“From 2-3 dogs, I began feeding 40-50 dogs on a daily basis.”

“Sweety was the first stray dog I took home. I rescued her from 4 male dogs who were attempting to mate with her. She took some time to trust me, so initially I’d keep some biscuits and a blanket on my staircase for her. As she got more comfortable, I took her to the vet for vaccinations and then brought her home.

I started noticing more stray dogs in my colony, and decided to start feeding them. Every weekend, I’d spend a few extra hours organizing special meals for the dogs. And on weekdays, I’d feed them on my way to work. I’m a teacher and my finances were tight, but the dogs meant everything to me.

From 2-3 dogs, I began feeding 40-50 dogs on a daily basis. But despite my efforts, my neighbours derided me; they blamed me for ‘allowing’ dogs into the colony and even threw rocks at them. Once, a lady stood waiting for me with a rock in her hand, ready to hit me as I was about to feed the strays. I had to call someone to help calm her down.

I couldn’t take it anymore; I decided to move to a more dog-friendly neighborhood. I was more than happy to relocate if it meant I could care for my strays. I’d go everyday on my scooty to feed the dogs; when vehicular movement was restricted during the lockdown, I’d go on foot.

My work came to a standstill owing to the pandemic, so at one point, I couldn’t afford to buy food for them. I had to save and pull back on my own expenses; I had planned to buy a TV and almirah for my home, but I decided to spend that money on their food instead. I even saved up on dog bowls and started using discarded coconut shells. And I gave up entirely on the idea of getting a new phone.

I don’t want kids and consider the strays to be my children; I can’t sleep without meeting them at least once a day. And now that Christmas is coming up, I’m planning on buying 100 winter coats for them– I’ll have to dip into my savings to make it happen, but I just want to make sure they’re warm and safe.

Some day, I want to open a shelter for them. Till then, I’m doing my best to feed as many dogs as I can. That’s why you can always find a pack of biscuits and a little doggy bowl in the trunk of my scooty… I can never miss out on making a new four-legged friend!”

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