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Pets to rescue of 11/7 victims? kin

An NGO called Animal Angels provides help to people whose lives were changed by the blasts, reports Neha Bhayana.

india Updated: Dec 11, 2006 01:12 IST

The last five months have been a trying time for Subhashree Karambelkar (50), who lost her husband Parag (53) in the July 11 serial train blasts.

She has pulled herself together. But it has not been as easy for her 21-year-old daughter Amruta.

“She doesn’t talk to me. She seems happy, but I know she’s not,” she said.

Amruta got her Arts degree in June, but she does not want to study further.  Said a worried Subhashree: “She wanted to do a designing course, but now she doesn’t have the will. Perhaps a companion would help her release her pent-up feelings.”

Animal-assisted therapy
Animal Angels uses trained dogs, cats, rabbits to provide comfort to people.



They identify the problems a person faces and plan the therapy accordingly.



For details, call Animal Angels on 9325025250, e-mail
animalangels@animalangels.org.inor visitwww.animalangels.org.in

On Sunday, Subhashree found a ray of hope in Goldie, a Golden Retriever, and Kutti, a Labrador, who are trained by NGO Animal Angels.

Subhashree was introduced to the dogs at an event organised by KEM Hospital, the Bombay Psychiatric Society (BPS), Rotary Club of Bombay Central and Rotract Club, to offer animal-assisted therapy to those affected by the blasts.

“Pets provide understanding, unconditional love and companionship. Just hugging a dog can make one feel better,” said Pune-based Minal Lonkar-Kavishwar, founder and president of Animal Angels.

A clinical psychologist, Kavishwar has been providing animal-assisted therapy to children with psychological and physical disabilities for four years. “Therapy dogs worked with people after 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. It is new to India, but it works beautifully,” she said.

Subhashree plans to engage the assistance of Animal Angels or get her daughter a rabbit or fish.

Dhwani Buddhadev, who lost husband Himanshu in the blasts, agreed that pets could be of help. She plans to seek the help of BPS for her in-laws, who “don’t share their grief”.

Five months after seven blasts ripped apart first-class compartments in rush hours, BPS plans to continue its efforts to aid those affected.

“We will continue our work with the families. We have identified mental health issues and will do what we can to help,” said Dr Shubangi Parkar, head of KEM’s psychiatry department and member of BPS.

Email Neha Bhayana: neha .bhayana@hindustantimes.com

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