1500 Shiny Collars - Look At Me Now
1500 Shiny Reflective Collars
In 2018, we were in the middle of planning our India trip, it was still summer 2018 and Julie and I were on a long hike, climbing a 14er in Salida, CO. As we talked about India trip planning, we both knew that we couldn't go back this time without having a real plan to help the dogs, in the best possible way that we can.
The Problem with Just Donating Money
In the past, we would visit local ''Animal Shelters'' (we'll explain the reason behind the quotes in a future post) and donate our time, ask them if we can volunteer and how we can help from the US. We reached out to one shelter over 8 times via email and tried to get them set up on an Amazon wish list that we could share with our friends and family or setting them up with online donations and the response was always ''just come to the shelter and donate cash" and since we had already done that in the past and left feeling empty (not just in the wallet) because we just didn't see where the money was going, the shelter looked like crap and it was always in the same shape.
Why Reflective Collars
Allows dogs to be seen at night
One of the most disturbing things to see in India is the number of dogs with hurt legs, limping around or worse. Most injuries in dogs (and probably humans) in Indian happen from traffic accidents and most of those accidents happen when the animals can't be seen. We learned of an organization that was As you know India is world-renowned for its cluster F traffic and honestly, we can't believe these dogs can survive here, but they're so smart!
We learned about an organization out of South India that was making reflective collars and selling them for an affordable cost to rescue organizations across India. We reached out to them, got some quotes and made a goal to buy as many collars as we could and distribute them to all of the animal rescue groups that we could find and get to.
Dogs with collars get treated differently
One of the things we started noticing almost immediately is how humans treat dogs that have collars vs. dogs that don't. Anytime we would see a dog with a collar, people around weren't as scared of the dog and treated it with more kindness and less cruelty, we're assuming that they believe that these are domesticated dogs that is someone's pet and not just a stray dog. When the dogs get treated with compassion (or at least not threatened by cruelty), they act differently and are calmer, less fearful and in turn less prone to biting back out of fear.
Let's Fix It Together
We didn't have jobs anymore and were self-funding a start-up so we decided to do a go fund me to ask all of our closest friends and family to donate to it, the funds go a long way in India and we knew that a lot of our friends knew the suffering of these animals.
So we launched a GoFundMe and it was a hit! We were able to use raise enough money to fund 1500 reflective dog collars! PS: we're really proud of the video :)
We had the collars made with a custom tag on it, with the words ''Ahimsa'' on it with the goal, that if someone sees the dogs and reads the collar, they can see the purpose behind it.
We want to thank every one of our friends that helped fund this project, we want to show you the impact that your help made!
Making K9 Connections
The collars did more for us and for Seva Stray than simply helping dogs be seen. It really helped us see the organizations across the country that were doing the hard work.
A 22-year old and his team helping dogs and trying to start his own rescue.
A group of students at a University doing whatever they could in their not so spare time to help the Assam dogs.
Furever Friends in Chandigarh
A group of 2-3 volunteers working so incredibly hard to help the dogs. Vikas, helping the dogs while going through kidney issues that are debilitating but one of the strongest humans that we have met, supported by Gagan, who quit her corporate career and is helping the dogs with her own savings and funds. They volunteer their time every single day and have made helping animals their lives work.
SPCA in Chandigarh
Peedus People, Chandigarh
Inder and his team are working on helping with the spay and neuter of younger puppies and the street foster program. These are collars that we found on dogs 9 months later on our visit back to India!
Random Individuals Helping Dogs in Their Areas
We got so many requests from individuals that are trying to help animals in their area to get collars so they can help the dogs in their neighborhoods and areas that they are working in. We did our best to not say NO to anyone.
We met this young gentleman at the side of the highway at 6 AM on our route from Kaziranga National Park to Guwahati.
The Collars That Started Seva Stray
During our time spent distributing the collars and meeting all of the organizations and people, one thing became very clear to us. There are a lot of kind organizations and people that are trying to help the animals, the one thing that they all had in common is that they all need support and funds. Funds to go towards vaccinations, medical procedures, rescue vehicles, and also simply to support their life and wellbeing of the workers that are doing such incredible work for society.
We were in New Delhi meeting with one of the organizations, Dog Matters Delhi, when we found ourselves shopping for amazing India products that were being sold by one of the vendors that helps the local dogs. That's when the lightbulb went off on how we can create a project where we can sell these truly amazing authentic Indian products to animal-loving humans overseas and use part of the funds to help the organizations that are trying so hard to help the dogs.
That's where Seva Stray originated, in February of 2019. It has been a long journey of going deep, learning the animal and society issues in India, meeting with the organizations and finding how we can use our skills of merchandising, finance, marketing to do what we can do best to help as many animals that we can.
The goal of Seva Stray is simple:
- Provide our customers with beautiful, authentic, Indian products
- Help the organizations that are helping the dogs
- Help ourselves by not going broke
We hope that this vision of a business where everyone benefits can succeed so we can change the way that businesses look at success.
Thank you for reading. Sat Sri Akal, Namaste 🙏🏾