Monsoon in India can be a brutal season for stray dogs.

And that is in a ‘normal’ year. This year’s powerful rains have hit Dharamsala particularly badly. On 12th July, a cloudburst unloaded itself wreaking havoc, causing the river to burst its banks, leading to flash flooding. Cars and buildings were swept away in the heavy flow.

Loss and damage to property is one impact of the flooding, but at DAR, we see the cost in different terms. The monsoon season, especially when it is extreme like this, causes a variety of issues for our desi dogs and those who support and care for them. 

So, what are the challenges?

Food & Shelter

Dogs can find it really hard to seek out dry places to stay — everything is wet, and finding a cosy place to shelter can be a very tall order. Some animals even perish due to prolonged periods out in the wet and cold weather.

Food can be scarce for the dogs — the rains force them to be constantly seeking shelter and harder to find. So even regular feeders are less likely to leave food scraps for the dogs as they normally would because there are no dry places.

Health

The dogs’ health can suffer a lot during heavy rains, for a number of reasons. Just as humans suffer under certain weather conditions, so do animals.

Wounds take much longer to heal in the humid conditions that come with monsoon, and are more likely to become infested with maggots. This can bring a lot of discomfort to the dogs, and it becomes more challenging for the staff to contend with in order to ease their suffering. 

Skin problems are far more prevalent in this season too, due to the dogs’ long exposure in the wet atmosphere. Fungal infections are far more likely to crop up, and without some dry environment, are very likely to linger. 

Logistics

It goes without saying that when the region experiences flooding and landslides, road conditions become dire and dangerous. Any change in the road conditions can make dog rescues almost impossible at worst, and very challenging at best. There’s very rarely anything that can be done in this situation, and it’s so frustrating and heartbreaking at the same time!

Aside from rescues, our Animal Birth Control (ABC) program takes a hit. Due to the aforementioned reasons, healing time from surgery is a lot longer during monsoon. Longer healing equals less surgeries equals less chance of controlling the population. 

What Can We Do?
  • Offer shelter and food for local dogs if you can — we know it can be harder during monsoon but try to be empathetic to animals in need
  • Donate — the DAR dogs need more blankets during monsoon as it’s difficult to dry anything
  • Try to notice local dogs and call us if they need medical attention

Monsoon has been especially difficult for everyone this year, but a little empathy goes a long way, especially for the local strays! Let’s keep them safe and healthy!

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About the author

Vaila Erin is a writer, lover of animals, and a bit of a nomad. For her, life is about stories — observing yourself and others so that you can laugh, cry and entertain each other with its absurdities. Connect with her at vailaerin.com or via LinkedIn.

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