Let’s Live Together with our Four Legged Friends

Driving through your colony if you happen to notice stray and homeless puppies what do you normally do? Drive off for sure! They’re strays we think, they can take care of themselves. But how about changing this attitude and try to see if we can give these cute little pups a loving and a caring home for a change? If you’re one of those who would like to relocate those litter of pups from your colony, then get in touch with your city’s animal welfare organisations to see if they can get a home.

One such organisation that works relentlessly to give these adorable creatures a loving home is Bangalore based Let’s Live Together that was started by Animal Activists Achala Paani and her mother Dr. B. Vijayakumari on 12th April 2009. Achala is a graphic designer by profession and the official photographer for Let’s Live Together has teamed up with her mother Dr.B.Vijayakumari an Ayurvedic Doctor who is an alternative medical practitioner for pets.

How it all began

“I have been an Animal Activists for the last 12 years. While volunteering with animal groups I have rescued and homed hundreds of homeless puppies by myself as I have always believed in “BEING the Difference, I Wish to See” and my aim was to utilise the power of my freedom to make that change happen. Since the cause has always been close to my heart I took up “Let’s Live Together” as my graduation project, which has now become a “real life project”,” says Achala.

The Art of Living Together with Pups

Achala started Let’s Live Together’s Campaign for Indian dogs with Street Photography. She used her skills as a photographer and a graphic designer for her passion for animals to design calendars, mugs, stickers, greeting cards, bookmarks and carry bags for Let’s Live Together and sold them. This money has come a long way in setting up Let’s Live Together.

She further adds, “Thanks to my mother’s tremendous support, I was granted a room at home with an outlet, that I now use as Let’s Live Together’s Office, which is our official adoption centre.”

One of her main projects ‘Life on the Street’, portrays the life of homeless Indian dogs on the street which in turn has helped to promote the adoption of Indian puppies, than buying.

An interesting thing to note is that Achala’s mother Dr.B.Vijayakumari is an Ayurvedic Doctor and is an alternative medical practitioner. “She treats all the animals that I rescue, apart from her alternative therapy for pet dogs,” adds Achala.

Projects are undertaken at Let’s Live Together

Achala enlists some of the main projects and issues are taken up by her organisation:

  • Social issue: Homelessness of Indian Dogs
  • Victims: Indian Dogs
  • NGO: Let’s Live Together
  • Project: Life on the street
  • Solution: Awareness/ adoption

Let’s Live Together as an adoption centre primarily supports adoption of Indian puppies and works towards creating awareness for the same. Achala mentions, “We run a public helpline service, where people can call if they need to adopt, or need help with their rescued puppy.”

Let’s Live Together firmly believes that adoption of stray pups would definitely help in solving the street dog issue, sensibly. The organisation strives its best to ensure that every pup which has found its way to Let’s Live Together gets a good home and a loving family.

More so, it is also an organisation that forms a platform for like-minded people who want to rescue and adopt homeless animals from their city streets.

Pup Rescue Operations

Achala mentions, “Let’s Live Together runs an adoption centre for homeless puppies where we deal with puppies less than 3-4 months of age largely because their chance of survival on the street is extremely low compared to an adult dog who has learnt to survive. “

Let’s Live Together regularly conducts adoptions camps all over the city making access to adoptions easy. They also have adoptions on Sundays at their adoption centre in Bangalore between 10 am and 2 pm depending on the demand for puppies that week.

Let’s Live Together has a team of post adoption check volunteers to ensure that the puppies adopted are well kept, spayed and neutered to reduce the overall number of puppies.

Challenges faced

Achala shares with us some of the crucial challenges that she faces in running her organisation.

I] Ethical and Humane Animal Welfare/Rights Policies.

Most people are unaware of the positive aspects of adoption and its impact on the society in solving the (Street dog) Community dog issue sensibly. Humans play a key role in deciding the fate of the homeless animals around us. Mass awareness plays a vital role in sensitising people and for this, we need a large network of sensitised people to communicate with the people who are still ignorant and unaware.

Solution: At Let’s Live Together, I primarily work on building awareness. I encourage people to get involved and create a network, indulge and educate them to spread the message of the cause. I organise and conduct education classes in schools since I believe that humane kids are Compassionate Adults.

Issue: Funds for Financial Needs:

  • Let’s Live Together needs funds for Puppy food, puppy collars, belts, food bowls, cages, plastic bins for puppies, print materials, etc.
  • Conducting adoption camps.
  • Office Maintenance of the NGO.
  • Campaigning of the cause in schools and colleges.
  • Production of the merchandise.
  • Printing of Campaign materials like banners, posters, leaflets, pamphlets.

Solution: Let’s Live Together has been able to sustain financially largely due to the revenue generating model we have applied into our system. The organisation has its own custom made merchandise to sell and raise funds for the costs involved in running the NGO at its in-house design set up, which works as our Sustainable factor. I as a Graduate of Graphic Design contribute my time and design skills to customise the merchandise.

The response from the city

Achala feels that the people of Bangalore have been very supportive. Let’s Live Together is a one of its kind service in Bangalore that leads the adoption movement in by running a centre specifically for adoption. The adoption rates have considerably shot up over the years, and people are definitely more open to adopting a homeless puppy than buying a dog. Most animal lovers are now aware of adoption as an alternative to buying pets, thanks to Let’s Live Together’s awareness campaigns.  In fact, popular Bollywood actor Boman Irani has promised to extend support to Let’s Live Together in their future projects.

Awards and Accolades

Here is the list of awards that Achala has received for her social work in the field of animal welfare, since the time she started Let’s Live Together.

  • The Young Achievers Award by The Brigade Group & Rotary Bangalore Midtown on Nov 20th, 2010 in Bangalore.
  • N.K Pillai Foundation award By (CSIM) Center for Social Initiative Management. Fellowship for the year 2010 -2011, in Bangalore.
  • Fun, Fearless Female Award by Cosmopolitan Magazine on March 5th, 2011 in Mumbai.
  • The Nava Kiran award for the Outstanding Women of the State Award by the Women’s International Network on March 6th, 2011 in Bangalore.

So the next time you want to gift your kid a pet or get yourself one, don’t BUY a dog, instead ADOPT a stray pup and make a difference to both your lives.

Find Let’s Live Together on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LetsLiveTogether

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