Saving one life at a time

Tripta Kaur has been rescuing animals and helping them find homes for the past two decades

Tripta Kaur’s phone is constantly ringing. And she cannot afford to miss any call as it could be a matter of life and death. A dentist by profession, the 35-year-old animal activist works round the clock to rescue animals and help them get adopted.

“Most of the rescue calls that we receive are either accident cases or abandon issues. There are at least four rescue operations every day,” she says. Kaur hails from Punjab and moved to the city when she was nine years old. She is a part of an organisation called ‘Animal Rescuers Vizag’.

If we had to judge the city through Mahatma Gandhi’s words, who said, ‘The greatness of any nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated’, Visakhapatnam would not do well. Kaur’s struggle to help animals and make their lives better would stand witness to that.

“There are hardly a handful of rescuers in the city. It’s tougher still to find people who work round the clock. However, it is not just the activists who are responsible for the safety of animals. The residents too need to be part of the process,” she says.

Most cases of rescue in the city are that of abandonment. “Dogs, love birds, cats and turtles are the most abandoned animals in the city. Many people do not realise that adopting an animal is a physical, emotional and financial investment. In the case of dogs and cats it is a commitment for more than a decade,” she says.Speaking with two decades of experience in animal activism, Kaur says that most people adopt a pet without knowing how work is involved and then abandon them when it gets difficult. “A few years ago, majority of the people in the city were adopting red-eared slider turtle as it was believed to bring luck and money. But not many were aware that these turtles eat a lot and grow fast. Most of these turtles were abandoned after a year or so,” she says.

Dog days

The case is worse for dogs, which are mostly abandoned when they grow old or when they catch infections. Half the abandoned dogs die in road accidents as they have a sheltered upbringing and have no road sense. While the abandonment is high, the adoption rate in the city is low. When not on a rescue operation, Kaur spends her time finding a home for the animals.

“We do not give away the animals to random people who approach us. We check their background, take their ID proofs and at times visit their houses to see if the animal is kept well. Also, we make them sign an adoption form that clearly states that the adopted animal will not be used for breeding,” she says.

Rescue operation

Her journey from being a spectator to being a rescuer began when Kaur brought home an injured kitten in Chennai during her days as a student of dentistry. “This was almost two decades ago. My educated yet superstitious neighbours advised me to get rid of it as they considered cats to be bad for one’s health and wealth,” she says.

Ignoring all the ‘warnings’ given by her neighbours, she kept the kitten and brought home many more. “At one point I was housing nine cats and people called my house the cat house,” she laughs out loud. To feed their curiosity, many of her neighbours peeked into her house from time to time. “Finally, I saw people change their mindset; one of my neighbours got home an injured kitten and then adopted it,” she said. After moving back to Visakhapatnam in 2011, she has been actively participating in the city’s animal rescue operations. Her appeal to the city’s residents is to be empathetic towards animals and make that one call to the rescuers when they see injured or abandoned animals.

“However, just a call won’t help. We appreciate it if people take out a little time and send us the exact location of the animal and a few pictures that would make it easy for us to identify them,” she says.

(To help an animal in distress, call 9652603824)

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Printable version | Mar 31, 2020 11:32:21 AM |

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