For the Love of Dogs: The Volunteers of Pondok Pengayom Satwa (PPS) Ragunan in Jakarta, Indonesia

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Pondok Pengayom Satwa (PPS) Ragunan is an animal shelter, believed to be the oldest in Jakarta, Indonesia, originally initiated in 1987. Currently there are 64 dogs and around 50 cats that call PPS home.

Almost all of the dogs used to be family pets, who were surrendered by their owners due to various reasons. Many of the reasons people give merely demonstrate their own unwillingness to keep their commitment as responsible dog owners.

Dogs at PPS

The same story goes for the cats. Due to general lack of awareness to spay and neuter cats, oftentimes people will drop newborn kittens at PPS, sometimes discreetly leaving them in boxes at the shelter’s parking lot at night. A small number of the cats who now live at PPS, however, used to be stray wandering cats who found their way to food and shelter at PPS.

To care for the dogs and cats, there are a number of paid employees whose jobs are to clean the cages and feed the animals twice a day. But giving love and extra care is a task happily taken over by a group of volunteers. Although the composition of the volunteer team changes over time depending on people’s availability and commitment, volunteers have been an enduring feature of PPS almost since the first day PPS started its operation.

At the moment there are four active volunteers committed to come and work at the shelter at least once a week. Their ultimate goal is to provide a better life for the animals, either during their stay at the shelter or, even better, to get the animals out of the shelter through an adoption program.

 

A typical day volunteering at the shelter may involve preparing and giving extra food for the dogs. This should complement their basic twice a day meals with extra nutrition and vitamins. Understanding clearly that these dogs and cats require more than food and water to allow for healthy and happy life, the volunteers provide the dogs some time out from their cages either individually or together in small groups. This half an hour outside is the dogs’ joy as they get the chance to walk and run on the grass, do their business and just relax under the sun.

Some volunteers have admirable dedication and loyalty to the animals at PPS. Joy has been a volunteer since the year 2000. It was love at first sight for Joy, who initially brought her dog to the clinic at the shelter for medical treatment. Since then, Joy stays undeterred doing all she can to take care of the dogs at the shelter. Her biggest joy is giving happiness, attention and love to the animals at the shelter. Her only wish is to attract more shelter employees who genuinely care about the dogs and cats to work there.

Bath time

Not all volunteers are previously familiar with dogs. There are instances where people who are interested in having dogs as pets are unable to do so due to various reasons. They feel that volunteering at the shelter is an excellent way to get close to the dogs and to show them love despite not being able to bring them home as pets.

Darin is such a case. Darin started volunteering at PPS in March 2017. She and most of her family members love animals and they do have a number of cats as pets at home. However, they are not allowed to keep dogs as pets. To learn about dogs and how to take care of them, Darin decided to volunteer at PPS. She believes dogs at the shelter have the same right for care as do humans. Never having had a dog at home, Darin started her volunteer work bravely.

Surprisingly for someone who has just started interacting with dogs, Darin’s main challenge is not dealing with aggressive dogs, but handling “fussy” dogs who demand a little extra cuddle time, care and love from the volunteers while there still remain a long list of tasks to be done for the day. It is a rather cute problem, which nonetheless highlights the need for more people to come forward as volunteers.

 

Despite various challenges faced by the volunteers, their pure intention to make life better for the dogs and cats at PPS keeps them coming back every week. The biggest satisfaction for the volunteers is realizing that the dogs are happier knowing there are people who genuinely love them and even think of them as their children.

To learn more about Pondok Pengayom Satwa (PPS) Ragunan shelter, please contact: liberinaoctavia@yahoo.com. To see more dogs of PPS on Instagram, please visit @ppsadoptabledogs

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About Author

I volunteer at two animal shelters in Jakarta, Indonesia. I care for 5 dogs and 34 cats at home. I don't eat meat, and I teach yoga classes to make money and release stress. Click to see author's profile.

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