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The doctor who cares for those who few care for

Last updated on: January 27, 2014 10:20 IST

The doctor who cares for those who few care for

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Kaushik Sengupta

Social documentary photographer Kaushik Sengupta shares these images of Sandip Karan, a Kolkata-based, self-taught veterinarian who has opened his home to street dogs.

My story centres around a man, Sandip Karan, whose love for street dogs knows no bounds.

His home-cum-kennel houses 40 street dogs that are mostly sick. Some have lost their legs, some suffer from liver ailments and some have cancer, but they are treated with a rare care and compassion by this self-taught veterinarian who learned his lessons while assisting veterinary surgeons for years.

Sandip Karan is seen here tensed during the treatment of his 'patient'. The 'patient' is suffering from liver disease.

Massive numbers of street dog in his area is dying due to the liver problem. Dogs are many people's best friends, so an ailment is as crushing to you as it is harmful to your best buddy.

Liver failure is one of those ailments that causes extreme harm to your dog, and if not taken care of properly, liver failure may even cause death.

According to Dog Health Guide, there are nine signs of liver failure in dogs. These signs include jaundice, which is the yellowing of the dog's eyes, vomiting, lethargy, appetite and weight loss, diarrhoea and an increase in drinking and urination. However, the aforementioned symptoms may not appear until the advanced stage of liver failure.

Kaushik Sengupta is a self-taught social documentary photographer.

He graduated from Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata in 2002 with Honours in theatre and literature.

He has since worked as a freelance photographer for Reuters and later for the Associated Press. He has been working with Drik India as a contributing photographer since 2006 and has done a wide range of social documentary photography for various agencies and organizations.

In 2007 did a preparatory course for three weeks on social issues at Asian Institute of Technology, Bangkok. In 2007-08 he was posted as an intern for 10 months at Drik Bangladesh where learnt photo editing for magazine and newspaper, dealing with thousands of pictures every day. In 2011 Kaushik participated in a documentary photography workshop conducted by Greg Marinovich and Munem Wasif.

He now works as an independent social documentary photographer with Save the children, Oxfam, Action aid, Cancer foundation of India, Centre for Study in Social Science, Kolkata.

Follow this link for more photographs


Image: Sandip Karan carries a patient home for treatment
Photographs: Kaushik Sengupta

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Now confident enough to successfully perform surgeries, Sandip Karan is lucky to have found assistants in his mother Saraswati and wife Moumita.

He says he is not doing any charity but only his duty. He does not believe in chaining the animals or caging them.

They are left free to roam around and take rest in any part of his house.


Image: Sandip Karan takes a meal in the midst of treatment. He lives with his mother Saraswati (left) and wife Moumita (right). He has a child, not seen in the photograph.
Photographs: Kaushik Sengupta

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Quite popular in his locality in Kolkata as the street dog doctor, Sandip loves to cook food for his four-legged patients.

When called to treat a street dog in a faraway place, he sometimes brings home his patient if the situation demands hospitalisation. He ensures its safe journey to the place it came from after recuperating.


Image: Sandip Karan examines a patient in his home-hospital
Photographs: Kaushik Sengupta

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He has, till date, treated around 2500 street dogs in his own locality and around. Half of his patients had cancer; those having vincristine cancer have been cured.

Not all his neighbours take kindly to his work though, he had to face their wrath on many occasions.

However, that does not prevent him from dreaming of a house (he does not want to call it a shelter) for his loved ones.

He is trying to raise funds for his NGO, Concern for Animal and Environment.


Image: A young patient is given a bath by Sandip
Photographs: Kaushik Sengupta
Tags: NGO

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Sandip Karan tensed during the treatment of a patient suffering from liver disease. A great number of street dogs in his area are dying due to liver ailments.


Photographs: Kaushik Sengupta

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Sandip Karan with his patients.


Photographs: Kaushik Sengupta

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Saraswati, Sandip's mother, prepares food for all the patients.


Photographs: Kaushik Sengupta
Tags: Sandip

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Sandip Karan during a house call.


Photographs: Kaushik Sengupta

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Sandip Karan, during yet another house call.


Photographs: Kaushik Sengupta

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Sandip Karan administers distemper vaccine to a dog during one of his house calls. Canine distemper is a viral disease that affects animals living with families.


Photographs: Kaushik Sengupta

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