Animal Welfare

Puppy love at adoption camp for desi dogs in Lucknow

Local or mixed-breed dogs are hardier than expensive pedigree dogs.

It was a call to go swadeshi with a twist. Earlier this month, an adoption camp held at a Lucknow mall to promote the adoption of local breeds saw 11 out of the 20 pups present, and all seven kittens, finding homes.

People from all walks of life including politicians, businessmen and bureaucrats attended the camp in which visitors were also briefed about the plight of street dogs, and how desi breeds are hardier than their pedigree counterparts.

In all 20 orphaned dogs and seven kittens were available for adoption. They included puppies whose mothers had been poisoned and a disabled adult dog.

Go local

Families in India tend to keep pedigree breeds as pet dogs. Street dogs usually comprise local- or mixed-breed dogs, and a smattering of abandoned pedigree breeds. These dogs forage for food on the streets, where they face threats to life and limb from traffic and humans.

However, local or mixed-breed dogs are hardier than pedigree dogs, some of whom are imported from cool climes and find it difficult to adapt to India’s tropical climate.

(Photo courtesy: Indie Adoption Camp/Facebook).
(Photo courtesy: Indie Adoption Camp/Facebook).

“Usually we do not take a sense of pride in adopting or keeping an Indian dog as a pet,” said Kamna Pandey, an animal rights activist who organised the camp. “We wanted to create a sense of awareness and are surprised by the terrific response during the event.”

Pandey is the founder member of Lucknow Animal Welfare Forum, a social media group that works for street animals. She added that there was a need to spread awareness about Indian breeds in the country.

“Usually people go for foreign breeds but they are no match to Indian breeds,” said Pandey. “They are best suited for foreign countries where they have evolved. For example, with its long coat of hair and layers of fat, the St Bernard should be in the Alps. A Siberian Husky should be in the -20 degrees Celsius [temperature] of Siberia. Even ACs [air conditioners] do not get close to what they need.”

Finding a home

Those who visited the camp included Prateek Bhushan Singh, the BJP MLA from Gonda, Aparna Yadav, daughter-in-law of Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav, Aravind Chaturvedi of the Uttar Pradesh Special Task Force (Wildlife Crime Control) and BSP MLA Ritesh Pandey.

Singh adopted Raveena, the disabled adult dog, Chaturvedi shared his experiences with Indian dogs at the event, while the BSP’s Pandey adopted a semi-paralysed adult dog.

Prateek Bhushan Singh and Aparna Yadav at the adoption camp. (Photo courtesy: Kamna Pandey).
Prateek Bhushan Singh and Aparna Yadav at the adoption camp. (Photo courtesy: Kamna Pandey).

Aparna Yadav told this reporter that she was in favour of adopting indigenous dogs. “I have two Indian dogs at my house,” she said. “They are better in every aspect and should be preferred. These pups have lost their mothers and are orphans and there is little chance that they will survive alone.”

MBBS student Akansha Raj was one of those who took a dog home. On Facebook, she wrote that the pup she spotted was one of the weaker ones – its mother had been poisoned when it was just 15 days old. “I have found someone who waits for me to have dinner with me,” wrote Raj. “She follows me everywhere and I don’t know who saved whom.”

(Photo courtesy: Indie Adoption Camp/Facebook).
(Photo courtesy: Indie Adoption Camp/Facebook).
We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

Relying on the power of habits to solve India’s mammoth sanitation problem

Adopting three simple habits can help maximise the benefits of existing sanitation infrastructure.

India’s sanitation problem is well documented – the country was recently declared as having the highest number of people living without basic sanitation facilities. Sanitation encompasses all conditions relating to public health - especially sewage disposal and access to clean drinking water. Due to associated losses in productivity caused by sickness, increased healthcare costs and increased mortality, India recorded a loss of 5.2% of its GDP to poor sanitation in 2015. As tremendous as the economic losses are, the on-ground, human consequences of poor sanitation are grim - about one in 10 deaths, according to the World Bank.

Poor sanitation contributes to about 10% of the world’s disease burden and is linked to even those diseases that may not present any correlation at first. For example, while lack of nutrition is a direct cause of anaemia, poor sanitation can contribute to the problem by causing intestinal diseases which prevent people from absorbing nutrition from their food. In fact, a study found a correlation between improved sanitation and reduced prevalence of anaemia in 14 Indian states. Diarrhoeal diseases, the most well-known consequence of poor sanitation, are the third largest cause of child mortality in India. They are also linked to undernutrition and stunting in children - 38% of Indian children exhibit stunted growth. Improved sanitation can also help reduce prevalence of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). Though not a cause of high mortality rate, NTDs impair physical and cognitive development, contribute to mother and child illness and death and affect overall productivity. NTDs caused by parasitic worms - such as hookworms, whipworms etc. - infect millions every year and spread through open defecation. Improving toilet access and access to clean drinking water can significantly boost disease control programmes for diarrhoea, NTDs and other correlated conditions.

Unfortunately, with about 732 million people who have no access to toilets, India currently accounts for more than half of the world population that defecates in the open. India also accounts for the largest rural population living without access to clean water. Only 16% of India’s rural population is currently served by piped water.

However, there is cause for optimism. In the three years of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, the country’s sanitation coverage has risen from 39% to 65% and eight states and Union Territories have been declared open defecation free. But lasting change cannot be ensured by the proliferation of sanitation infrastructure alone. Ensuring the usage of toilets is as important as building them, more so due to the cultural preference for open defecation in rural India.

According to the World Bank, hygiene promotion is essential to realise the potential of infrastructure investments in sanitation. Behavioural intervention is most successful when it targets few behaviours with the most potential for impact. An area of public health where behavioural training has made an impact is WASH - water, sanitation and hygiene - a key issue of UN Sustainable Development Goal 6. Compliance to WASH practices has the potential to reduce illness and death, poverty and improve overall socio-economic development. The UN has even marked observance days for each - World Water Day for water (22 March), World Toilet Day for sanitation (19 November) and Global Handwashing Day for hygiene (15 October).

At its simplest, the benefits of WASH can be availed through three simple habits that safeguard against disease - washing hands before eating, drinking clean water and using a clean toilet. Handwashing and use of toilets are some of the most important behavioural interventions that keep diarrhoeal diseases from spreading, while clean drinking water is essential to prevent water-borne diseases and adverse health effects of toxic contaminants. In India, Hindustan Unilever Limited launched the Swachh Aadat Swachh Bharat initiative, a WASH behaviour change programme, to complement the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. Through its on-ground behaviour change model, SASB seeks to promote the three basic WASH habits to create long-lasting personal hygiene compliance among the populations it serves.

This touching film made as a part of SASB’s awareness campaign shows how lack of knowledge of basic hygiene practices means children miss out on developmental milestones due to preventable diseases.


SASB created the Swachhata curriculum, a textbook to encourage adoption of personal hygiene among school going children. It makes use of conceptual learning to teach primary school students about cleanliness, germs and clean habits in an engaging manner. Swachh Basti is an extensive urban outreach programme for sensitising urban slum residents about WASH habits through demos, skits and etc. in partnership with key local stakeholders such as doctors, anganwadi workers and support groups. In Ghatkopar, Mumbai, HUL built the first-of-its-kind Suvidha Centre - an urban water, hygiene and sanitation community centre. It provides toilets, handwashing and shower facilities, safe drinking water and state-of-the-art laundry operations at an affordable cost to about 1,500 residents of the area.

HUL’s factory workers also act as Swachhata Doots, or messengers of change who teach the three habits of WASH in their own villages. This mobile-led rural behaviour change communication model also provides a volunteering opportunity to those who are busy but wish to make a difference. A toolkit especially designed for this purpose helps volunteers approach, explain and teach people in their immediate vicinity - their drivers, cooks, domestic helps etc. - about the three simple habits for better hygiene. This helps cast the net of awareness wider as regular interaction is conducive to habit formation. To learn more about their volunteering programme, click here. To learn more about the Swachh Aadat Swachh Bharat initiative, click here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Hindustan Unilever and not by the Scroll editorial team.