“Well, my love towards dogs started at the age when I probably didn’t even know how to pronounce or rather even spell the name dog. I lived in a joint family and my cousin’s had a pet dog (pomeranian). My mother always told me that as a child I used to crawl my way to the dog. No matter how many toys were in front of me, I somehow managed to crawl and reach the dog. (laughs).
So I think it started way beyond an age where I was immature to understand that that’s a dog. Just like a lot of people, when I saw there was a dog out there, I would just go feed whatever food I had.
However, I think my major part of me doing anything for the dogs started ever since the Covid pandemic hit the country. I returned to India from Europe in the March of 2020 after graduating with Masters in Fashion and Luxury Management. The lockdown happened just in a couple of days and I was here in India ever since.
My welfare initiatives towards stray dogs started during the first phase of the lockdown. Just like humans animals faced a lot of issues. In March 2020, when the government declared our first lockdown many stray animals had limited to no access to food at all. I came across an old dog who had recently given birth during that time and was in dire need of food. I started feeding her so that she would be able to feed her babies. Feeding a mother dog means you are not just feeding one dog but also her babies through her. It was the third day of me feeding the dog, when I went to search for her I couldn’t find her, probably she went out looking for food leaving her babies behind a small wooden slab. I waited there for a while and decided to leave the food there hoping she would return and eat it. While I was about to leave I saw her from a distance and called out her name Queen.
She came running towards me as fast as possible with so much joy. She saw her food and went near it. As I was just about to leave she came back for me. I was confused as to why she wasn’t eating and assumed maybe she didn’t like the food. But what happened actually startled me. She touched my leg with her nose and licked me (sort of a thank you) and then went back to have her food. Tears of joy!
Just moving forward, one of Queen’s puppies which was a 3-month-old dog unfortunately met with an accident. She was run down by a car. Her back legs were injured and she was unable to walk. She had to drag herself everywhere using her front legs. It was quite distressing for me to watch her suffer so much, so I immediately took her to the vet and tried to help how much ever I could. And today, I am glad that that puppy is doing well in life.
After that incident, the problems kind of continued and I realised that there’s so much more than just feeding a dog. When I saw Queen going through the pain and suffering, it just struck me that there were a lot of stray dogs out there who had no access to food whatsoever. And when I approached my parents with that concern, they readily agreed to help. And it is because of their support, I was able able to home-cooked food for almost 25-30 stray dogs every single day, for almost a year until this March.
Later in March, my family went through a few personal problems because of which I couldn’t extend my service to the other dogs that are there nearby 2-3 km. But I am still providing food to the animals which are near to my home. So currently there are almost 11 dogs in my colony that I feed and I am hoping that in a few more days, I would try and feed the other dogs as well.
Talking about the pet shops in the market, I believe the breeders cause these innocent animals to endure extreme pain and suffering. And as long as people continue to buy the breed dogs, the production of these dogs will also not stop. Pet stores send the message that animals are only worth what we’re willing to pay for them—which, as you know, is not okay. Moreover, every time an animal is purchased from a pet store, an animal in a shelter loses his or her chance at a loving forever home.
So, on the occasion of World dog day, my message to the people would just be to acknowledge the fact that there is no difference between a breed dog or a stray dog. Dogs in general, have the purest heart and that even if you do not feed them or take care of them, just a warm pet on their back and they instantly fall in love with you and protect you. So, I would like to say to the people out there that even if they do not feed the strays, at least try not to harm them. They already deal with so many problems And adding to that is just very inhumane.
They are voiceless creatures but they have so many emotions and their level of understanding of a human is beyond anything, hence, probably they say that a dog is a Man’s best friend.”