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Mahabs’ adopted daughters turn saviours for strays

Two women foreign nationals, who have made Mahabalipuram their home for more than a decade, have taken up the task of feeding the strays roaming the streets of the historic town even as the lockdown entered its third week.

Mahabs’ adopted daughters turn saviours for strays
Elaine Philphott and Cristina Wong are known for initiatives towards welfare of the strays


Elaine Philphott from Conventry in England and Cristina Wong from Switzerland are already known in the area for their initiatives towards the welfare of the stray dogs in the town. Right from vaccination to birth control measures, they attend to all the requirements of the stray dogs, apart from feeding them, and used to even take them for regular medical checkups.

However, after the lockdown, they found that it is not just dogs but other stray animals like cat and cattle too that are suffering without food, and decided to take care of all of them.

“Usually, Mahabalipuram would be crowded with tourists and strays would survive on the food they offer or the leftover items. However, since the lockdown, Mahabalipuram is wearing a deserted look with no footfalls. So we decided to feed all starving animals, not just dogs,” says Elaine Philphott, a veterinary nurse, who has sold her house in Scotland and is supporting herself with her pension.

The duo’s day starts with a visit to the local vegetable vendor who also cuts them into pieces to make it easier for them to feed the cattle. “We feed the dogs rice, curd and eggs apart from dog food. Our neighbour Sriraman volunteered to cook for us,” says Elaine.

The two women set out on their scooter in the evening with a load of rice, dog biscuits and first aid kit.

“The dogs now recognise the sound of the scooter and when we arrive come running, barely giving us a chance to prepare their food. They jump up on the scooter and get so excited,” says Elaine.

By the time the feeding exercise is over, three precious evening hours would have easily flown away. However, they have decided to carry on with the exercise, though stressful at times, until the lockdown is relaxed.

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