Ashima Grover is a wife, a daughter, an animal lover, a philanthropist and a wonderful person in general. She lives in Delhi and has been taking care of street pups in around her area for around four years. Ashima also helps them find foster/forever homes and also takes initiative in sterilizing the adult dogs around her. She currently feeds and takes care of thirteen puppies and is very passionate with her work. We had a talk with her on Wednesday, 28, March, 2018. Here is how our interview went.
So Ashima tell us a bit about yourself. What exactly do you do?
I had a full time job till January 2018, but I left it because of this. It is not what I am meant to do. I was not getting time to help my babies. They were suffering, and I couldn’t do anything about it.
I run a group on Facebook- ‘Don’t shop, just adopt’. I have been running that group for three years. It’s an open group through which I reach people and try to help as much as I can. Through this group I raise awareness. People should know that we must support Indian dogs. If we adopt them, breeding would decrease.
I am planning to open an NGO in the future. But we need people, time and place for it.
Tell us how it all started?
Yeah sure… I was feeding these three streeties (street dogs) four years ago. One of them gave birth to seven pups. They were very small, around 15-20 days old when a female dog attacked one of the puppies. That puppy got some injuries on her neck. She was not in the condition to survive.
Her mother was also crying. She was trying to pick up the baby and take her to a safer place. But we took over the matter and took her to the vet. On the way, I was praying ‘don’t die, don’t die’. At the vet we came to know that her neck is damaged. It was a nerve damage. She got half paralyzed and was not able to move or look up front. Her face was facing the right and she could not look anywhere else. We started taking extra care. We fed her, took her to the vet twice daily. She needed many injections. This was when I realised that if we were not there then she wouldn’t have survived. Now she (Fifi) is two and a half years old and she is with me.
I adopted her because it took three months for her to come out of that trauma. She started walking within twelve to fifteen days of her treatment. Hats off to the vet!
Then I met another puppy who had a surgery. That puppy was also 20-25 days old. These things kept happening and I ended up taking care of all the pups. It made me realise that other pups also need good homes. Here on the streets, their life is very risky. People push them away and hurt them.
How many dogs are you currently taking care of?
Right now, there is one in my house and around 10 dogs are up for adoption. I also feed many streeties. Recently I got five females sterilised because there are too many puppies on the road. So, sterilisation, adoption and rescues are taking place simultaneously. Right now I have ten dogs, tomorrow I can have more. Because the more I see them in pain the more I want to help them.
What were the problems that you faced when you took up this path?
I married two years back and both my parents and in laws, are very supportive.
As for the neighbours- they are always bad (she laughs). I just want to say that if you cannot feed a dog, don’t. But don’t kick a dog. They are just there, they just want shade during the summers and a warm dry place in winter. If you can help a dog or a cat then good, otherwise don’t kick them. We are here to feed them.
Last week an auntie (my mother’s friend) came to my house. I was taking care of a puppy, I had rescued from the park, during that time. The auntie was like ‘kahan se le aye ho ise?’ (where did you get him). I was like ‘yeh chota sa bacha sarak pe ghum raha tha.’ (this little one was roaming on the streets). I couldn’t believe what she said next. She said breeds are better because they are intelligent, they don’t bite and they know how to act. Indies (Indian dogs) are aggressive, they bite. She started telling me one case. I said I have thousands of cases that tell you otherwise.
Indies show aggression because we throw stones at them we take our cars and scootys over their legs. We kill their babies. She had no words after that, she said it’s useless talking to you. I said that’s okay, I won’t talk to you either.
What about financial support to sustain this project?
I have faced financial problems. Especially in parvo and distemper cases. I don’t keep a note of how much I spent in these cases. One of them was a distemper case. I spent my months salary and still was not able to cover the costs so I had to raise a Rs.25,000 fund.
It was a lab puppy that was given to a girl as a birthday gift. She kept the pup for two days and realised she was not able to manage. I came across her FB post and immediately took up the case. After the treatment I got the pup fostered because I was handling two dogs in my house during that time. After one week of her foster we her caregiver realised that she had distemper. Nevertheless, she continued to foster her even if she had a pup of her own. So, there were people who I came across who have helped me.
It takes one person to encourage others to make a change…
That is what I am trying to do. If I am able to put three to four puppies into some good houses, if that is done then that is all I want.
Do you have any advice for people who would want to do what you do?
If you want to help an animal, don’t think about the consequences. You are saving a soul. Your mother will be angry for 2 days, 3 days, 4 days… 1 month. But you’ll save that puppy. You’ll save that animal and you will give it a new life. So, don’t think about it, just do it.
Our interview ended on this positive note. We wish Ashima the best of luck for her future endeavours and we hope that she can start that NGO soon. If you want to support her cause join the Facebook group Don’t Shop Just Adopt Animal Help Group to stay updated.