Sunday October 28, 2012
Husband and wife team’s daily devotion to stray dogs
The stray dogs gather around Mr. Shangur, patiently awaiting their promised meal. Guyanese are becoming more and more concerned about their pets, particularly their dogs. They buy the fanciest of dog treats, provide them with the most comfortable sleeping area and even take them to the most trusted veterinarians. But still many do not stop to think that their dogs could have been one on the streets; one of those that sleep in the
rain on a cold night; one of those that eat out of garbage piles; and even one of those that are being brutally injured by some of us humans. Debbie and Alvin Shangur, on the other hand, spend all of their time and money catering for these stray dogs. Every morning, the couple would wake up and start preparing for the dogs.
Mrs. Shangur would boil about 10 gallons of rice, while Mr. Shangur leaves to go purchase a few bags of Bakewell bread. They then turn large pounds of chicken heads into a thick stew which is then mixed with the rice and the minced bread. The food is then put into a few large “basins” and placed into the back of the couple’s car, along with
several gallons of water and medicine. The couple would then take their fully loaded car to the streets. As they honk their horns, dozens of stray dogs would gather around. Each village has a particular “eating spot” where the dogs would meet and wait for the green car to come to a halt, and for Debbie and Alvin to begin sharing the food. The couple is well-known to dogs in East Coast Demerara areas such as Better Hope, Strathspey, Enterprise Gardens, as well as a few areas in Georgetown. The couple would tend to over 200 dogs per day. They have been involved in caring for dogs for about six years now and when asked how he affords to do so much on a daily basis, Mr. Shangur explained that he and his wife do not have bank accounts, but that they believe in living for each day. Mr. Shangur’s salary as a Travel Agent at University Travel Agency, pays his bills, buys groceries for him and his wife, and the rest of his money goes to caring for the dogs; providing medicines, food, water, and anything that the couple finds necessary. The couple uses a 25 pound gas cylinder per week for cooking.
Alvin and Debbie Shangur having fun with some of the dogs. They have been doing this every day for about six years now, and plan to continue for many years to come. Mr. Shangur said that he and his wife have always been criticized for caring for stray animals. “People does always be telling us to feed children instead. We aren’t saying that we don’t want to, and that it is not extremely good, but
there are many organizations that care for children, but where can you go and see people caring for stray animals? Ours and theirs are all lives.” He also pointed out that many of the strays have been maimed and tortured. “This is our passion,” Mr. Alvin Shangur said. He is also urging other animal lovers to volunteer in this venture.