At the first glance, they don’t look like ordinary street dogs. Clad in red, blue and yellow checked warm coats, these stray dogs can give any pet canine a run for its money.
The jackets these stray dogs in Connaught Place are wearing to beat the winter chill are not provided by any animal NGO or Delhi’s affluent dog lovers but by street vendors of the inner circle of the Capital’s central business district.
The street vendors in Connaught Place, who earn their living by selling books, paintings and cushion covers, have taken it on themselves to help these dogs survive the chilling winter of Delhi.
“Stray dogs suffer from various diseases and it becomes difficult for them to survive winters. We can’t leave them in the open to die,” said Kala, a street vendor in CP’s B block.
The vendors have also arranged gunny sacks to provide warm corners to the dogs. “Some of them get irritated when we strap coats on their backs. They even tear them. We have kept gunny bags in corners of inner circle where they sleep at night,” said Chandni, who sells beads in E block.
The vendors say these coats don’t come cheap but they manage to arrange enough money to buy them.
“Foreigners often give us R50 to R100 extra and we use this money to buy coats for the dogs. A big size coat costs somewhere around R250, whereas a standard sized coat costs between R150 and R200. We buy them from the nearby Shankar Market,” added Kala, who has been selling cushion covers in Connaught Place since the late 1970s.
The stray dogs, which are usually abandoned by people after they develop diseases, succumb to cold easily.
“We just try to do our bit. These so-called dog NGOs just do it for publicity. We do this because we love dogs,” said Mayaram, an auto driver in Connaught Place.