Water Bowl Project: Quench the Thirst of Animals on the Street!

Blue Cross of India is an organization that is involved in rescuing, protecting and caring for animals on the streets. They are based out of Chennai. I visited their premises on Saturday, to know more about their Water Bowl project.

Before a few years, I accompanied a foreigner who came to India (for the first time). While traveling in a taxi, he pointed to some roadside dogs and asked me, “Who cares for these dogs – how do they grow up?”. I must admit that such a thought never occurred to me earlier and I just shrugged my shoulders. The concept that dogs could be left on the streets, was alien to him – I guess!  

The Water Bowl project is a collaborative initiative by the Blue Cross of India. It invites residents of Chennai to provide drinking water to dogs/cats/cows/birds on the street during the summer (when dehydration is high) and tries to prevent animals from suffering due to lack of water. The water bowl you see in these photos is heavy, made of cement (tough to break) and can hold 5 liters of water.

Anyone can pick up the water bowl(s) from the Velachery center of Blue Cross (for free) or they can request volunteers to deliver it to them (for a nominal delivery charge of Rs. 50). Once they get it, people are expected to fill it up with clean water (filtered water is preferred, but even tap water is okay) and keep the bowl in front of their houses or street corners, for animals/birds to drink.

This is one such water-filled bowl kept at the Blue Cross center. Getting the bowl and keeping it on the road is only half the work – it needs to be refilled (and cleaned) maybe 3-4 times, every day. Dust and litter on the road may find its way into the water!

I asked Blue Cross members how these animals get food and water, generally. It seems, animals are dependent on food waste (from road side eateries and landfills) and rain water puddles. The reason dogs get rashes on their skin is because they come in contact with the chemicals we dump in waste yards. Another reason why you would want to rethink the use of chemicals in your day-to-day life. Chemicals are neither good to you, nor good for animals/birds!

On the day I went, a few guys came to Blue Cross center, to collect water bowls. Since they had some time, they also decided to volunteer – the above photo shows them painting the bowls. Note: The cement bowls are quite heavy, so you might want to bring a car. If you are going by bike, make sure there is a pillion rider who can hold the bowl. Easiest way to get the bowl is to fill up this online form and Blue Cross volunteers will deliver it to your home.

Last year, they distributed 700 water bowls across Chennai and this year they want to distribute more than 1000. We can make it happen!

I also saw one family that had come there to adopt a puppy. It seems, Blue Cross conducts regular adoption drives, but people need not wait for the drive to adopt puppies, they can walk-in anytime. The procedure to adopt puppies is also very simple. They had more than 200 puppies (waiting to be adopted) when I went there.

A volunteer said that no puppy should be on the street, when there are so many homes. They should be a part of every family. I agree. After all, dogs have a rare and an appealing quality – loyalty!

Destination Infinity

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