Chennai's The Duchess Club goes all out to help stray animals and abandoned pets struggling for survival because of the regulations relating to the pandemic
COVID-19 has affected people and animals alike, around the world. With partial lockdown and physical distancing measures still in place, the effect on stray animals is devastating, as most are facing increasing difficulty in finding food. Friends of Furries, a collective of animal lovers, is working to provide succour to dogs and other animals in the city.
Friends of Furries is an initiative by the Duchess Club in Chennai, comprising hundreds of women from all walks of life. “We wanted to do something for animal welfare. Some of our senior members, especially Uma Muthuswami, our current president, were part of many animal rescues.
We started identifying animal rescuers and shelters and helping them with their services,” says Priya Rajan, a prominent Duchess Club member.
The Friends of Furries recently launched a Facebook and Instagram page.
The Duchess Club’s animal-oriented work actually started even before the pandemic. In January, Nina Reddy, one of the founding members of the club, conducted a fashion show in collaboration with celebrity choreographer Jeffrey Vardon, featuring pets along with the models. “The event was a grand success. We were able to identify some shelter homes and rescuers and provide them with help,” says Priya.
Since the pandemic broke out, many pet owners have been abandoning their four-legged friends, fearing they could be carriers of the virus. Friends of Furries is working to rescue as many pets as possible, and take them to safe shelters.
“Apart from regular recuses, we have three major plans in mind,” explains Lata Prakash, one of the members. “The first one is to set up a virtual adoption facility for those who find it difficult to adopt a pet due to their circumstances. They can contribute as a group or individually towards the expenses of the animal in a selected shelter home. They don’t have to take the dog or cat home if they don’t have facilities to take care of the animal. They can visit their pet once in a while at the shelter home. The second one is an Animal Birth Control (ABC) initiative, a practical solution to control the street dog population and eradicate rabies and other diseases. And the last one is to set up a crematorium for pets.”
Friends of Furries has already recused many pets from very difficult situations. The members are also using the new social media handles to spread the idea of pet adoption and donating to the various animal shelters across the city....