Duologue with Spread Smiles

Hi Everyone! I am Vaishali Verma, founder of Spread Smiles, a small charity that deals for the welfare of Street Dogs in a small area called Ghukna Mode in Ghaziabad. I along with my Friend Harit Sharma, runs this Charity and We mainly focus on the Sterilisation, Vaccination, Feeding and Treatment of our Street Companions. I believe Animals are equivalent to us, they have their own world, their rules and their own comfort and we all should thrive alongside with each other rather than imposing us as the better species on all. I am also fond of writing poetry and blogs, so I have recently published a book of my poetries as well. Along with all this, I also run a Thrift Store promoting Sustainability and also 100% proceeds of the Thrift Store are used in my Charity.

Spread Smiles’ donation link is: https://milaap.org/fundraisers/support-vaishali-verma?utm_source=whatsapp&utm_medium=fundraisers-title&mlp_referrer_id=1925517 . Please do donate if you are able to.

What initiatives should different animal welfare centres take, according to you?

I believe the work being done by Animal Welfare Community is tremendous but not enormous.
Helping Humans is a way too acceptable task rather than helping animals and I think we all should come together and create AWARENESS that we all need to coexist.
Few initiatives that could be started I believe so are –

On ground awareness campaigns so that the cruelty towards animals would decrease.
Well established animal welfare organizations should help the small individual welfare organizations so that the lack of resources won’t be a major issue.
Last, I believe is small campaigns like Water Bowl Initiative, All year round Sterilization, Vaccination, etc should always be a part of all welfare initiatives.

What inspired you to start this initiative and your reason for continuing it?

I was just in class 7th when I saw a puppy hardly 20-25 days old crying alone in December near a drain. I bought him home and kept him and cared for him. He didn’t live a long Life but he led a happy one I am sure with me. It was the day I felt different connection with the animals. Since then I have had dogs as pets and I kept feeding animals.
But documenting what I did begin in 2019.
Talking about what keeps me motivated is To be honest the Unconditional love I receive from Animals and the support I receive from all my well wishers. It is overwhelming sometimes. Even if I am able to save one animal and make his/her Life better at least on streets then my work is done. Although, it is not enough but if everyone would think in this way there would be so many people Spreading Smiles.

Tell us about how to empathise with the animals and accordingly make necessary interventions in their favour?

Animals will only harm humans when they feel threatened.
See, they too have their own comfort circle which if invaded will lead to snapping and protected behaviour.
But interventions like teaching children aged 9-14 years mainly who are the foundations of our society, to be empathetic and kind towards animals can lead to drastic decrease in Animal Cruelty.
Schools should teach and also keep workshops about making the students understand about Animals Behaviour and how to behave with them. We need to make our coming generations understand Animals are not commodities, they are living Individuals with emotions. For the worst case scenarios we need strict rules and laws too so that Animal Lives can be protected.
People compassionate to animals are always kind to Humans as well.

How to you spread awareness among people to pursue this initiative?

Spread Smiles mainly spread awareness through social media platforms to love and be kind to animals. To treat them better and fairly.
But we also keep the conversation going on ground with the area locals to make them aware about not to neglect an animal in need. They inform us about any rescue case and we make sure to help them by all means possible. We provide food to local people so that they would keep feeding the animals. We make sure to place water bowls in the entire area for the animals.

What are the events which can be considered the achievement for SPREAD SMILES?

The water bowl initiative in which we place over and above 25+ water bowls in the entire area.
Sterilization of approx 60+ dogs in the area and it is still ongoing.
Rescued 10+ dogs from life threatening disease and conditions.
During Covid we fed 100+ Dogs on a daily basis.

How do you handle the objections of people regarding the initiative you take?

To be honest few people can be really stubborn and can just try to pull you down.
As they are unable to harm us, they could harm the Animals which it the most major issue, so we need to take our stand but we make sure never to indulge in a fight that could lead to an impact on our animals.
If the situation becomes utterly bad, we do not hesitate from calling the local Police and taking their help.
Also we make sure to record everything possible on our phone.
Last avoid Feeding in Public Places and in crowded areas in rush hours.

What is your take on the prevailing animal abuse?

Animal Abuse or cruelty towards is quite prevalent now which is highly disturbing for a society who claims to be so advanced.
We treat animal as our commodity and oppress them at all stages, using them for Food, Fur or Luxurious demands is really very disappointing. We really need to understand they have rights like us and they are an equal part of this ecosystem.
Nature has made them for a reason, not for us to us suppress them for our needs.
I believe toughest rules and regulations should be made to avoid the active cruelty like torturing or killing or abandonment, but very fine measures should be taken for the passive ones coz’ these are billion dollar industry !
One measure to tackle it is Veganism!
I am also working upon going vegan!

How as an individual one should take initiative for the welfare of animals?

Kindness begins at home. If everyone of us takes teeny tiny measures like, making that extra chapatti at home and feeding to your stray dog or cow or cat, or keeping a bowl full of water at your terrace or in front of your gate for the birds or animals or going to your local shelter and volunteering or by adopting an animal rather than purchasing a fancy breed of Dog, Cat, Horse etc.
If you cannot give an animal home, then supporting the shelter financially either by adopting the animal virtually or by raising funds for them. These small gestures can bring great changes
See, there are so many ways we as an Individual can help. It just takes the zeal to do it.

Tell us about the reality perspective you observed while doing this.

Honestly speaking, it is not a piece of cake. It takes a toll on your mental, physical and financial health.
Losing an animal is the biggest loss possible and I have buried dogs for whom I have cared since birth, which leaves a person devastated. But you have to pick yourself up for another Dog who needs you.
There have been times when I am left with little or no Dog food or scrape food and I have to depend on cooking chapattis and feeding them with milk or curd.
There have been times when I had to pay for the sterilization drive and I had no funds during Covid and I asked for help to so many people.
But, I have been lucky for the support have been provided with.
My dogs never went to sleep hungry or sick since the time they are under my care and I aspire to do so as long as either of us lives.

What are your personal experiences while spreading smiles on the face of animals?

The Journey has been amazing. The experience has been fulfilling and the support has been overwhelming. Honestly, animals are the best creation of Almighty and we are incredibly lucky to witness them.
They give you such a soul soothing experience when they are happy and thriving that you want nothing else from Life.
I am so thankful to everyone who supported me to continue this.
There might be obstacles and difficulties but the licks and wags make it all worthwhile.

Unverbalise is ever the more grateful for this duologue with Spread Smiles. We hope to continue to bring in more amazing people to our platform to inspire our readers, so don’t forget to subscribe to our site and share the word around.

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