The Dog Father! This Man ‘Rakesh Shenoy’ is ‘Dog’s Best Friend’?
Mangaluru: Dogs! There’s a reason we call them “Man’s Best Friend”. We can learn so many things from a dog’s behavior, personality, demeanor, resiliency, and most importantly, the willingness to provide their family members with unconditional love, loyalty, and companionship down to their very last breath. You come in the door from a long day’s work. The dog doesn’t judge you; he doesn’t care how you’re dressed or if you’ve just had a really bad day. No matter the situation, your dog is happy to see you. You are greeted with the same enthusiasm each and every time you walk in that door. A dog has the ability to live in the present moment. They don’t regret the past or worry about the future. If we can learn to appreciate and focus on what’s happening in the here and now, we’ll experience a richness of living.
But here we have a different kind of story- and I am talking about a “Man”, who happens to be “Dog’s Best Friend?”- or we can call him the “Dog Father?”- because he feeds a bunch of stray dogs in the City, and also takes care or transports them to veterinary hospital, if he sees any injured or sick stray dogs or any other stray animal. Introducing Rakesh Shenoy, aged 43 of Kodikal-Mangaluru, working in a automobile Marketing Department. Even though he doesn’t earn much, but he has never stopped feeding stray dogs for the last 15 years, with biscuits; and recently added rice packets- which costs him nearly Rs 300 per day, according to him.
Every day early morning when he enters the Urwa Market ground on his two-wheeler, a cacophony of barks greeted him, and bunch of dogs numbering about 15-20 dogs follow his vehicle. Within seconds, they were all over Shenoy, nuzzling him and licking him, and Shenoy is delighted to see them all. Most of the dogs are strays, the others have been abandoned by their owners. These dogs are so affectionate to him, seems like he is like their “Papa”. You should these dogs yelping and barking, jumping with joy. With hearts full of compassion and bag full of food, he is greeted by the stray dogs like pets greet their owners.
Team Mangalorean had the privilege to meet Rakesh Shenoy this morning at Urwa Market Ground. When asked him what are these benefits that motivated him to continue feeding stray dogs and other stray animals, and he explains – “Basically, the biggest issue with stray dogs in a community is their aggression towards pedestrians, small children, people on vehicles, etc. If that is controlled, the residents and the dogs can coexist without any disturbances. And to control it we need to do three things — sterilize them to control the population, make sure they are all vaccinated, and try to educate the residents of the community about how to live with the dogs in harmony.”
Shenoy also said, “The stray dog menace grows if people abandon puppies or grown up dogs. People should stop this practice because the city is seeing increase in stray dog population day by day. Mangaluru City Corporation should do some awareness programmes on animal cruelty, undertake responsibility in vaccinating, birth control methods for these dogs. Only then the city will have low number of stray dogs”. Hence for Shenoy, what started as a casual feeding activity for one or two dogs turned into an overall welfare program for bunch of dogs. He feeds dogs at Urwa market ground, near Mangalore Central Railway Station, Falnir Junction, and few other places on regular basis.
“Sometimes I take injured or sick dogs to the Vet doctors, even the doctors are unable to believe that they are street dogs. They are so well behaved and tame now – they don’t bite and only know how to love. Such awareness among animals can be created by making sure that all their needs are met. One should know that dogs don’t travel long distances. They have a 200-300 m radius and they are mostly found there. That is their territory. So all those places where I go the same dogs are there each day. They all know me and they come running when they see me”, narrates Shenoy.
For many years, Rakesh Shenoy was feeding the stray dogs with just biscuits- until recently one of his friends named Shailesh Bhat, who also plays cricket with him at Urwa Market ground came forward to provide rice daily. Bhat owns a catering business in town, and daily donates rice to Shenoy to be fed to the stray dogs. As Bhat provides plain rice, Shailesh takes it home, adds some gravy to it prepared at his house, and then makes small packets of rice-all ready as meals for the hungry four-legged friends? First thing when he enters Urwa Market ground, he feeds the crows first- and then the dogs.
Talking about his family he said, “Even though my family is not directly involved in the feeding of these stray dogs, but they are supportive and don’t mind the work that I am doing for the dogs. I have three dogs and seven cats, which are well taken care of my wife and my two children. Even though many praise my work, but a few others are against my habit of feeding stray dogs stating that the dogs may take more advantage, become strong, attack people or create nuisance around. But people should also realize that every creature has the right to live, and people should develop the habit of caring and loving towards animals”. Rakesh Shenoy is married to Sujatha, employed in a private firm, while his son is in PUC and daughter doing her high school studies.
In conclusion, it’s sad. But I believe only humans are to be blamed on all accounts- firstly they befriend street dogs but don’t care enough to spend little on their vaccination, care and training. Unless people learn to train and curb stray population there isn’t going to be any solution. While many are content with feeding stray dogs in their locality, there are a few who go on to adopt the canines, regardless of their desi breed. It is not very often that you find people who adopt or feed stray dogs in our everyday life. With some bizarre festivals like ‘Yulin’ in China and a lot of abuse against dogs around the world, this is a heartwarming story of a man who has gone behind his means- no doubt a bunch of Kudla’s stray dogs has finally found them a “papa” who is going the extra mile to rescue, feed, nurture, rehabilitate, litigate and make this world a better place for man’s best friend.
While admiring the good work that Rakesh Shenoy is doing, it would be nice if good Samaritans could come forward and lend their helping hand to Shenoy – and if you are willing to do so kindly call Rakesh Shenoy at 9663628756