Two Kolkata women deserve our respect and help for being immensely dedicated canine welfare crusaders and working selflessly on the ground without a care for personal fame, awards, titles, or acknowledgements
Kolkata, December 13, 2019: They might be years apart when it comes to age, but one thing that truly bonds them together is their love for human’s best friend: dog. They are both passionate for serving the canine cause so much so that they have decided to remain unmarried all their lives. Their decision might sound crazy to some, but for them it is their strong belief and dedication that has remained firm for the past several years. Meet Anju Chatterjee, 70, and Mamoni Das, 35, who live in Bagbazar area of north Kolkata.
Their houses are at a distance of about half a kilometer of each other but both have been devoutly serving stray canines in their locality for the past several years. Their daily routine includes cooking food for the strays and feeding them twice a day. They feed around 50 homeless dogs every day. Anju, a retired clerk from Kolkata Port Trust, says that her journey to look after strays began when she was a kid and saw her parents feeding the canines. “I was around eight or nine years old when I used to see my parents preparing the food and serving the dogs. I developed a liking for them. Slowly, it turned into a daily routine to assist my mother while she went out to serve them food,” she says.
Anju can’t remember the exact day or year when her love for the four-legged reached such a point that she decided to remain unmarried throughout her life. “I don’t suffers from diabetes and complains of joint pain, her day starts early. She wakes up at 5 am every day and straightway rushes to the market to buy cooking items for the dogs. “My age has failed to come in my way in serving them. I wake up early in the morning and head to the local market to buy food for them. I then come back and cook in my kitchen. Around 50 stray dogs are served with vegetarian and non-vegetarian food twice a day. We (she and Mamoni) have often carried the ailing dogs in our arms and rushed them to hospitals but it feels sad when some of them can’t survive despite our best efoorts,” she says, sharing her deep bond with the dogs. She admits that the expenses burn a hole in her pocket because often it becomes difficult to balance between buying medicines and their food. “I also suffer from joint pain which worsens during winters but still I continue with my work and go out to distribute food. I have to manage everything within my meagre pension and it becomes difficult to balance everything,” says Anju.
Mamoni, who has been like her assistant for the past 15 years, says that she was moved by the plight of the animals on streets and decided to work for them. “I was appalled when I saw innocent animals being abused and hurt by some of my own neighbours. I started by feeding dogs and then slowly it became a routine,” she informs. The 35-year-old hails from a poor family and can hardly arrange two square meals a day. She says that sometimes she has to work as a domestic maid and do odd jobs to arrange money for buying food for the dogs. “I have to work very hard to arrange money because I belong to a poor family and don’t have a source of income. Sometimes it becomes too tough. I have to do odd jobs and even work as a domestic maid for money,” she says. Mamoni makes it clear that she doesn’t have any plans to get married in life. “I will never change my mind and remain unmarried. I have been scolded a numerous times by my family but I have refused to yield to their pressure.
My decision is final,” she adds. The duo admits that financial constraints often prevent them to send dogs for birth control surgeries. “We can hardly afford sending three to four dogs for surgeries every year because of shortage of money. We strongly request people to come forward and help us in our noble cause,” says Anju. Dr Samir Shil, secretary, Calcutta Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (CSPCA), praised their initiative. “We normally send ambulances in their locality for picking up the wounded dogs and also for birth control surgeries. It is really a commendable initiative by the two women who have dedicated their life to the welfare of dogs. It is rare to see somebody so passionate for the cause. They need constant support of the society to carry on with their initiative,” he says. True, the society needs more
people like them.
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