From an IT professional to be the ‘Voice of Stray Dogs’ – An outstanding journey of Rakesh Shukla
It was for the first time in 2012, Rakesh Shukla an engineer cum businessman bonded with a dog, a paralyzed St Bernard lying by the roadside. Shukla picked up the whining dog and took her home. Today, Rakesh Shukla has 550 four-legged children, as he chooses to call them.
That one day changed everything; I don’t have any children. When I found Cookie on the streets, I felt I found a daughter to look after and promised never to leave her. She had the best medical care; I hand-made various carts for her easy movement. However, since Cookie had been lying in her faeces and urine for over a year before I brought her home, her infections aggravated. I lost her in October 2012, says 43-year-old Rakesh.
Distressed Rakesh left Bengaluru for a week to spend time alone. That’s when he decided to create the best rescue system for strays in India and the world over. He founded Voice of Stray Dogs (VoSD) in the same month.
Over the years, Voice of Stray Dogs has become one of the largest tech-savvy dog-rescue centres in India. Since its inception, Voice of Stray Dogs has rescued over 5,000 dogs. It has also supported the treatment of over 140,000 such dogs. The canines undergo medical tests, x-rays and blood checks. He has a team of 25 para-vets, feeders handlers and others.
We don’t refuse to admit any dog. However, there are guidelines on the kind of rescues we do. We don’t take pets or healthy street dogs. Otherwise, we take in almost every kind of dog that needs help. Diseased dogs, those hit by vehicles, having maggot wounds, and those with disabilities are sheltered and treated, says Rakesh.
Shukla’s five-acre farm on the city’s outskirts now shelters around 550 dogs that are either abandoned or have been picked up from the streets. Rakesh Shukla drives them around in a minibus, sometimes for their vaccinations, or just for joy rides.