It all started in 2006.
Sweetie, my pet stray dog, was adopted from the streets of Malviya Nagar, Delhi in 2004. She was about two months old and probably hungry and thirsty; she had been following some daily wage earners in the hope of a biscuit or crumbs of bread. But all Sweetie got was a kick in her tiny stomach that sent her flying out on the pavement screaming in pain and agony.
Luckily, my younger brother was nearby; in an impulsive but utterly humane decision, he picked up Sweetie and brought her home. Little did we know that our lives were about to change, for the better.
Thanks to Sweetie, who soon became the apple of our eye, we started looking at all dogs differently. By differently I meant their pain and suffering would become unbearable to withstand until unless I did something to relieve them.
By 2006, I really wanted to make the lives of these animals better. Thus began the journey of Each One Feed One.
The supreme duty of any human being is to relieve others from the pain of hunger, be it human beings or animals. I tried to do the same, and started feeding two dogs in CR Park, where I live colony. Slowly, the numbers grew and my canine friends arrived from different parts of my daily life.
One of the earliest instances was around my workplace, a place in Nehru Place when I worked from 2007. Nearby, a slum dweller named Rangalal ran a shop and was caretaker to many dogs. I began to feed them rusk biscuits when we came down for work breaks. It continued for a long time and that I simply couldn’t leave them.
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Guards from my previous office are witnesses to my adventurous animal rescues. They once saw me saving some pups, at the construction site of the metro station, from a bunch of drunks. Those were the days, when all I did was my office job and feeding the dogs.
One of my most successful cases was EM, a stray dog who survived an accident in 2008 but was paralysed in both his hind legs. The vet advised me to put him, but instead I found a shelter for him and started helping him exercise. It was wonderful when he finally started running and walking on his own and his story was also covered in newspapers in 2010
The Police wireless feeding point, Sirifort area dogs fell in the same route when I go for my daily exercise to Sirifort Sports Complex. These are the points I cross every day, and I simply could not ignore the dogs I met.
I gradually hired a driver; along with a helper, he would bring my car to feed the dogs. But the expenses of a car, a helper, driver, petrol were turning out to be huge and mounting. I was trying hard and trying to come up with an economical solution to continue the feeding. That’s when the idea of a delivery bike clicked.
The Delivery Bike is an innovative way of running about a small feeding charity.
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It’s cheaper and can easily stock food for 50-60 dogs, if not more. It is also a model that can easily be replicated by all dog lovers individually or in groups. If I can manage an entire charity by myself, a group of even five dog lovers can certainly do it too.
The other benefit of running a charity model like mine is that it can be carried along with a full time regular job too. I continue to do a full-time corporate job—currently I am a manager at FIS Global Business Solutions.
Each one of us wants to help and do something for the welfare of the less fortunate. But sometimes we are so terribly short of time, so exhausted by daily chores that we have little or no energy for welfare, despite our best intention. This concept is for people to get together and set up such independent units to carry on doing some good work.
My next plan in terms of expansion in the near future is to set up a mini ambulance to cover a distance of 10-15 km.
I hope to equip the ambulance with all the facilities needed for treating dogs on-site and also transporting those in more complicated cases. I also want to hire 1-2 additional helpers to assist in finding the animals for treatment and sterilizations. I want to set up a fund to meet such emergency cases, and also inspire people to get involved and to volunteer with us.
Five years from now, I want this model replicated in other parts of India. In many smaller, remote places, I have seen dogs leading miserable lives and dying painful deaths sometimes from small wounds and infection. My next immediate plan is to open another branch of my charity, most likely in Assam where I have many relatives.
If I can get more people to participate and replicate my charity model elsewhere, I would know that I have truly done something substantial for making the lives of our four legged friends better. If Each One of Us becomes a little kind & giving, no soul will go hungry to bed.
(Written by Anjali Kakati)