On the first death anniversary of their dachshund, Aishwariya and her mother started feeding stray dogs. Now they want to provide complete care for these animals

Sometimes the loss of someone dear can expand the mind, providing the ability to look beyond the self. This is what happened to Aishwariya when she lost her ‘sister’ Joe, a dachshund she considered family. Also called Ammu, the dog was her best companion for seven years.

“My daughter would spend all her time with Joe. So pampered was Joe that she would refuse to walk on the road, preferring the car. We had to take her to the beach every weekend for a stroll. She hated dog food and her favourites were pizza, sweets and carrot. We gave in to all her whims and fancies, for we considered her our second daughter,” says Aishwariya’s mother Uma.

But, due to a health problem, the dog passed away last year. On its first anniversary, Aishwariya started feeding stray dogs on her street. She had never given them a second thought until then.

“Though I still miss Ammu, I am happy that in her death she showed me what I had to do; that is to care for these stray dogs,” says this IAS aspirant, who is in the process of registering a foundation for stray and abandoned dogs.

The mother and daughter duo feed ten dogs at their street thrice a day. “When I started this feeding programme, there were only two dogs. They in turn brought their friends for the treat. There is no specific time that we feed them, but I only need to call out their names and they will come rushing,” says Aishwarya, who also plans to start a free medical and rehabilitation shelter for injured stray dogs and dogs with medical problems such as blindness and damaged vocal cords.

She also wants to give regular seminars to people on how to care for stray dogs. “People must realise that the survival of stray dogs is important and that they must be taken care of. They should not be looked at as a menace,” she adds.

To provide more help to the dogs, Aishwarya is looking for support from pet lovers who could donate food such as biscuits, rice, eggs, meat and milk.

She also appeals to dog owners not to abandon their pets and consult her for rehabilitation purposes.

Aishwarya can be reached at 99406 58359.

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