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Aug 01, 2017 at 07:12

While no one can deny the joy a dog brings into the lives of humans, the strays on the streets often get mistreated and ignored. For her absolute love for them, Mahi Ghia decided to use her musical talents for raising awareness and funds to help the street dogs in Mumbai.

Since a very young age I have had an innate affinity towards having a pet dog. At the age of ten, Chloe, my Yorkshire Terrier, entered my life bringing with her immense love and affection. It is from this point onwards, I became more aware of the other dogs in my immediate surroundings. Seeing the stray dogs on the street that did not have a home really moved me and made me want to help them live a life that they deserved. Apart from giving the stray dogs food and water in my neighbourhood I felt like I wanted to do something more for them and wanted each and every one of them to have a loving home like Chloe did.

After about 3 years I stumbled across the Welfare of Stray Dogs and volunteered with them for a year. WSD has been helping these dogs for over thirty years- treating their wounds, sterilising them, and vaccinating them against rabies. This has been a great initiative as compared to the past – the Indian Government would kill the stray dogs to reduce their population. By sterilising them, we not only reduce their number, but  we also reduce human injuries from dog bites, as sterilised dogs have less aggression. Even though all of this reduces their population, the problem of street dogs not having a home still persists.

I decided to organise a musical fund raiser concert as I love to sing and play the piano. It occurred to me that I should probably use that to do something useful like raising money for stray dogs. I approached my friends who are musically talented to support me and they all loved the idea of supporting WSD. My brother and his friends also supported me very enthusiastically.

The next thing was to find a venue. I hunted everywhere. Since I had planned to hold the show on January 26th , outdoors seemed ideal as the weather in Mumbai at the time is always lovely. Unfortunately, due to lots of rules and regulations about decibels etc., it became impossible. Some places turned out to be too expensive. Finally I approached my mum’s friend Tarini who is a partner at Cafe Zoe, and she was very happy to support the cause. The support I received from the others was overwhelming as well. We had a lot of fun practicing for the concert over two months although it was hard sometimes to get everyone together. Between friends, family and well wishers they donated sound, lights, carpet, sun boards and money. My singing teacher Stephen helped throughout to help us put the show together. Around three hundred people attended the concert. We raised a little more than fifteen lakhs!

This money will now be used towards reducing rabies and campaigning for adoption of stray dogs, also known as pariahs.They are well adapted to our environment and are strong and healthy, perfect to keep as pets. These dogs are in desperate need of homes, so instead of importing a purebred dog, adopting a Pariah would not only help get dogs off the street, but will also open your heart up to a whole new world. Dogs are unconditionally loving and loyal, they deserve happiness and homes.

I am thankful to each person who has supported my endeavour. My school, parents, friends and family. Each one has made a difference and I hope we can continue to do so in the future.

You can also lend your support to Welfare of Stray Dogs by, visit their website here:http://www.wsdindia.org/

Mahi Ghia