In the encompassing vision of Sri Aurobindo’s Integral Yoga, could there be a place for animal welfare? Sri Aurobindo Society (SAS) certainly thought so and was keen to participate in a programme which strives to bring in harmony to the community and its surroundings with the aid of a consciously executed plan, and thus AuroJeeva was born. AuroJeeva is dedicated to animal welfare work in Puducherry, India. It has tied up with IDA (In Defence of Animals), India, to conduct an animal birth control (ABC) project for the street dogs of Puducherry in a bid to control the ever-expanding population of strays on the roads, making them victims of hit and run, cruelty and rampant diseases. In October 2013, 31 street dogs were caught and taken for ABC to Dayakara, a shelter in Auroville. Ears of all dogs were clipped according to procedure (to avoid a repeat operation), collars were made, and anti-rabies vaccinations administered.
Catching the dogs was the most difficult aspect of the ABCD and while it was slow in coming, members of the community did pitch in; this is where AuroJeeva hopes to make the biggest dent: public perception towards stray animals and community participation. An attitudinal shift can help in more hygienic surroundings and also give the animals a better quality of life.
The perspective is simple: while the animal can’t be consulted or asked its opinion on what the volunteers at AuroJeeva intend to do, the least that can be done is to ensure a treatment which is humane and gentle, giving it the respect it deserves.
While the focus of the drive is the ABC of street dogs, during the project help was also extended to sick or wounded dogs and other animals that may be in need of human assistance in order to return to a healthy way of being. But this cannot be done by an organization alone. It requires the help and support of entire communities and a change in mindset towards all other living beings.