In the heartland of India, where many animals roam, there lies a shelter, a warm compassionate home…
This shelter is a haven, where love and care abound, where abandoned souls are cherished and found…
Anatole France’s words- “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened” remind us of Aman’s Animal Rehabilitation Foundation which is working selflessly for animal welfare. Established by Amanpreet Walia and Simran Walia in 2008, the foundation’s roots can be traced back to the moment Amanpreet’s daughter, Simran, brought home an injured puppy named Dodo. Although hesitant at first, Aman couldn’t turn the pup away and decided to provide care and nourishment. This act of compassion marked the beginning, as they subsequently extended their care to four additional dogs. Over time, the number of animals in need grew exponentially, and the foundation now houses more than 350 dogs, many cats, chickens, turtles, and pigeons too.
This mother-daughter duo share a deep passion for animals and has dedicated their lives to running this animal shelter. Let’s get into the insights and experiences regarding their involvement with AARF located in the Palghar district in Maharashtra.
What inspired both of you to start this animal shelter?
When you bring a dog into your home, you gain a deep understanding of their emotions and sentiments. You realise the difficulties they face while living on the streets. They, too, suffer from heat, hunger, and thirst, much like us humans. When they fall ill, they experience similar discomfort. When someone hurts them or they get into an accident, they feel pain just like we do. Our second dog, Blackie taught us this and our first dog, Dodo, inspired us. Without their influence, we wouldn’t be engaged in this meaningful pursuit today.
Initially, when Simran brought our first dog, Dodo, into our home, I hesitated due to previous experiences of unsuccessful attempts in caring for animals. We had encountered difficulties in keeping them alive. However, Simran’s determination led her to establish AARF, where she would rescue animals from the streets and bring them home. Over time, I gradually became actively involved in this noble endeavour alongside her.
Can you share a heartwarming story about an animal that was rescued and adopted from your shelter?
While many numerous healthy puppies have been adopted from our shelter, it was the rescue and adoption of an abandoned elderly and ailing Labrador that truly touched our hearts. This Labrador, approximately 10 years old, was deserted in the jungle during the rainy season, by his owner due to his age and illness. When a family came to adopt him, it was a heartwarming moment for us, considering the difficulties we face in finding homes even for healthy puppies.
How do you ensure the animals’ physical and emotional well-being while they are in your care?
We make sure that they receive treatment from top-notch doctors. However, in addition to medical care, showering them with love and heartfelt care also plays a crucial role in aiding their recovery from trauma and shock. We are committed to providing exceptional care to every animal entrusted to us.
How do you fund your shelter’s operations and what percentage of your budget goes directly to animal care?
Our NGO relies solely on donations, and each contribution we receive is utilised entirely for the expenses related to the animals in our shelter. These funds cover their food, fees for medical professionals, foster care provisions, medications, transportation, and surgeries.
How has AARF impacted the local community? What is your mission and how do you strive to achieve it?
Our primary objective is to eliminate hunger, thirst, and lack of medical care among animals. We are committed to providing a safe shelter for everyone and encourage the adoption of Desi Dogs (Indian native breed dogs). Our goal is to ensure these dogs receive the love and care they deserve. We also strive to raise awareness and establish a hospital facility with ample land where we can build a shelter specifically for old, paralyzed, and blind dogs who cannot survive on the streets.
We actively contribute to the community in various ways. We sterilise community dogs and cats to control their population. Moreover, we provide them with vaccinations to prevent harm if they accidentally bite someone and provide regular feeding to ensure their well-being, keeping them content and preventing them from wandering around and causing disturbances. By fulfilling their basic needs of food and water, we aim to maintain their tranquillity.
AARF’s mission cannot be accomplished without the support of the community as a whole. It is crucial for people to come forward and contribute to the change. Simran and Amanpreet believe that every society should adopt at least two dogs.
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