Delvin Gooljar, the Good Samaritan who has put his life on hold to fulfil his childhood dream, now stands committed to taking care of dogs abandoned and left to suffer on the roadsides.
His commitment to these animals spans six years.
Gooljar, 53, of Caroni Road, off Cemetery Street, Princes Town, is hoping that the authorities implement stricter laws or enforce the exisitng ones so the animals would not be abandoned and be handled with more care.
Over the years Gooljar adopted street dogs and brought them back to his humble home where he would rehabilitate them and provide a place for them to live until they die.
With no one coming forward to adopt these abandoned dogs, the pressure of this commitment has now forced the former TSTT contractor to become a stay-at-home caretaker.
He is pleading with the public to be more aware and get educated about responsible ownership of their animals.
Gooljar said since COVID-19 started, it has become difficult both physically and mentally to look after the distressed animals. He said he does camera installation but this has become somewhat dormant and it is has now become a struggle to feed the animals and take care of their medical needs.
It has become an even bigger struggle to leave home on time to do anything as he spends so much time looking after the needs of the dogs.
“I can’t even work part-time. I live off my savings, I maxed out my credit card and I welcome the donations and kindness of others. So you see, I couldn’t have a family and do this kind of work. I can’t even travel as I want,” Gooljar said.
Gooljar is pleading with people to forget about the aesthetics and “seasonal” obsession when they purchase or get a dog, take the animal to their homes and later dump them.
He said, “I am doing this all my life. I never had a place to put the dogs but I couldn’t turn a blind eye to a dog suffering and go my way. But we don’t have a culture of adoption, so I have more intake than the exit of dogs. Like most things in life, people go for the more aesthetically pleasing and similarly everything serves the same purpose.”
While some people insist on getting the dogs, he said, they are not capable or prepared to treat the animals well.
There is a surge in demand for dogs during the Christmas period, especially as gifts to children. But then the novelty wears off, Gooljar said.
“People just let them go because they become a burden. Especially at Christmas time, a lot of people go out and buy a dog for their kids and then get fed up. It is on a case-by-case basis. I would pick up dogs suffering on the streets with skin conditions, a hole in their head with worms. It is the injured dogs that draw my attention the most. I usually take in pot hounds, pit bulls, rottweilers, and poodles.”
He said on the public side, the lack of education and cultural practice was the major hiccup in the well-being of the animals.
He said his dream to have an establishment with people to work and take care of the animals seems unattainable, and now with COVID-19 around he just does it by himself. Gooljar said people would say that he was wasting his time and that he has nothing else to do and all the time in the world to do it, but, “people need a big stick over them to obey the laws. We need the enforcement of the dog legislation.”
Gooljar said his recurring expenditure is for the items he uses to car for the dogs. His immediate plan is to get assistance to expand and give the dogs more room. He had high praises for the assistance from Animal 360, Fine Choice Limited in Arima, and Happi Products.
Sara Maynard, TTSPCA operations manager applauded the efforts of Gooljar for the work he is doing with the animals in the absence of a pound facility.
Maynard said there was no government facility in Trinidad where people can take unwanted animals.
“People will continue to dump the animals. There is nowhere and no education coming from the Ministry of Agriculture, and there is a disconnect between the police and the Ministry,” she said.
“It is a vicious cycle, there is nothing in place, it will continue to happen. Spay and neuter will rescue the population and proper humane facility.”
It’s no secret that homeless animals are becoming a problem. Pet overpopulation stems from several factors: cats and dogs reproducing with little chance of their offspring finding homes, lack of spaying or neutering, pet owners relinquishing their pets to shelters, and irresponsible pet owners.
How to decrease the number of strays
1. Spay or neuter your pet
Spaying and neutering your pet is the best thing you can do to help prevent pet overpopulation. The key is to prevent the problem before it begins.
2. Adopt an animal
Instead of purchasing a pet from a breeder or pet store, adopt from an adoption centre.
3. Educate your children, family members, friends, and co-workers
Help to combat pet homelessness by educating others in your community.
4. Commit to keep your pet for life
Before you adopt or, buy a pet understand the commitment you’re making. Dogs and cats can live upwards to 13-15 years, some even longer. Pets are your responsibility for their lifetime. Puppies and kittens may be cute when they’re young, but how will you feel when they’ve lost their cuteness and started to gray? Will you still love them the same or will you surrender them to a shelter? It’s no secret that senior pets are the last to get adopted, and they are less likely to adapt to a shelter setting.
Evaluate your lifestyle and determine if bringing a pet into your home is the best for both you and the pet. Determine what type of pet you’re looking for and choose a breed that best fits your lifestyle.