I'm good at taking care of dogs than what I am trained for', says cynophilist
Bengaluru, Oct 4: World Animal Day is being observed on October 4. This year's theme is to 'To raise the status of animals in order to improve welfare standards around the globe'. On this occasion, we have a passionate story to share from Bengaluru, the capital city of Karnataka.
He faced false allegations of animal cruelty, got extortion calls and threat to life for his selfless service. Being the son of an Army man, true to his upbringing, he stood fast against all odds. Now he carries a licensed pistol to protect himself.
And local police has opened a daily register to check if he and his dogs are safe.
This is the story of Rakesh Shukla, a techie-turned-philanthropist, who has dedicated his life to take a care of 800 stray dogs in a dog farm located in Doddaballapura, 40 Kms from Bengaluru.
Rakesh Shukla with 'Shilpi'
Started with seven dogs, now the enclosure spread in three acres land houses dogs rescued from Delhi to Chennai and Mumbai to Kolkata. Notably, this is dog farm is only meant for the rescue of dogs and no dog is up for adoption.
Never had background in veterinary science, by gradually dictated his life to welfare of dogs. Though he had interest in dogs since childhood, his pet called 'Kavya' changed perception
Rakesh Shukla said, "The day she (Kavya) entred his life his perception towards life and dogs changed forever. "She is my soul my child, my love", said emotional Rakesh Shukla.
The Dog farm
In another incident, Rakesh found a puppy on streets of Bangalore, he named him 'Lucky'. This is perception towards stray dogs, abuse, apathy in general dogs face in society.
After two years, he brought home a paralysed St Bernard dog from an NGO. Had Rakesh not shown interest, the dog would have been euthanized. Rakesh learnt about the condition and was disturbed with the fact that the dog which you cannot take care would be euthanise. However, 'Cookie' died after a few month.
Meanwhile, incidents of dog bite were on the rise in Bengaluru and government was planning to cull dogs for safety. This led Rakesh Shukla to think even bigger in his approach towards welfare of stray dogs.
"In 2010, I had seven dogs. To accommodate increasing number of dogs I bought land. We have medical facility for basic surgeries out of rescue situation, aging dogs come here," he said.
Security for dogs
Rakesh Shukla has installed 48 cameras to keep the digs secure from external threats. On several occasions, vested interests have tried to threaten Rakesh and three dogs were poisoned. Amidst all odds, he is carrying his selfless service for the last eight years.
Having a pet is different experience. But to take care of hunddrends of dogs from different parts of the country could be a excruciating experience. However, mingling with dogs is a skill Rakesh Shukla is extremely good at. "Dogs have different attitude and behavior. I discovered in the journey that I am good at taking care of dogs than what I am trained for in technology and management," admits Shukla.