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Samaritan For The Strays

Orpita Ghosh has come a long way from her first rescue to taking care of
nearly 200 dogs, more than 50 cats and over 80 stray bovine, but she’s worried
over the growing count of uncared-for animals on the street
Text: Team Buddy Life

There’s a saying which goes, “If you want someone to love you forever, get a dog, feed it and keep it around.” No one would know this better than Orpita Ghosh, who has been feeding the strays since her childhood. Today, she feeds more than 200 dogs in the eastern part of Delhi and its adjoining area with Noida.

Born into a middle-class family of Prayagraj City (then Allahabad), Orpita grew into a sensitive and empathetic child, ostensibly imbibing the values of care giving from her grandmother. “I owe it to my grandmother who inculcated care and love for other lesser privileged beings,” reminisces Orpita in a soft, grateful tone.

Orpita believes that some grain of animal care also trickled down from her father’s DNA . “He was quite fond of raising animals of all kinds on the large residential compound in Tagore Town,” recalls Orpita. From her middle school days, around the years of 1985-1990, Orpita started taking care of the various animals in the neighbourhood of her house. She would save every single penny from all the cash gifts and endowments her family would give her to provide food, water, clothing and makeshift shelters. “I never hesitated jumping into pits and drains to rescue animals in distress or injured from street fights,” recalls the good samaritan who is an angel for all the streeties around her.

Her passion for caring for animals only grew with time as Orpita entered college and then chose the career of a fulltime school teacher between the years of 1991-1995. “I pumped in all my money in caring for the injured and sick animals and on trips to the neighbourhood Government Veterinary Hospital. In the process, I found several admirers and able allies for the cause of animal welfare,” says Orpita. Her energy, focus and commitment to service and to the cause of the animals only grew with time which doubled up once she moved to Delhi 2008.

“Here again from feeding a small but very friendly group of happy canines in a neighbourhood park in Mayur Vihar-I starting in 2011 to the launch of my initiative, EK AASHA CHHOTI SI in 2012. I started this to fill the vacuum created when my favourite pet Chhoti passed away. The initiative helped me develop a very warm relationship with the canine group.” says Orpita. Ek Aasha Chhoti Si became more than just a simple private and home run initiative by Orpita. Today, it has spread its wings in terms of number of volunteers, care and support in East Delhi and Noida. “We take care of nearly 200 dogs, more than 50 cats and over 80 stray bovines largely including bulls, non-milk-producing old cows and young abandoned male calves. The organisation feeds, treats, immunises and manages the health of the stray animals,” says Orpita.

For Orpita, a typical day starts around 4.30-5am when she and her husband depart for their first round. Through the course of the day nearly 50-70 dogs in each batch in and around Mayur Vihar Phase 1 and other parts of East Delhi are fed and taken care of.

“The Covid19 pandemic has hit the strays most cruelly. We are faced with an ever-increasing population of dependents since the first lockdown in March 2020. The numbers have more than doubled from around 100 dependents to now nearly 250 dependents,” says Orpita.

Tears swimming in her eyes, she is worried over the growing count of uncared-for animals on the street, struggling to find food, shelter or basic medical care. It is not a lofty dream – but a desperate need to provide basics such as food and water to all hungry souls frantically searching for food.

Orpita has come a long way from her first rescue, a badly abused, injured donkey roaming the streets of Mayur Vihar in 2011 to an average of five rescues of destitute, abandoned, critically ill or severely injured animals on any day. As the animal population rises, so does the number of animal abuse cases. Orpita’s tireless pursuit for service and care continues relentlessly. Her initiative forces us to remember animals are an integral part of the environment. They have as much right on this earth as, we have and it is we who have claimed their habitat not the animals.