My mom passed on this ‘trait’ to me
Preeti M. Shah
I do not know how and when my love for the stray animals started, but I am sure this is since my childhood. As I was taught by my parents to care for all the living beings on this earth and I have seen them practising the same. This caring towards the stray animals escalated, when my husband reciprocated it. I still remember around 15 years back, my husband saw a wounded bull on the road near Kapoorthala market, Lucknow. He immediately called me to get some help. I called up then DIG, PAC who was very active with the organizations working for the welfare of the animals. He was very kind and connected me to a team of Veterinary doctors, who had taken my contact number and came all the way to provide the medical aid to that bull. It was not an easy task to locate that bull; somehow, we did and got him treated.
Feeding birds is a regular practice since past 13-14 years at my home. We regularly keep two pots of water and a pot full of bird feed at our rooftop and if I am traveling then earlier my sons and now my house help fill those pots without failure. Ten years back, we shifted to our new house; I was worried that who is going to feed the birds who were coming to us regularly. My elder son sensing my intention wanted to make me smile and said ‘we can keep our new address near their bird feed pot, it is so simple.” I had no idea that squirrels also eat kakoon (bird feed) and I noticed this while sitting under the sun at my rooftop during winter season. So I always make sure that our stock of birdfeed should be sufficient. Since my childhood, I saw my mother feeding the birds and pigeon in our courtyard (angan), she used to say don’t provide raw rice to the birds they will have stomach ache.
Stray dogs have been a part of our house since so many years. We have raised two stray dogs as our pet Bujo and Taiba. Taiba’s demise was very shocking for the entire family as she was like our daughter. After her death, we decided not to keep any stray animal at home. Since then, we fed them daily, arranged their beds near the wall of the house under the shades to protect them and their puppies from cold. Even stray cows and their calves are a big part of our daily life. They recognise their respective names. Whenever we call out their names, they respond immediately. Same is with all the stray dogs. At present, around seven full grown dogs and two pups are a part of our daily life. One stray cat is kept inside the house. My expertise is in feeding the medicines to all the sick dogs, as I have a trick to make them swallow the tablet. Although my love for them is not limited, I really want more and more stray dogs to get sterilize so that none of them are killed by careless drivers, cold or in the absence of food or medical help. A big pot of water is always kept near our gate for these stray animals.