Shiro, a stray dog in Delhi, who had suffered a broken spine in a road accident, is slowly and surely on her way to recovery. This is all thanks to the Hydrotherapy treatment that she received at the POSH Foundation, one of the few NGOs in India that is dedicated towards animal rehabilitation. The regular Hydrotherapy sessions, paired with the tender loving care Shiro received at the centre, has given her a new lease of life and she is finally able to walk on her feet again (hopefully run too in a few months).
This is one of the numerous cases that are dealt with at the POSH Foundation. We spoke with its founder, Dr. Aaditi Badam, about her venture and canine hydrotherapy, that is offered at her canine rehabilitation campus – Nirvana. Dr. Aaditi is a physiotherapist by profession, who quit her job to start an NGO that is dedicated to animal welfare.
HUFT: Tell us how Posh Foundation came into being and its vision?
Dr. Aaditi: POSH Foundation has a very ordinary story like any other organisation. The love for the less fortunate and the voiceless drove me to form this organisation. Every time I helped someone in need, I realised the importance and impact of it. We saw the number of our rescues and happy and grateful faces growing everyday and this motivated us to multiply this many folds and grow an organisation dedicated to the cause we firmly believe in.
Vision: POSH Foundation’s main mission is to bring a balance between all the three key aspects that are in constant conflict viz Animal, Human and Environment. We believe a balance is paramount to bring harmony and relief amongst the three aspects, to check the cruelty and bitterness that is persistent between them. Our philosophy is to create a neutral zone where all three can coexist.
HUFT: Tell us about the Hydro Therapy for paralysed dogs and what is the cost involved if any pet parent wants their pet to be treated at your place.
Dr. Aaditi: “Hydrotherapy” means “water healing” in Greek, and dogs can benefit in the same way humans do. Water makes the body buoyant, so when submerged, the weight of the body is supported. This means the dog is not fighting gravity. The buoyancy of water reduces stress on the joints and this creates a much safer environment for recovery after surgery.
Hydrotherapy is also beneficial for dogs who are recovering from an injury, dogs who suffer from degenerative joint disease, and those who have been paralysed. Hydrotherapy is a part of our physical therapy treatment line, which is designed according to pets/patients medical condition, age and strength.
HUFT: How can one get involved with your initiative? Tell us about your weekend volunteer program?
Dr. Aaditi: We welcome volunteers from every part of the world to learn, serve and experience. We are soon starting weekend stay over program at our facility wherein volunteers can book and stay with us over the weekend and learn, share and utilize their skills, while also meeting like-minded people for a fruitful initiative. We also welcome walk-in volunteers from 11am to 6pm. One must carry his/her ID card and show when asked. To serve in critical care section (IPD), the volunteer must get anti-rabies vaccination done atleast a week prior to volunteering.
HUFT: What are the major challenges you face in your day-to-day operations?
Dr. Aaditi: Like any other organisation, the major issues that we face are the funding. Other than that, so far we are managing with the smaller issues that come in the way of functioning.
HUFT: Do you receive any help from the local government body as such? What could be better according to your experience?
Dr. Aaditi: NO. We are a privately running charity and does not get any aid from local or governing body. We raise funds on different social platforms for rescue cases and by far the response and support from public is awesome. We are absolutely transparent with our donation system.
HUFT: How can one adopt and what is the virtual adoption program?
Dr. Aaditi: Adoptions are way too simple here. You choose a dog/puppy for adoption, we do a pre-adoption house check; if all goes fine, then a simple adoption consent will be signed and you can adopt your next best friend.
Virtual adoption: If you can’t adopt, you can join the POSH Guardian Program and can “virtually” adopt a senior or special needs pet at the shelter. By virtually adopting an animal with a monthly donation, you will be providing for its food, shelter, toys, blankets and care by our staff workers, while he or she is under Nirvana care. You can visit the shelter anytime during regular open hours to say hello to your chosen pet, or send him or her toys, letters, treats and LOVE. When your sponsored pet finds a forever home and leaves the shelter, you may opt-out of the program or choose a new pet to virtually adopt at the shelter, because there is always someone here who needs you.
HUFT: Your take on animal cruelty in India and how can one prevent such acts.
Dr. Aaditi: Cruelty to animals, also called animal abuse or animal neglect, is both the unintentional (animal neglect) and the intentional infliction caused by humans leading to suffering or harm upon any animal; regardless of whether the act is against the law. So one must educate himself and the fellow activists about various laws, rules amended by the Supreme Court of India.
HUFT: What keeps you going? Tell us something about your team.
Dr. Aaditi: The team has 11 core members, 10 in-house staff, 6 consultant vet surgeons as of today and a strong base of volunteers who support us from time to time. We have been lucky so far and our work has spoken for us. Most of the team member contacted us and were keen on joining. However, we work hard to do more rescues and inspire people to bring a change and join us.
HUFT: How can a fellow dog lover help? Your message to fellow dog lovers out there.
Dr. Aaditi: The least one can do is feed nearby stray animal once a day and report cruelty to nearby animal shelter. Ignorance is not a blessing, u may be the last person to see the suffering dog alive so just don’t ignore and pass by but help.