For those who think that only human beings happen to face the difficulties and hardships of a distressing time like such, this veterinary student from Mumbai will help you shift your focus to just how bad animals have it.
COVID-19 has also had an equally scarring impact on the lives of stray animals across the nation and unfortunately like us they don’t have a voice. In a bid to help the suffering of these animals, Sagun Bhatjiwale is feeding these animals along with the help of some other good samaritans like himself.
Sagun is a part of he Nature's Ally Foundation: an NGO dedicated to the welfare of birds, animals and trees, and his good deeds got him noticed on Instagram by account ‘nobordersshop’. The account shared his story, where he talks about how disheartening it is for him to see animals in such anguish
“My heart reaches out to the stray animals of the city, who face the scarcity of food and lack of water on a daily basis, struggling with extreme starvation and dehydration, as human activity has decreased to an unprecedented level.”Sagun Bhatjiwale
Sagun also spoke about how people were also constrained to step out and help due to the restrictions of the lockdown.
“The shutting down of restaurants and eateries has completely stopped the usual leftovers that are discarded in garbage bins. I could not bear to see the stray animals suffer, so I decided to do something about it. I reached out for help, but no one was ready to risk coming out during the lockdown. I managed to convince a college canteen to help me cook the rice meal for the strays every morning.”Sagun Bhatjiwale
He organised for the food supplies from his own savings, but the bigger obstacle was to find transport to carry the food, however with the help of a local animal lover, Rakesh Gupta, Shagun managed to help feed over 100 dogs every day.
“I could not drive myself and I do not have a car of my own. Luckily a local animal lover, Rakesh Gupta, agreed to drive me. We would get up at 4 am, cook and pick up the rice meal from the canteen and start the no hunger drive. I served some food in plastic bowls and offered it to the strays, making sure to pick up the bowls after they were done. I encountered some pregnant dogs, some lactating mothers with their pups, and many old infirm and/or emaciated ones, who could not scout for food themselves. I used to feed 100-150 dogs per day. It was very heartening to see them eat hungrily.”Sagun Bhatjiwale
To see hungry animals finally eat in peace was the motivating factor for Shagun to do this almost every morning ever since the lockdown, despite being stopped by police officers.
“I spent 6-7 hours every morning doing this. I was stopped multiple times by policemen who questioned why I am out on the streets during the lockdown, but they allowed me to continue feeding the stray animals”Sagun Bhatjiwale
He requested for people to come forward and help him feed those who don’t have both the means or the ability to express it’s dearth.
“I want to encourage others to participate and feed the strays in your locality, keep a bowl of water outside and regularly refill it. If anyone would like to join me in saving our animals, contact me at @saguningenious3254 (Instagram account)”Sagun Bhatjiwale
Sagun’s efforts are truly heartwarming and praiseworthy!