A cold morning happily gave way to some sunny laughter on Sunday. The Blue Cross Hospital at Keshavnagar,off Mundhwa road,transformed into a colourful fun fair ground. Conversations buzzed all over the hospital compound,as volunteers flitted about setting up kiosks. To mark National Animal Welfare Fortnight (January15-30),the animal welfare organisation conducted an awareness cum fund-raising event. Multiple stalls selling every possible doggie treat were scattered near the entrance to the compound. An adoption camp,a veterinary check-up tent,a fun ramp show for pet dogs,face-painting and temporay tattoo stalls,a ResQ beginner level animal first aid workshop and many more activities were on the agenda.
Students from three city schools were the audience and the beneficiaries of all the goings-on. Chattering bunches of children from Aman Setu school,Gurukul School and Erin Nagarwala School wandered about the hospital premises,asking endless questions and feverishly picking up books and merchandise. But undoubtedly,the biggest draw was the ‘Paws On The Ramp’ show. Enthusiastic canine participants,some dressed in glittering drapes while others in quirky outfits,put their best foot forward in a rollicking show.
“Considering the distance,I think it’s quite a good show,about 200 people came I believe,” said Anjali Paranjape of Blue Cross. “We wanted to have an event at the hospital to raise awareness about the work being done here.”
Prior to the event,students from the FAD International institute had pitched in creatively to beautify the main building of the one acre compound. The wall of the foyer and the pillars inside sported smart imagery of dogs,birds and snakes. Two of the pillars were reserved for the kids to illustrate,and they dutifully filled them with sketch-pen declarations of love for all animals. Some parents even came dressed in charming t-shirts with puppy faces emblazoned on them. “Not many dogs have been adopted,but it’s still a good start. People have come and they are roaming about the property. That’s what Blue Cross needs,” said Sheetal,a volunteer.
As the afternoon wore on,a hungry silence descended in the surroundings,and sales of chocolate sandwiches picked up at the little food court corner. Periodic announcements kept reminding the visitors of the various products on offer,and also about the stray donkeys who are residents of the hospital. “Please go to the donkeys and befriend them too. They are feeling ignored,” a volunteer implored to the children.
The hospital was built in 2002,and has a treatment complex as well as an intensive care unit to treat injured and ill strays. The hospital currently is home to 50 dogs,four horses,four donkeys and one cow.