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A friend for the furry, four-legged
Kishore Kumar Ganguly

He is the proprietor of a state-of-the-art > clinic, with an X-ray machine, an ultrasonography machine, a blood pressure machine from Japan, a diathermy machine that prevents blood loss during surgery, and many more hi-tech gadgets. The most intricate of operations, from spinal to cataract surgery, are performed at this Deshapriya Park centre. And it’s strictly for animals.

Kishore Kumar Ganguly chucked a teaching job to set up Maitree Veterinary Clinic on August 20, 1986. And he has no regrets, though a cash crunch at the clinic is as common as a dog’s delightful bark. “Not everyone can love animals,” he says. “It’s something some of us are born with. So, it’s up to people like me to do something for these creatures, who can’t speak for themselves, or express their pain.”

The 43-year-old is not a vet, just “a lover of animals”. He runs the clinic with the aid of his nephew, two vets and 10 young boys “whom we can’t really pay, but subsidise in small ways, like providing transport money and food”.

It all began when he gifted his young nephews with a pair of pups. “I found that there was no proper treatment for them when they were ill. So, I decided to start a clinic myself,” he smiles. The south Calcutta centre mainly treats small animals, like dogs, cats and rabbits, and sometimes even mongoose and squirrel. There is no discrimination between pets and strays. If the person bringing the suffering animal in has the ability to pay for the medication and treatment, then that’s fine. Otherwise, the money comes from a fund set up by the ex-school teacher and his nephew, with their own finances.

“We even get slum-dwellers bringing in stray dogs, and we obviously never ask them for any money. But there are others who can afford it. For example, there is a group of Presidency College students who regularly bring stray dogs for treatment, and they usually pool in and pay for the medicines,” adds Ganguly.

The owner of four Golden Retrievers and two Lhasa Apsos is not short on innovations either. He has recently started musical therapy, “because animals, too, need peace and quiet. They need to be free of stress and tension, and in an environment conducive to getting well.”

Relieving their pain is all that matters for him. To that end, Ganguly has recently created a “canine cart” for dogs that have lost the ability to use their hind legs. “That means they can’t walk. So, they end up dying painfully. The cart holds up their hind quarter to help them move around.”

Next on Ganguly’s animal-relief list is an endoscopy machine, that will enable him to remove alien objects from the stomach, and even check for tumours, without surgery. “Knowing that I have helped alleviate the suffering of hapless animals is enough for me,” he concludes.

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