A big part of Christmas is the tradition of giving and receiving gifts. It’s how many celebrate the people in their lives, but for some generosity is the theme of the entire year. In the spirit of giving, The Week brings you stories of some individuals in our society who have dedicated their lives to selfless deeds.
Sneha Shrestha, 27
Her phone rings and beeps at all hours. Her Facebook page, Sneha’s Care informs of ways those seeking to help street dogs can get in touch with her. The inquiries range from locating shelter for abandoned dogs to health care. Her immediate priority though has always been dogs who have been severely hurt and are in need of urgent medical care. She says she has never been able to resist those calls in particular which is why she is used to late nights at the vet’s clinic. It’s been a year since she started the Facebook page, and her cell phone already has a large collection of photos and videos of injured dogs and she is trying her best to help them all.
It hasn’t been long since you started caring for street dogs. What got you started in the first place?
Actually I never really cared for dogs. It was my husband who was a big fan and he brought two puppies home. Even then I wasn’t really bothered about them but then one of the puppies died. It was living in a kennel outside and had caught a cold. This made me feel very guilty so I personally started taking extra care of the other puppy. Just like that my love for dogs began to grow. Soon enough I was spotting dogs that needed help everywhere. I tried taking them to other organizations but that didn’t feel very fulfilling. I thought I could do more. So I decided to get into it properly.
Has it been a challenging endeavor?
I have been financing it all on my own. It’s only now that Nepalis living abroad have started donating via my website and Facebook page. But often I usually spend an average of Rs 300,000 a month. I have specifically been trying to help dogs that are in dire need of medical care. Dogs regularly get involved in terrible accidents. We also get dogs in miserable conditions. Treating them takes time and a lot of money. Plus I’m working on building my own center because at the moment, I have placed different dogs at different centers around town. Some charge up to Rs 250 a day so there are many challenges but my husband and I don’t plan to stop. Further, the support we have started receiving is very encouraging.
How do you think other people can help street dogs?
A little sympathy goes a long way. Sometimes it’s surprising how hostile people can be towards street dogs. For instance, just a while back a doctor who had ran over a dog refused to pay for the dogs’ treatment. The dog had broken all four legs. It was wailing in pain and it required immediate surgery which would cost about Rs 25,000 for each leg.
Even if he couldn’t cover the entire amount, we requested the doctor to contribute whatever he could but he flat out refused to do so. It’s amazing how indifferent some people can be. So we are trying to do our part. I’d also like to request more people to adopt. Rather than buying puppies, please take a stray home. There are plenty of dogs out there in need of some love and warmth.