OPINION: Non availability of vets in Shillong on Sundays, a matter of great concern!


SHWETA RAJ KANWAR | January 8, 2018

He kept nauseating the whole day, unable to consume anything solid; teary eyed and sad faced, he kept staring at me, shivering in the cold January winter as if I was some magician who would be able to ward away his pain and suffering by uttering some weird spells, but Alas! I only stared back at him, helpless, stroking his fluffy body in the hope that it would comfort him, not knowing the intensity of his pain that I could hardly even imagine. A bitter realization dawned upon me that day- the non availability of vets on a Sunday became a curse for my pet.

I had made frivolous attempts to call almost 4 vets in Shillong in the faint hope that one of them would agree to examine Fluffy (my pet), but sadly, 2 of them did not pick up my call and one was out of station and the other was unreachable.

But, this is not just my story. This is the story of many pet owners/lovers (at least in Shillong) who have faced this ordeal not once but several times, especially during weekends when vets choose to take a day off. I sincerely believe that vets need a day off after 6 days of catering to the needs of other people's pets and I do not blame anybody for their unavailability on a Sunday but what do people like us do in case of an emergency? Where do we go? Whom should we approach? Should we silently watch our pets suffer and ultimately die?

Speaking to one of the pet owners in Shillong who happens to be a friend of mine, it was known that she had faced the same ordeal recently that led to the passing away of her pet.

She rued, "This is the biggest dilemma in Shillong- No vets available on holidays or Sundays. And no emergency services at all! It is the poor souls who suffer and we pet parents remain helpless. All we can do is try and make the pets comfortable. It is heartbreaking!"

"The disgusting apathetic attitude of the government and the people alike is the worse. There are no private vets available either. The fact that there is no emergency service is cruelty in itself", she said.

As I approached another friend of mine for the contact details of a vet who would be willing to help on a Sunday, I could not get through the number. When I mentioned this to her, she said, "They do not want to take any calls on a Sunday, especially from an unknown number. We are very helpless. There should be 24X7 medical facilities for these furries too", she said.

Luckily, a friend who is also a member of Stray Animals and Rescue Society, Meghalaya recommended an oral solution called 'Pedialyte' which sustained my pet for the night. But again, she also had the same sad story to narrate, "The vets will hardly attend to any calls on a Sunday or a holiday and the worst part is that we have no emergency unit. Many cases of ours had also suffered a lot due to this".

Owning a dog or a cat may be more like a status symbol and security need for the elite class up there (the policy makers and people who can actually do something) for whom animals are creatures who live and die and as long as they live, they are a show piece for the world. May be they do not suffer the same ordeal because of the power they hold and the amount of influence they exercise in the society. Because, it is only the common people like us who suffer, who go through the death and loss of our beloved friends with whom we share a bond that some people will never understand as long as they live.

That is why the apathy, the uncatered need for having a 24X7 emergency service for pets. Anybody could have initiated this without much investment and manpower but why is it that people can choose to raise pets but do nothing for their well being? Why the apathy from people who can actually make a difference?

It clearly shows how inhuman we have become and how far we have come to a point where one can only sit behind the screen and whine about what should be done while pondering at one's helplessness while people who can actually make a difference are busy fighting for money and power that their graves will not even contain!

The writer can be reached at shweta@thenortheasttoday.com and shwetarajkanwar@gmail.com