Journey from Zero to Hero

"Save Our Strays is soon to complete 20 years and the journey has been very fulfilling for the team. SOS was started way back in 2003 by me when I moved to Andheri from Bandra. The appalling condition of animals is this area gave me nightmares and the only way to get peace of mind was to change these conditions. Every day I would step out to the sight of a dead dog and that was it. I really had only two options, to ignore it or do something about it and i chose the latter.

I was alone and realized the first thing I had to do was start sterilizing strays to control everything. That's when i spoke to Fizzah shah from IDA and we agreed that she would send the ambulance atleast twice a month. We started in January 2004, and by the end of 2004, I had sterilized 125 dogs in my area. When I started initially I funded the whole operation myself. Later on, I started meeting up with some ladies who were feeding the strays in their areas and we all just clung together. All these women got together with me and in October our work finally got a name, SAVE OUR STRAYS.

In November 2004 I met Brinda and by February 2005 she decided to donate the ambulance after seeing the kind of work SOS was doing. From there work just took off with our registration falling into place and SOS getting a more professional framework. In January 2006 we got our first employee Maria who is the best thing that happened to SOS.Today, we have 3 ambulances that work six days a week, dedicated to dog & cat sterilization, and a medical ambulance that treats animals on the streets.

I think the concept of SOS has worked beautifully, and I always tell people IT STARTS WITH YOU ALONE! If I had not started by myself, I would never have met all my volunteers and today achieved the recognition and blessings for the good work we are doing. We are helping people in other areas to duplicate this concept, and hence tackle this gigantic issue."

- Shirley Menon (Founder of SOS)