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In today’s post we will introduce you to a person who is just like us on the outside but a rare gem deep inside. Tina Malkani Gholap is a businesswoman with a heart of gold and she is our - Dog’s Best Friend. Her story started the day a lonely puppy wandered into her path. As adorable as she was Tina immediately felt that she wouldn’t be able to exist alone on the streets.
And this is what makes Tina a star because a lot of people have kind feelings but only a few give it a serious thought and do something about it. She called up almost a hundred of people who could have helped the puppy but none bothered. And eventually a paid foster agreed to keep her for three days until Tina found a permanent home. Those three days weren’t just crucial for the puppy but for Tina as well. In that time she realised how difficult it is for a puppy to get a life it deserves, ample food, clean water, love and protection. In short a home.
It is because of this struggle that people choose to conveniently ignore the plight of these dogs. But Tina wasn’t one of them, she had realised that animals can’t speak for themselves, so we had to be their default voice. And following which she posted about the puppy all over the social media, soon enough she found help, people who were ready to keep her. The pup still lives with them and is a part of their family. That was Tina’s first successful rescue and adoption, there was no looking back after that.
A lot of people believe that animals perceive our fear, happiness along with other unsaid feelings. And so it makes sense that they get attracted to people they think might help them. Often animal lovers have described how dogs and sick animals follow them or appear out of nowhere just so they can be rescued. Something like that again happened with Tina who was at the chemist’s and felt a tug on her pants. She looked down to find a puppy staring at her. She was full of ticks and bite marks. What happened next was a series of social media ads and newspaper ads to find her a home, in the meanwhile the puppy got veterinary check-ups, baths and a complete transformation. Eventually, all that led to a foster home failure and Tina decided on keeping the puppy with her even though she already had one at home. But everything worked out well and since then Tutu and Tina have been filling each other’s lives with happiness.
Don’t you ever wonder that the strays are called street dogs not because they live on the streets but because they don’t have any other option? Given the number of dogs compared to the meagre amount of people ready to help them, it is a major challenge to rehabilitate each and every dog. But Tina was never demoralised by that fact, she ventures out every morning with a basket of food and water for these dogs who are still roaming on the streets looking for a home. Because she felt a sense of grief every time she saw stray dogs and tried to help them to the best of her capacity.
Many people can’t even bother to do that much for dogs and Tina has a simple solution to that as well, if you can’t do any good, you should at least do no harm either. She often finds others staring at her, smirking, passing comments for doing something different. Yes because being nice to someone has become unusual in today’s world. We find many such people who argue that why should we waste resources on animal rescue and welfare when there are humans who do not have enough food, clothing and shelter? Makes me wonder, how can suffering of any being be differentiated and prioritized. And isn’t this the basic reason why animals suffer in the first place, because they aren’t good enough or as important as people?! Tina’s reply to cynics is apt, she feels there are enough people doing harm to animals and hence she feels a sense of responsibility and protection towards them.
Tina not only feeds her “Streeties” (that’s what she calls them fondly) she gets them vaccinated too. She is also a registered feeder of the AWBI (Animal Welfare Board of India). She holds a feeder a card which can be issued to you, if you fill up and submit a simple application form provided by AWBI.
Her future plans are based on her own experiences, she wishes to continue the work that she is doing in her own capacity without being part of any group or organisation. It is not only a very personal approach but also logical and practical, because bigger the organisation smaller becomes the scope for ground level work. She feels that it’s unfortunate that human ego plays a key role in organisations and groups with many people, as more opinions lead to more discussions and lesser time is dedicated to actual work towards the cause.
Tina’s story is proof that you do not need wings to be an angel, you just need to have a heart.
By Dee Malaviya