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HindustanTimes Thu,31 Jul 2014

For man’s best friend

Soumya Vajpayee, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, December 23, 2012
First Published: 15:28 IST(23/12/2012) | Last Updated: 17:43 IST(23/12/2012)

The immediate reflex for most of us after seeing a stray dog is to either try to shoo it away or walk around it. Unlike domestic pets, these homeless canines do not have the luxury of being pampered by their owners.

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But a bunch of former street kids from an orphanage called Dreamz Home are set to spread the message that stray dogs are a human’s best friends and are necessary for society. These kids believe that stray dogs protect your house without a fee and survive on leftover food.

StrayThrough a play titled Charlie Ki Fluffy, these kids will portray a world without stray dogs. “We often hear that stray animals should be killed. Even regular donors to our home told me that instead of investing money on a play for street dogs, I should use it for the welfare of the kids. It’s a self–funded play as we didn’t get any sponsorship,” says Vijay Karande, the director of Dreamz Home.

The play has 35 characters. “I came across these kids in a painting exhibition last year. They only drew dogs and cats. Since I’m very sensitive about stray dogs, I thought this group of kids was right for the play,” says Durga Rai, the play’s director, who’s also a freelance creative director and an animal activist.

“Scripting took one month,” says Rai. “I asked the kids to write down their feelings about stray dogs. So the script is entirely theirs. I’ve just added a few words.”

Bhagyashree Solanki
Age: 16
Role: Fluffy (the bitch)
Background: Used to beg at a signal in Grant Road till the age of seven.

“I’ve been looking after a stray dog for the past four years and because of that, five other stray dogs have become my friends.”

Ankita Shivajiutekar
Age: 17
Role: Woman who complains to the cop
Background: Mother was mentally retarded and father had hernia.

“I had a cat (Kumya), when I used to live with my grandmother. Kumya still speaks to me over the phone, whenever I speak with my grandmother.”

Indrajeet Sonikadam
Age: 13
Role: Charlie (the owner of the dog)
Background: Used to be a domestic help in Badlapur.

“Once during a fight between Kaloo (a stray dog at the orphanage) and another street dog, I poured water on them to resolve the fight.(laughs).”

Sumita Khaire 
Age: 16
Role: Goddess
Background: Father used to drink and beat his wife and kids.

“Once when our dog Snowy fell ill, I looked after her and I also used to take her to the hospital. But she passed away two years ago.”

Aarti Vishnugujar
Age: 15
Role: The cop
Background: Father left the family and mother remarried. Used to stay in an orphanage earlier, where she was beaten and tortured.

“I’m not very fond of cats and dogs but since this play is for such a nice cause, I’m enjoying it.”

It’s all about friends
The play is named Charlie Ki Fluffy (Charlie’s Fluffy). It portrays the life of a stray dog and tries to put across the importance of street animals to society. The protagonists of the play are Charlie (played by Indrajeet) and his bitch Fluffy (played by Bhagyashree). The story revolves around them, their love for each other, on how Fluffy is tortured by the public, how Charlie gets hurt while saving her and how the bitch takes revenge. The larger message is to educate people about stray dogs and establish that stray dogs are man’s best friends. 

Charlie Ki Fluffy will premiere on December 24, at the Iskcon temple, Juhu, from 7 pm onwards. Call 98929 54019 for more details.

Canine Kennel
The Welfare Of Stray Dogs: It finds homes for abandoned pets and promotes the adoption of street dogs. Call 6422 2838 for more details.

SPCA: Is dedicated to the service of all types of sick and injured animals. Call 2413 7518 for more details.

Ahimsa: A hospital and shelter for the treatment of sick, injured or diseased stray animals. It sterilises and vaccinates stray animals. Call 2880 2682 for more details.

World For All: An NGO for animal welfare that helps in the rescue and adoption of street animals. Call 98200 01506 for more details.

In Defence Of Animals: Fights for animal rights and  and provides shelters, dispensaries and ambulances for suffering animals.Call 3268 1418 for more details.


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