News on Sunday

Nandini Harrah : a saviour for stray dogs  

Her love for animals holds no barrier and she is strongly against the ill-treatment of stray dogs. Nandini Harrah, 25, has become the voice of these disadvantaged creatures and she is striving to change mindsets in the country. She shares her affection for animals and her views on the killing of stray dogs with News on Sunday. 

As the saying goes, a dog is man’s best friend. However, not everyone shares the same outlook. While some people would die for their pets, others view animals as beings that are undeserving and therefore are unworthy of any special treatment. A true animal lover, Nandini Harrah fell in love with the animal world when she was a child. “My first pet when I was a child was a guinea pig named Shadow. It spent 10 years by my side and we shared so much love together. I even brought it to college in my school bag. We had many dogs and cats, which were taken care of by my grandmother. She also had goats and hens.” Nandini, who now works in the Human Resources field, explains that after her guinea pig, she had a tortoise, a hamster and birds.

Nandini

She shares that the love for animals runs in the family. “People in my family find it hard to understand how I can love animals more than humans. My grandmother always tells me that I am just like my grandfather, who unfortunately I haven’t got the chance to know. He would bring stray dogs home and adopt them. He would also bring home animals that were injured and took care of them,” she utters. She underlines that just like her grandfather, she would also bring home animals she found on streets. “I’ve always liked helping stray animals since childhood. Once I brought home some abandoned little kittens. With the help of my grandma, I learned how to take care of them. I fed them milk with a spoon. Even now, I still drive with dog food in the car in order to help stray dogs that I can come across on the street.” 

People in my family find it hard to understand how I can love animals more than humans."

Against animal killing

When asked about her views on the killing of stray dogs in the country in order to reduce its population, Nandini utters that she is totally against this. “We cannot continue with this strategy. There should be no more killing. It is time for stakeholders concerned to understand the real problem that we are facing with stray animals. The fact is that people get rid of these animals when they can no longer take care of them and some would treat them badly by beating them for no valid reason.”

She trusts that laws should be more severe. “We need to do justice to these beings and most importantly, we need more severe punishment and new laws protecting all animals, whether they are dogs, cats and others. For people who do not want to find them in a situation where they do not know what to do with puppies and kittens, I strongly advise them to sterilize their animals. The owner should also register their pets and make sure they live a good, healthy life.”

Nandini

She says that she does her level best to help as much as she can. “I try to help as many injured and needy animals as I can, even bats. I take them to the veterinarians; try to find a home and a family that would adopt them. However, it is not every time that I get help. I sometimes have to put the dogs in paid kennels. Everything I do is at my own cost.” She highlights that the most difficult thing is to change people’s mindset. 
“People now prefer only breed dogs. It’s time for Mauritians to wake up. All animals are affectionate and loyal. People would perhaps change their minds if they, as well as other stakeholders, watch live how these stray dogs and cats are treated and killed. Do they believe that these beings deserve to be killed like that? It is not their fault if they were born strays or were thrown away by their heartless owners.” Nandini trusts that people should be educated on how to treat animals. “It is vital for us to educate the future generation about how to treat and respect other beings that walk this earth. They have the same rights to love and to have a decent life like we do.”

A shelter for stray animals

Her wish and dream are to set up a shelter to help these stray animals. She shares with us the story of a dog she named Loulou and whose puppies she took care of with the help of the members of the Fire Brigade. “She often came near my apartment and I would feed her. After one month, I heard puppies crying and I went down to have a look, and she seemed to be begging me for help to save her puppies. Thanks to the help of the Fire Brigade officers, Zahirah and Sameer, we saved all her pups. I trust that she came to me because she knew that I would help her. I tried to get her adopted but she ran away and came back to me, having been beaten up by people. We share a unique bond and today, she is part of my family and cohabits with all my pets. Her puppies have been adopted by good owners and Loulou has also been sterilized. We are inseparable.”