Do Animals Matter To You?

Most of us claim to be animal lovers; we wince in pain or close our eyes and turn away when we see a wounded mongrel on the road thinking, well, it’s going to die anyway, or hoping that someone else will come up to help it or that it’s better that the poor dog dies than suffer.

These are some of the trivial thoughts that don’t enter the minds of Ganesh Nayak and his wife, Dheerija, the founders of ‘Animals Matter to Me (Mumbai)’, one of the most active NGOs in Mumbai, dedicated to the welfare of animals and birds – be it pets or stray. This is one of those few NGOs that have set a new standard for animal welfare in the city that makes us all sit up and take notice.

How it all started

Meet Ganesh, a 34-year-old Post Graduate in Events and Marketing, who runs his own Corporate Gifting firm and his wife, 31-year-old Dheeraja is a pilot for Air India, who have come together to take on this mission wholeheartedly.

“As a child I was always surrounded with animals at our residence, my mom Jaya Nayak is an ardent animal lover. Following her footsteps I got closer to animals and realized that I was very passionate and content in the company of animals. Luckily after marriage I got a wonderful partner who is equally crazy about animal welfare so it was a win win situation for me, and Animals Matter to Me (Mumbai) was born,” says Ganesh.

Started on 21st May, 2011, Animals Matter to Me (Mumbai) has more than 10,500 followers on Facebook that has members writing in offering to do volunteer work, seeking adoption for animals and help in spreading awareness. For Animals Matter To Me (Mumbai), this huge fan base means being able to connect with likeminded people who wish to help and offer support for the cause.

Objective of Animals Matter to Me

Animals Matter To Me (Mumbai) is an Animal Welfare Charitable Trust that was created with the aim of providing a safe home and shelter for abused, unwanted, orphaned animals, supporting other NGOs and Animal Welfare Associations to reach out to places faster and better and help in shelter management.

Animals Matter To Me (Mumbai) is an Independent Community that provides services for any and all animals in need. Here is a list of activities where Animals Matter To Me (Mumbai) has done significant work so far and plan to continue providing unending support to the four-legged and feathered creatures.

– Shelter Management – AMTM (Mumbai) have spent the last 12 months channelizing their efforts to improve the existing infrastructure and living conditions of more than 600 animals at the In Defence of Animals (IDA) shelter in Govandi, Mumbai. There, they have created 6 brand new dog kennels, 1 cattery and other repairs. In addition to IDA, AMTM have assisted in upgrading facilities for other groups, individuals and organizations like Ahimsa (Malad) and Paws (Thane) engaged in animal welfare in the Mumbai and Thane district.

– Feeding Sessions – Feeding sessions are conducted on a weekly basis or as required at various locations in the city through a network of dedicated animal welfare enthusiasts and through their very own volunteer base. This is done to improve the health of animals, and gain their trust so that they can be vaccinated with minimal man-animal conflict that has been created due to loss of habitat owing to rapid urbanization.

– Cats – This is one animal that has been neglected by the Municipal programme and whose population has been growing at an alarming rate owing to their semi-domestic nature. AMTM (Mumbai) have built a brand new cat enclosure at the IDA facility in Deonar with the help of donors and have several programmes in place for vaccination, sterilization and adoption of these fur balls.

How do they work
“As grass root workers we have more than 70 volunteers from different parts of Mumbai who can be called for emergencies pertaining to the locality close to them. Recently, more than 20 veterinary students have joined for professional experience as we do not engage in medication for any animal unless we have professional help,” mentions Ganesh.

All volunteers come from different fields of professional and personal lives; from software professionals to a local mechanics who have joined hands with Animals Matter To Me (Mumbai), to save and protect an animal in distress.  Animals Matter To Me (Mumbai) considers itself lucky to get help and guidance from expert veterinary doctors practicing in Mumbai who trust the nature of work they put in and don’t charge a fee.

Animals Matter To Me (Mumbai) has created a system where all the details of volunteers such as time of volunteering, area of operation and other details are fed into the system that help Ganesh and Dheerija to get in touch with the free volunteer service to carry out rescue or other work. “Our volunteering is 24/7 be it night or day and we call it Am/ Pm = Amtm Mumbai,” quips Ganesh.

Services offered

The services offered by Animals Matter To Me (Mumbai) are:

  • Rescues & Re-homing
  • Volunteering & Vaccination drives
  • BMC Pet Licensing
  • Qualified vet assistance & Vet students support
  • Cat & Dog Sterilization
  • Adoptions (Cat & Dog)
  • Cattery/Fostering
  • Fund Raisers & Awareness Camps
  • Avian / Reptiles Rescue

Challenges and Awareness

Ganesh adds, “There are instances when we do struggle with things like lack of transport, the need for a volunteer to reach the site in the shortest possible time, medicines, donations and many more situational struggles like availablitiy of doctors in the middle of night. But as they say there is ‘light at the end of the tunnel ‘, we have bailed out every animal or bird that came to us. A lot of presentations have been conducted at corporate companies who have always come forward to help our cause. Obstacles make us stronger to evaluate and handle the situation in a better way.”

Talk about support from the film and television fraternity, then there is no doubt about their unending support to Animals Matter To Me (Mumbai.) As Ganesh mentions. “Anju Mahendroo is the backbone of our organization while the actor and comedian Gaurav Gera inspired us to go ahead with our idea. Tejaswini Kolhapuri, Aditya Pancholi, Sharad Kelkar, Keerthi Kelkar, Suresh Menon, Sada Sayed, Udita Goswami, Narayani Shastri and Raveena Tandon have supported us in times of need.”

The best way to prevent cruelty to animals is to send messages of compassion and humanity towards animals, and children in schools are the best medium to counsel as they are the next generation who would drive this message across. Animals Matter To Me (Mumbai), also invest a lot of time and effort in conducting presentations in many International, Local and BMC schools, road shows packed with awareness programs and vaccination drives with the help of local vets and druggists.

Both electronic and print media have played a very important role in sending a strong message to the masses about any form of cruelty to an animal. The work and effort put in by Animals Matter to Me (Mumbai) have been featured in leading dailies like the Times of India , Afternoon, Midday and have also been covered on ‘Heavy Petting’ on NDTV Good Times.

Adoption

A thorough check is done about the family to ascertain whether they are ready in all aspects and will the animal get adequate love and attention once adopted. Ganesh mentions, “Since adoptions of strays and unwanted pets are critical, we have a detailed and easy ‘pre-adoption’ form that we ask the families to fill up to help us understand and review them before they wish adopt a pet. “

Apart from this, the adopted animal is visited four times in a year to ascertain its health and well being, where a ‘post adoption’ form filled up on every visit. Veterinary students and associated vets offer counseling and help to families on pet care and maintenance if the need arises.

Work done so far

So far, Animals Matter To Me (Mumbai) have rescued more than 750 animals and re-homed more than 400 of the furry friends since the last 15 months since their official inception. “Every rescue or an adoption into a good family is an exceptional experience of happiness and content,” feels Ganesh.

How can you help

1) Report an animal in distress
2) Adopt an animal
3) Donate cash
4) Donate food (Rice, TurDal, Biscuits, Milk, Dog/Puppy Food, Cat/Kitten Food).
5) Donate any of the following: Cages, Surgery Tables, Stethoscopes, Cotton Balls, Q- Tips, Latex Gloves, Paper Towels, Old Newspapers, Old Clothes, Brooms, Dust pans, Disinfectants.
6) Place AMTM (Mumbai) donation boxes in your office space.
7) Volunteer for AMTM (Mumbai).
8 ) Spread a word about AMTM (Mumbai).

Funds donated will be used for sterilization of cats and dogs, medical treatment and rehabilitation of the injured/diseased animals, their transportation and for the repair and restoration work of shelters.

You can send cheque’s in favour of “Animals Matter To Me Mumbai” to
Ganesh Nayak,
2 White Rose, N Dutta Marg,
4 bungalows, Andheri (W),
Mumbai-53

Online fund transfers can be done to the AMTM (Mumbai) saving bank account (SB a/c) in the name of “Animals Matter to Me, Mumbai”, SB Account number- 911010036376599, Axis Bank, MIDC branch, Andheri (E), Mumbai-400 093 . IFSC/ITGS Code: UTIB0000395. Receipts will be couriered to you.

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Write to us at tanya@tanyamunshi.com if you’d like to get featured or collaborate with us at The Lifestyle Portal.

11 thoughts on “Do Animals Matter To You?

  • September 30, 2011 at 10:15 am
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    fab work! this is a pretty detailed write-up about the work done. just one question: do they have an ambulance or a vehicle to transport an animal in distress? I find it to be one of the most trying problems – transporting an injured street animal to the vet…

    Reply
    • October 1, 2011 at 11:07 am
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      Thanks a ton! We strive to publish stories about people who are trying to make a difference in this world. These are the people who are an inspiration to many of us. They have volunteers spread across the city who tend to an ailing animal in case of an emergency.

      Reply
  • October 13, 2011 at 6:42 am
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    Great work! Can we have a few numbers that can be dialed when we want to help a wounded animal?? Generally we are meted with not so encouraging a response from the NGOs . As it was rightly mentioned we cringe on seeing the poor animal in bad shape but are forced to turn away with a heavy heart knowing the apathetic response awaiting us. In a scenario where it is not possible to stay with the animal till help arrives, what is one supposed to do??? Much as we would love to help out the animal at times it becomes very difficult to do so. Given today’s traffic condition, it would be hours before the animal is treated. These are the problems we Mumbaiites face all the time. I would love to be enlightened on this please.

    Reply
  • October 13, 2011 at 8:44 am
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    Hi Meher,
    Thanks a ton. I truly understand what you’re mentioning here as I too have gone through similar situations.

    Somethings we have to be mentally prepared about a large city like ours, where even at times an ambulance can take long to reach a patient. But we still try and do our best. The same applies here as well.

    When personal assistance is not possible, you can Animals Matter to Me (Mumbai), Contact person Ganesh Nayak on 9819380310. I am sure, they will be in a position to help you out.

    Regards,
    Tanya

    Reply
  • October 14, 2011 at 7:09 am
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    Thanks Tanya, I have saved the number. Is it a 24 hour service??? and functioning on Sundays too??? The reason I ask is, just last month I needed a vet on a Sunday for a stray in my colony and despite having contact numbers of quite a few nothing took shape. Eventually I had to summon BSPCA to come and pick up the canine and take it to the hospital for treatnment. If treatment was given on site it would save the animal from a lot of anguish. It was possible as the stray was in the colony and we could be around till help arrived. In case of strays who are on the streets, mere indication may not be enough for the vet to come and tend to them. Anyways thanks once again for the number.

    Reply
  • October 17, 2011 at 4:57 am
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    Hey Meher!
    That’s really commendable what you’re doing, hat’s off to you for taking so much of effort to help strays in the city. I think AMTM (Mumbai) will be more than happy to offer their support and help. Why don’t you give them a call and find out how best to bridge the gap and be able to help an animal in distress.

    Reply
  • September 27, 2012 at 12:40 am
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    hi, my daughter has brought in an orphaned kitten, but right now i already have my hands full and d kitten needs real intensive care as it is really young. can i bring it over 2 ur place?

    Reply
    • September 27, 2012 at 11:26 am
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      Hi Prashanthi,
      Taking care of kittens and pups requires as much dedication as taking care of a human baby; but with time and patience everything falls into place. In case you want to put up the kitten for adoption then get in touch with ‘Animals Matter to Me Mumbai’ through their Facebook page – http://www.facebook.com/amtmindia or their website – http://www.amtmmumbai.org/. You can also check out In Defence of Animals – http://www.idaindia.org/ – these are all Mumbai based animal welfare organizations.Hope this helps.
      But I sincerely hope you will not give up on the little kitten so soon! They’re absolutely adorable if you can devote some time in their training and health care. In fact, pets are a good way of teaching a child being responsible and caring. I had adopted a stray dog who lived with us for more than 16 yrs and it had been one of the most fun and enjoyable phases of our lives – it can get trying at times esp. when they fall sick or dropping them to the pet hostel before a holiday, but it is all a part of life! 🙂
      Wish you all the best.
      Regards,
      Tanya

      Reply
  • September 27, 2012 at 11:52 am
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    dear tanya, thanks for d reply but i cant keep d kitten as my younger daughter falls frequently sick so i would really appreciate it if u tell me a place where she can be taken care of

    Reply
    • September 28, 2012 at 5:10 pm
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      Hi Prashanthi,
      I am so sorry to hear that. I sincerely hope your child recovers soon. Hope it’s not any kind of allergy to animal fur. I have provided the links for ‘Animals Matter to Me Mumbai’ (AMTM) and ‘In Defence of Animals’ – their nos and contact information are all mentioned in their website and Facebook page. Kindly have a look at the urls in my previous msg and give them a call. I am sure they will be able to help you out. You could also take a pic of the kitten and post it on ‘AMTM’ Facebook page – http://www.facebook.com/amtmindia with your contact details so that anyone keen on adopting the kitten can directly contact you.
      Hope this helps.
      Regards,
      Tanya

      Reply
  • October 2, 2012 at 9:32 pm
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    thank you, i am encouraged by ur reply.my heart melts when i see d tiny thing and just hope i dont have to abandon her again.i will try whatever u have suggested

    Reply

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