School students with one of the dogs at BITM.
Picture by Arnab Mondal
A1, Maggie, Tattu, Chinicum, Mongli and Tomchy made friends with schoolchildren and had a fun day at Birla Industrial and Technological Museum (BITM) recently.
The dogs were special guests at a programme hosted by BITM, in association with NGO A1-Animals Come First, to sensitise students to the needs of animals.
The children were taught how to arrange for first aid if they spotted an injured dog on the street and also ways to interpret animal behaviour and handle them accordingly.
“A lot of students don’t have pets but love animals. And then there are some who keep themselves aloof from animals. We need to tap both groups so that if they see a cat or dog in need they know what to do and who to ask for help,” said Kajori Nandy, EVS and geography teacher at Calcutta Girls’ High School.
The day began with a welcome address by BITM director Sk. Emadul Islam, who emphasised how a little love and care can lead to a lifetime of friendship.
This was followed by a PowerPoint presentation by animal rights activist Suparna Das. “The problem of abuse of animal rights is widespread because few are aware that animals also have some rights. That is why it is important to make children aware of those rights so that they can spread the word at home and among friends,” Das said.
Sukanya Bhattacharya (Dey), the secretary of A1-Animals Come First, plans to conduct more such workshops across the city. “The students were given lessons in proper handling of pets.”
The high point of the workshop was an interactive session with five dogs — all of them physically disabled — brought by the NGO. The kids were split into five groups, with a dog in each. Fun games like a treasure hunt where the dogs had to find a bone that had been hidden kept them busy.
“The games were fun. I particularly liked the go-as-you- like round where we made accessories such as caps and collars with craft paper for the dogs. This workshop has been quite an eye-opener for me and my friends,” said Ahona Mukherjee, a Class VIII student at La Martiniere for Girls.
Agreed Srijani Roy, a Class X student at Calcutta Girls’ School. “This workshop has helped me learn how to interact better with dogs and the dos and don’ts of dog bite cases,” said the girl whose BFF (best friend forever) is her golden retriever.