

5th Mar 2023: The third fully equipped mobile hospital was flagged off by the deputy mayor of Chennai – Shri M. Mahesh Kumar from the Blue Cross of India Guindy animal hospital and sanctuary. Shri Ashok Ranka of Ranka Steels was kind enough to grace the occasion.

With the launch of the Ranka BCI Mobile Hospital (Ranka – MoHo) and the soon to go-live Dahnay – MoHo, we hope to achieve greater heights in the timely, efficient and more effective treatment of street animals in their own neighbourhoods, reducing distress and suffering and improving the outcome for them.

With imminent plans to add several paravet teams on 2 wheelers (PoW : paravet-on-wheels) to support the three MoHo’s this program would finally realise its full potential – a unique first of its kind healthcare model in the country.

The BCI MoHo (Mobile Hospital) – 13 months in the making
Halfway around the Earth to deliver healthcare on the Chennai streets.

Since early March we have had two MoHo’s (Four Paws and Ranka Steels) running nearly everyday, breaking new records, bit it all started 13 months ago.

Since its kick-off on 2nd March 2022, the Four Paws BCI Mobile Hospital (FP-MoHo) has single-handedly treated over 930 unique cases making 1736 visitsDuring the month of March she was joined by the Ranka-MoHo who treated over 55 unique cases making 92 visits in just 3 weeks of operations.This quarter the two MoHo’s also started to provide vaccination services, vaccinating 114 dogs in March.

A toast to the new flying angel, to Four Paws (Flagship MoHo), DahNay Logistics (MoHo 2) and Ranka Steels (MoHo3) who made this possible with their generous donations, to BCI who flawlessly executed this eternal dream of taking healthcare to the doorstep.

DONATE HERE -Fund the running costs of our next Mobile Hospital.

EMPLOYEES OF THE QUARTER

VOLUNTEERS OF THE QUARTER

And if you 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.

THIS, THAT AND OTHER ANIMAL MATTERS

It is summer and ‘Project Quench’ – the Street Animal Water Bowl project is back

The Blue Cross Of India Water Bowl Project has been an annual initiative for several decades.

Quenching the thirst of street animals in the unforgiving heat of the Chennai summer prevents death from dehydration of hundreds of street animals and birds.

Putting out a water bowl in your neighbourhood (either picked from BCI or your own) for these furred and feathered friends is your chance to help them get through the season.

The bowls from BCI are made of cement using local potters and can hold up to four litres of water. They are painted using lead-free colours within our campus by volunteers.

Be a responsible citizen and ensure the bowls always have fresh water and do not breed mosquitoes

  • clean and refresh the water daily 
  • put the bowls in the shade (so moss formation is reduced) 
  • when not in use turn them upside down so they do not collect rain water and become a breeding pot for mosquitoes
  • keep your community safe and the neighbourhoods clean

The bowls can be picked up from our Guindy Shelter for a small donation that covers the cost.

How can you help:

If you are in Chennai:
Donate Rs.130 and pick a water bowl for free to place near your home or office.
-Donate paints, brushes to make more bowls
-Volunteer at our shelter to paint them

If you are not in Chennai:
Donate for bowls and we will place them on your behalf in locations without water sources and have a local volunteer keep them filled and well maintained.

Spread the word and join us on ‘Project Quench’.

The Pawga founders virtual adoption of Beauty 

Remember Subhashree, Swathi and Sinduja – the trio who founded Pawga – the innovative yoga program with puppies. (we featured them on these pages in Q3-2022). They did us a solid on 10th March by adopting one of our horses Beauty. But hold your reigns before you ask to be on their horseback yoga program. This adoption is virtual where the animal continues to stay at the Blue Cross but its nutrition and care is sponsored. The trio has made a large donation that covers the food and maintenance costs of Beauty for a full six months.

At BCI we have spacious stables and a huge area fenced off as paddocks for our rescued horses. Rescuing them is one thing but keeping them well fed, exercised and well cared for medically is altogether another – those costs quite a bit and just the food and maintenance costs Rs 300 a day – then there is healthcare which for these abused horses can rack up to quite a bit more.

The virtual adopter may choose from donating to feed and maintain one of them for a day (Rs 300), a week (Rs.2100) or a month (Rs.9000) or more. For adoption periods exceeding 6 months we will even arrange a special photoshoot and send you a framed picture and a Virtual Adopter Certificate from the Blue Cross with quarterly updates on their well being.

Any donation – small or big, we shall always be grateful. Watch them romping with such freedom and happiness – we have given them hope and a life worth living. Can you help us keep going?

 

How can you help:

-To adopt a virtual pet (other than horses) please contact Vinod (vinod@bluecrossofindia.org) or Velu (velu@bluecrossofindia.org

-To adopt another one of our Guindy sanctuary horses that run free in the spacious paddocks – click here to see the ‘horses virtual adoption page of Blue Cross of India and make a suitable donation.

Spread the word (forward this instagram post) about our sanctuary animals that are up for virtual adoption.

From my diary 
 
13th January 2023 – Modular Kennels Go-Live at BCI Guindy. 
Donation by our long term supporters Mrs. and Mr. Ravindar T, supported by work from Aspick Engineering.

16th January 2023 – Mattu Pongal Celebration at BCI

26th January 2023 – Republic Day – the tricolour hoisted at BCI

10th Feb 2023 – Guardian Pharmacy inside BCI now has a Pet-Spa
Swing by with your pet and get a hair-trim, pedicure or a nice shampoo.

8th March 2023 – International Women’s Day celebrations in BCI.
BCI is a happy workplace for women – Did you know that nearly 35% of BCI employees are women. 

12th March 2023 – HCL Foundation Animal Vaccination Camp 
1005 animals vaccinated with the help of our experienced vets, ably supported by volunteers at Kannagi Nagar, Thoraipakkam. Chennai.

THE ANIMAL CALENDAR

Celebrating life – Preserving the endangered – Bringing Awareness

We animals lead such a busy life, our calendars are full. Go ahead and get yourself an appointment on our calendars to know and learn more about us.

 

January 2023
February 2023
March 2023
31st Jan 

 

Int ZEBRA Day
14th Feb 

 

World BONOBO day
3rd Mar 

 

World Wildlife day
 
 
15th Feb 

 

World HIPPO day
20th Mar 

 

World SPARROW day
 
 
3rd Sat of Feb

 

World PANGOLIN day
20th Mar 

 

World FROG day
 
 
3rd Sun of Feb

 

World WHALE day
22nd Mar 

 

Int SEAL day
 
 
27th Feb 

 

Int POLAR BEAR day
23rd Mar 

 

World BEAR day
DONATION APPEAL

The Blue Cross Of India has been serving the voiceless for the last six decades 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)
Make Memories with Blue Cross Of India


Maybe it 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 stomach’s full.

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

 

PLEASE FEED US ON YOUR SPECIAL DAY – MAKE IT EXTRA SPECIAL

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