Physically challenged animals
Physically Challenged includes disabled animals as well as those which may not be disabled but would be incapacitated as a result of chronic problems during old age like arthritis or spondylosis or not completely abled as a result of genetic defects.
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Justin - Whats Special about Justin the Stray Dog


Justin lives in a car park of a premium upcoming rather posh construction for offices in Andheri West, Mumbai. When I first saw Justin (a scrawny, frail, apprehensive young dog), I stood in utter amazement wondering how does he live. Justin has a bent spine which makes it look like a small hump. As a result of an improperly aligned spine, probably a result of a injury or hit to his lower back, whilst he was a growing pup, Justin is unable to walk like a normal dog. He was not as fortunate to receive timely medical help or treatment thus has a permanent physical challenge.  It is also a possibility he was born with a deformed spine though that seems less likely, as he even has a problem with his hind legs. He has a slow gait and is unable to stretch his hind limbs. His steps are rather very close and he is unable to walk fast or run like a normal dog. Thus walking or running a busy street is something Justin would not be able to do, keeping this in mind, God has been kind that he has been born away from the mainland (streets and chaos) of Mumbai.

As of now, the car park is not full and neither crowded with cars , since  the construction is still under completion. Justin is also a bit safe since he does not live on the main roads busy with traffic and cars and the hustle bustle of city life. Yet he is alone and does not socialise, he spends his youthful years in a concrete shell and hardly gets much food to eat. I wonder why but his pain is deeply felt by me, in words I am unable to express.

Very often, one meaningful look into the eyes of any one is a window to his soul, somehow this applies to animals as well as humans.  Again, I am unable to express how many I connect with, as I look into the warm eyes of these truly lovely four legged friends who are silent, unable to talk and express everything through their eyes.

Love, fear, need to care, loneliness, sadness, trauma, mischief, fun, naughtyness, helplessness, compassion, need to be loved, all these emotions and a myriad more are conveyed through the eyes of animals, with whom I have been in touch with as a teenager. My best years of youth have been given the blessing to care for and touch the lives of many four legged children and a few birds, and quite amazingly a few insects, like snails and butterflies.

Yes, back to JUSTIN!!

He is not disabled but physically challenged, with rehabilitation and much love and care he can be healthy and strong. Although he may not be able to run as fast as another dog, he surely will look happier and healthier with daily food and tonics as well as regular homeopathic medicines to strengthen his bones. In a rehabilitation facility, he can be provided daily physiotherapy and massage to help heal his muscles and be under regular monitoring.

I was moved and touched after one glance at Justin  and I decided to feed him and care for him as regularly as I can and take out the elements of fear he feels from other dogs, the hesitation with which he approaches his food, the apprehensiveness  with which he looks at humans

I may not be able to provide him physiotherapy and the regular massage but I try to give him good food, medications, tonics and the feeling that I value his existence and love and care for him.

Now, when I visit Justin, I see a ray of hope in his eyes as I keep food for him. He looks at the food and then at me, and does not run seeing me approach closer to him. I stand away partly hiding whilst he eats, so  he is not frightened and eats to his heart’s content.

Justin’s story is a real-life example  of the needs of physically challenged animals on our streets, in our buildings, at construction sites and in open areas where they sit or walk silently in search of food. They are unable to run fast and cross busy streets, this makes it all the more essential that they have a peaceful, safe and serene place where they can live the rest of their lives in comfort without pain and fear and can live normal lives filled with play, enthusiasm, fun with much mischief in their eyes and friskiness in their actions, all in a safer environment.

Such animals manage their handicaps and challenges very bravely. India does not have a dedicated facility for the care and rehabilitation of these animals, thus I continue my effort and work  to help create a facility for these lovely creatures who have a right to a dignified life, adequate medical care and a dignified farewell when its time for them to cross-over the rainbow bridge.

Justin, you are indeed a very special dog !!

- Written by Priya Shindurnikar