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Good samaritans: Delhi University students turn pet saviours in North Campus

Engineer Shivam Dewan’s initiative has brought together a group of Delhi University students who take care of stray dogs at shelters set up in Patel Chest, North Campus.

delhi Updated: Jun 27, 2017 20:11 IST
Henna Rakheja
Henna Rakheja
Hindustan Times
Delhi University,North Campus,Volunteer
A group of DU students are volunteering to take care of stray dogs at a shelter in North Campus.

In the Patel Chest area of Delhi University’s (DU) North Campus, a group of youngsters can be found spending time at roadside tea stalls. Observe carefully to realise that they don’t just loiter but also attend to stray dogs, at shelters set up by Shivam Dewan and group.

The tale of these good samaritans dates back to last October, when a 24-year-old engineer, Dewan, helped a white Indie stray. “I live in Paschim Vihar and was assisting a company in Patel Chest to set-up of a café. There I befriended a dog, suffering from malnutrition. I named her Molly. One day, I got a call from a stall owner, asking for help to save Molly,” says Dewan. He took the ailing dog to Friendicoes and found that it had fractured its pelvic bone. Molly’s treatment took two months and made Dewan so attached to the cause that he sought help of neighbouring college students to create a collective for Molly and other’s like her.

Molly responded to the love and care of students from DU, who volunteered to help — Shivam Dewan

Today, with the help of seven other DU students, they have set up two dog shelters. Initially they were made of cardboard cartons but later they made shelters out of brick and mortar.

“When we saw Molly, we volunteered to help, and that spiralled into a group. At present, we are taking care of three adult dogs and eight pups in shifts,” says Gayatri Misra from Miranda House.

Students from the North Campus have been taking care of dogs at the shelters in between their class lectures.

Misra, who hails from Assam, says it’s mostly in the company of these animals that she feels at home. “It’s important to value these strays because they are also part of our society. Earlier I used to even miss my classes to go and pet the dogs at the shelter. Now that we are busy with our exams, I meet the dogs in the morning shift only. When I’m sad or depressed, they bring a smile on my face,” adds Misra.

The brick and mortar dog shelters were built when Shivam took help of two labourers, working behind Patel Chest Hospital.

However, their journey hasn’t been hurdle-free. “One of the dog shelters was broken by someone. Not all shopkeepers were happy with our initiative. We are looking for safe environs to built more shelters in the coming months, with the financial help we have sought via crowdfunding. To maintain one shelter for six months, the operational cost is about Rs 2500, which includes price of dog’s food, their visits to doctor for vaccination etc. And, if a dog meets with an accident, the cost goes higher,” adds Dewan.

Final year law student, Heena Shehrawat, informs, “We are planning to hold a meeting on May 30, to discuss how to create safe shelters. And since some of us are completing our courses this year, we have the task to find new volunteers too.”

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First Published: May 29, 2017 17:52 IST