Orphaned children in Bangladesh were discovered by photographer and animal rights activist Sam Edmonds forming strong bonds with stray dogs in the area. The children would feed the dogs the little food that they had in exchange for warmth, protection and love. The dog-child duos were the result of new regulations in Bangladesh that outlaw the culling, or mass killing, of stray dogs in the streets. Prior to the regulations, dogs were rounded up from the streets due to concerns about rabies. When the rabies concerns were proven to be unfounded, the culling of stray dogs was made illegal and the orphaned children of Bangladesh found an immediate family in the discarded and often times abused animals. Edmonds discovered a community of orphaned children living with stray dogs that the homeless youth fed in exchange for the protection and warmth provided by the dogs on the lonely streets.
The Daily Mail reported that photographer and animal rights activist Sam Edmonds traveled to Robindra Shorbod, a park in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and found a community of orphaned young children living alone with stray dogs. The children were feeding the dogs the little food they had, but the dogs were also providing much needed services to the children. The dogs would act as protectors of the children and help keep them warm in the night. The youngsters would feed their dogs first and then themselves with the coins they earned by scavenging for plastics to recycle.
The photographer said the bond between the child and his or her dog was remarkable. The dog would go everywhere with the child and then return to makeshift shacks at night, laying next to the child to keep him or her warm. It was noted that this type of dog-child family would have been impossible in the past due to the fact that much of the stray dog population was “culled” out of fear of rabies. The stray dogs were rounded up and killed; however, the practice was halted due to new regulations and thanks to the efforts of animal welfare group Obhoyaronno.
“In a culture where homeless dogs are cast aside, forgotten, and feared, these young children recognized the simple fact that their lives had value. In turn, the dogs became their guardians and friends, with each kid sharing a special bond with his or her own specific dog.”
The group controls stray dog populations through a “Catch-Neuter-Vaccinate-Release program, or CNVR, meaning that instead of killing dogs who may or may not be infected with rabies he group captures the dogs and treats them, neuters them and releases them back into the population.”
The group is working tirelessly to ensure that stray dogs are no longer culled and has provided copies of the legal order not to kill the dogs to the public in a bid to encourage local authorities to stop the cruel practice.
The photographer claimed that despite a scary situation where children were orphaned, living alone and unable to attend school, the dogs provided them the security and ability, for a brief moment, to simply be a child without fear. The children would run through the park with their dogs by their side as they seemingly had no care in the world.
“With their canine companions, they were permitted – if only for a few moments – to be children in the purest sense of the world, to run, to play, and to laugh. To feel protected while they lay their heads to sleep.”
The dogs served as guardians and family members of the children for some time, but when photographer Sam Edmonds returned to the park last month the children had dispersed with locals noting that the children no longer live in the park with their pets.
Despite the fact that the children moved from the park, it was noted that the story is still an amazing reminder of the potentially powerful bonds that can be formed between man and dogs even when the situation seems grim. With Obhoyaronno working tirelessly to save the stray dogs of Bangladesh, the story of the Robindra Shorbod park children can stand as a reminder of the positive results of the group’s efforts and the ability for these discarded dogs to do good in someone’s life.
[Image via Shutterstock]