Afternoon at Darjeeling Animal Shelter

Darjeeling Goodwill Animal Shelter was founded and run by Christine and Jeremy Townsend, a couple from Australia. During their trip to Darjeeling in 1993 they spotted a dying dog on the street; a dog that was dying of eating strychnine, a lethal poison administered and spread by the Darjeeling Municipality in order to 'contain' the growing numbers of 'rabid' stray dogs. The Townsend couple managed to sign an agreement with the Municipality that no stray dog would be killed further given their animal shelter run the Animal Birth Control programme which had already been implemented successfully at Jaipur. And that's how Darjeeling Goodwill Animal Shelter was born. Later they founded a branch in Kalimpong also.

To be honest, I do not possess much respect for the people of Darjeeling, except maybe for a handful of exceptions. Mostly they are lazy, greedy and selfish with no admirable qualities whatsoever. They have successfully managed to ruin the hill station that was once the apple of the Raj's as well as many aristocratic Bengalis' eye. When I first came to know about this story behind the establishment of DAS, I was even more appalled. There's no wonder that this place is run by a couple of foreigners. As much as I have observed in past one and half year here, one can't expect much of selfless compassion from Darjeeling.

I have spotted many sick dogs in their respective cages on my visit to DAS. I wonder how well the shelter is maintained. After all it's some locales who run the place on a daily basis. I follow many animal shelters' activities on social media. For example, Umeed for Animals (Delhi), Animal Aid India (Jaipur, Rajasthan), Dar Animals (Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh). Somehow I felt the poor dogs of DAS do not look as happy as those of from the shelters I just mentioned above.

Christine Townsend is a remarkable woman. And the way she promptly responds to emails proves her dedication and professionalism. She has done something so great for the poor dogs of a sad town like Darjeeling.

Shame on Darjeeling Municipality though. I mean what kind of monstrous people can think of deliberately killing animals en masse? And yet I see no dearth of expensive, fancy breeds of dogs in the streets of Darjeeling, walking alongside their proud owners who think of their dogs as some kind of status symbol while the strays are nothing but nuisance that deserve to be poisoned and murdered. 

Last word? A dog doesn't need much. They take so little and give us back so much. Nobody can love you as unconditionally as them. If you are fond of dogs, kindly visit your local shelter and adopt one. Let's not shop and encourage the heinous business of dog breeding. Instead, give home to one of the poor souls. And if you can't raise one you can always volunteer or donate. There's no happiness better than that in saving a dog.