Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life.
Vasudha Mehta, an animal rights crusader, would definitely vouch for it.
The Delhi resident, along with her brother Vivek and mother Neeru, started the Jaagruti Trust in 2009 with a vision to “inform, inspire and share” just as the name ‘Jaagruti’ implies.
Together, they embarked upon a journey for the next eight years that would end up saving the lives of more than 2,000 street animals.
With a team of para-veterinary consultants and trained veterinary pharmacists, the home-run trust provides onsite first-aid treatment for stray dogs with wounds from injuries or maggot infections.
“The reason for starting the trust goes a long way back. Back when we were young there used to be a lot of stray dogs in our locality that we looked out for. But there was one little boy whom we named Bhooru, who gave us seven wonderful years full of love and memories. I guess it all started there; right from the conscious feeling about the state of street animals,” Vasudha says.
Rewind back to 2002 when Bhooru was a part of the family, the brother-sister duo would often find many other strays just vanishing from their streets. Despite having inquired with municipal authorities they found no answers.
“It was disheartening. We knew that these dogs would often get picked up for sterilisation but then what happened to them? The thought continued to persist and it gave us no respite to be that clueless,” she adds.
In the meantime, the siblings took some of the dogs from their locality in their own car for sterilisation and made it a point of getting them back to the same place.
After a while, they figured that the animals that were picked up for neutering were being dropped off at random locations after the deed, resulting in further deaths. “This would only agitate an animal after having been left at a hostile, unknown environment,” she says.
To understand how things worked, Vasudha, who had completed her masters, decided to work with animal welfare organisations in 2004. She learnt a lot about the plight of the animals, having seen both good and bad.
“My mother often told us that if you want to change something, you need to do it yourself, without having the need to depend on anyone else,” she says.
She recalls a time when she was unsure of her intentions to set up a trust or an organisation but discrepancies in the system and an overpowering concern did eventually pave the family’s destiny.
“Finally in 2009, my brother and I began with a blog that published articles raising concerns of municipality driven sterilisation drives and offering basic DIY first-aid measures for stray animals and some of our rescue exploits,” Vasudha adds.
One thing lead to another and soon Jaagruti was running with a helpline where people in Delhi and the NCR zone could reach out and report cases.
“Initially, it was just the both of us in our car who took the dogs to the hospitals. Upon realising that this was not doing much good to them after being petrified in a surgical environment, we finalised on giving them first-aid treatment,” she says.
Apart from doing so much for their furry street friends, Vasudha and Vivek also started a venture in 2011 involving waste paper recycling services and have partnered with more than 300 corporate and government organisations.
“We work on a barter system model that involves buying the waste paper from huge establishments and paying them back with recycled and customised company specific notepads. We act as the link between these organisations and the paper mills,” Vasudha explains.
Vasudha attributes their success to her mother Neeru for her unbreakable support in the journey and her brother for being her partner in every good deed.
Vasudha and her family dedicate themselves to the well-being of voiceless beings, making the world a safer place for them.
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To enquire about the first aid and vaccination service along with advice for street dogs in northwest Delhi, you can mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org.