Life & Style

Meet the auto driver from Chennai whose passengers include dogs, birds and the occasional calf

N Basker is an auto driver. But on most days, his passengers are furry four-legged creatures. The Chennai auto driver is an animal lover and comes to the rescue of pet parents, when autos and cabs refuse to carry animals.

“In such a situation the pet owner is often distressed. Especially in the case of an injured animal, there is bound to be blood and waste matter. I have no qualms about these issues or cleaning up and I gladly ferry them to and from their destination,” says the 42-year-old, who started the pet auto service in 2019.

Over the years, his service has picked up momentum, and aiding the process is Help Voiceless, his Facebook page which people reach out to in times of need.

There have been numerous instances where Basker has received SOS calls from people informing him about an injured puppy or cat. And no matter where he is, he says he always races to the spot — whether it is Mamallapuram or OMR (Old Mahabalipuram Road) in peak traffic.

Meet the auto driver from Chennai whose passengers include dogs, birds and the occasional calf

A resident of Mandaveli, Basker says the distance does not matter; what does is the animal. He is a regular at clinics, animal hospitals and organisations such as BMAD (Besant Memorial Animal Dispensary) where he is often seen rushing in with an injured or abandoned pet. “A friend taught me how to handle animals that are hurt and comfort them,” he adds. So far, more than 200 animals have been in his auto, including birds and the occasional clueless calf.

“I’m particularly attached to street dogs, as they do not have a family,” says Basker. “I’d love to have my own pets but I live in a rented house,” he adds. However, that does not stop him from fussing over the dogs around his locality. Every day he feeds around five dogs a meal of chicken and rice.

Even if he has not had a great day in terms of income, he does not let that affect their meal. “I get rice from the ration shop for ₹5 a kilogram and chicken legs for ₹10 for 10 pieces [the butcher shops give him a special rate],” he says, “It is not a big deal!”

Connect with Basker on 9445159587.

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Printable version | May 12, 2021 5:19:20 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/four-legged-friends-on-three-wheels/article34092511.ece

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