Spanga was walking across the highway when suddenly a truck came precariously from the opposite direction and crushed his forelegs in a flash. He howled in pain but his cries remained unheard because to the world, he was a mere animal—just a street dog.
The 'Care for paws' shelter in Keraniganj, Dhaka is full of rescue animals like Spanga who have similar heart-rending stories. When you enter the premise, softly barking and eagerly wanting to be stroked, Kalu, Hector, Moni and a bunch of other friendly dogs come up to you. Some of them cannot see, some are paralyzed and some are even fighting cancer.
The shelter stands in the middle of a beautiful suburb and as the name suggests, it serves as a voice for voiceless, homeless creatures. In a world where brutality against stray dogs and cats rises with every passing day, the place is a sanctuary for them.
The territory covers 22,880 sq. ft. with two separate extensions for cats and dogs. More than 70 dogs and 45 cats of different breeds are under their shield. The animals that once starved or wandered through dustbins for food, are now well fed with cat food, dog food, boiled proteins and more.
The non-profit organization has a team of seven members, seven staffs and 35 volunteers. Needless to say that the caretakers and members of the house share a special bond.
Ratan, the 20-year-old supervisor of the shelter took a trip down his memory lane, "Few months ago, I rescued an injured baby monkey. Someone had thrown him off a roof. For over a week, I nursed him and he slept in my bed. Then one morning I woke up to find him not breathing anymore." His voice shook as he narrated the story, hinting at the loss of a loved one.
Care for paws is the first association to bring cancer treatment for canines and felines in Bangladesh. Founder of the shelter, Sourav Shamim, brings in the drugs needed for chemotherapy from India and Thailand to treat the diseased animals. At present, three dogs of the house continue to soldier on, winning against cancer.
When rescue animals like Kajli rubs her nose or Tuki brushes her tail against their human friends, the longing for affection in their eyes is guaranteed to warm any heart. However, in reality, very few human beings are kind to these creatures.
In the beginning of this year, a girl made a video of killing a kitten with great panache but Care for paws slated the incident and shouldered the responsibility of a legal battle against her that is still going on.
Sourav did not have it easy to build this facility for stray dogs and cats. He had to struggle a lot before he could finally establish it.
He said, "My brother and I had a pet dog who died before our eyes due to lack of medical support for animals. It was that very day that the thought of setting up an animal habitation came to our minds."
'Care for paws' has a veterinary hospital too which provides treatments to pet as well as stray animals.
Ratan bumped into a kitten some days ago and all of his zest revolves around her these days. Someone left the kitten to die but her luck brought her into this safe haven where the line between humans and paws is vague and that is how interspecies friendship takes a new meaning at Care for paws.