We are a community of animal lovers. As children, we are taught to be compassionate and stand up for the cause of especially our community animals and birds, who are left to fend for themselves against the elements of nature and sometimes, the cruelties of humans. We have laws in place to protect them as also laws empowering feeders and other caregivers of animals and birds who exemplify love, loyalty, companionship and most importantly, gratitude. Parsi Times Reporter Binaisha M. Surti brings you inspiring stories of some of our Good Samaritans who have dedicated a good part of their lives in the service of community animals, especially through the pandemic, going that extra mile to ensure their safety and well-being.
Genevieve Dubash: A passionate animal lover since childhood, generous Genevieve has cared for community animals her whole life. Her passion culminated into the establishment of ‘AWARE’ (Animal Welfare And Rescue Efforts) Foundation, an ashram housing and caring for over eighty dogs and cats, in Ganeshpuri, Maharshtra. “I’m blessed to be born in a family of animal lovers who have always rescued dogs and cats. Compassion, care and respect for them was instilled in us since a very young age,” shares Genevieve.
Explaining the greatest challenge of working with animals, she says, “Gaining the animal’s trust, in cases where it’s endured severe trauma, can be difficult. The aim is to ensure they live a healthy and dignified life. Seeing result through effort is the best motivation one can get.” Genevieve and her team have rescued animals from heart-rending, distressing situations including starvation, disease, accidents, victims of human cruelty and abandonment. “Each fur child has a special story and its own beautiful significance. Seeing them recover and watching them live in peace with playfulness yet again – as if their disabilities and traumas didn’t even happen – gives me immense joy in return.” [To volunteer or donate, email: email@example.com ]
Roxanne Davur: The well-known and large-hearted Roxanne Davur is known for having dedicated a large part of her life to the protection and care of less privileged animals, at her lovely ‘Probably Paradise Shelter’ located in Karjat, that she set up on Christmas 2011. After a successful career in the hospitality industry, she embraced the cause of animal welfare, and received in return, unconditional love from all her wonderful four-legged residents!
Roxanne provides shelter to injured, abandoned and handicapped animals, with an aim to give them a dignified life. “From childhood, I’ve always loved and respected animals. Today, I have over 550 animals who I provide shelter, food and clean water to – they too have rights! Looking after animals is a full-time job and the greatest challenge we face is keeping them fed. We also need money to build, maintain and stock up the shelter, while catering to salaries and bills of the workers.”
Seeing her animals develop their own unique character gives her joy.
She shares an anecdote about a foal, “We brought in a little foal who had a bad start in life – born on a highway in the middle of traffic, attacked badly by dogs. To see that very baby grow into a happy, cheeky little mischievous brat, is the most satisfying feeling! Being around animals makes me smile laugh at all their sweet and naughty antics!” [To adopt, donate, volunteer, email: firstname.lastname@example.org ]
Rashna Todiwalla: Rashna is a choreographer by profession and a hardworking, passionate animal lover, who believes that service is worship. She attends to rescue calls, feeds community cats, catering to their medical needs and sterilization, and assists vets during surgeries. Along with her sister, Dr. Pearl Hilloo, she works to imbibe compassion in people towards animals and encourages the new gen to heal and help innocent souls.
“The greatest disappointment and challenge is the cruel human heart, where people not only refrain from showing kindness to animals, but also stop us from feeding and serving these innocent, voiceless animals. If one cannot do good, they should try to stop and harass the ones doing good.” Her motivating factor is her inner drive, wanting to make that difference.
Quite a brave-heart too when it comes to protecting her cats, Rashna tells us about how she personally rescued a cat which stuck in a building loft, “The only way to get it out was to climb on the grills outside the building. It was pitch dark but being left with no choice, I just said a silent prayer and got onto the grills, feeling every step on the way as nothing was visible in the dark. If I missed a single step, I could have come crashing down. But God was kind and I was able to save my cat.” [To volunteer or donate, email: email@example.com]
Taronish Bulsara: Animal lover Taronish is the co-founder of ‘World For All Animal Care and Adoptions’ (WFA), established over 12 years ago, which carries out daily rescues, sterilizations, adoptions and rehabilitation of community dogs and cats. WFA currently houses over 700 rescued animals and feeds 128 homeless animals daily, at their facilities. An ambulance team rescues and provides treatment to 50 animals daily, placing at least 20 animals in foster homes across Mumbai. Says Taronish, “In India, most people are not very supportive of charities which help animals on the streets. It’s usually humans who pose the challenges, not animals. Also, there’s a constant struggle in reaching financial targets. But the greater emotional challenge is having to release a healed animal back to its territory, which is a necessity.”
Taronish and his dynamic team work hard to treat and rehabilitate the rescued animals. The transformations of many such animals have been nothing short of miracles. He concludes, “The best part in this field is we get to learn something new daily. Serving animals and spending my time with them brings me immense joy. The most rewarding is when all the efforts begin to take shape when an animal in pain gradually heals completely.” [To volunteer, adopt or donate, email: firstname.lastname@example.org ]
Here’s wishing more power to all such angels on earth, who do God’s own work and tend to homeless animals, in any capacity – big or small. Every effort earns you the blessing of these helpless and voiceless darlings. And in return, you receive the unconditional love, loyalty and the forever gratitude of these lovely animals, which can fill your heart and make it smile!
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