It’s 10 pm. It has been a long day full of stressful humans and tail-wagging dogs. I don’t want to interact with more humans other than the ones in the latest TV show I’m watching. My phone rings. I usually let it go through without answering but after 4 seconds a voice inside my heads shouts out, “WHAT IF IT IS AN INJURED DOG WHO NEEDS URGENT HELP.” And then I answer.
“I have a story for you,'' the caller says. I was already in the middle of a perfectly good story that I was watching on the computer. But, to not be rude, I said go on, and I am so glad I had picked up the phone. Here is that story.
This is the story of Aura Bhandari, an economics student from Delhi. She runs the instagram page @tales_of_tailss and is an icon, an inspiration for all dog lovers in the world. Aura used to be afraid of dogs throughout most of her life and would behave like the typical person with a fear of dogs - hear a bark, make a u-turn. See a dog, cross the road to be as far away as possible, and so on. Even when her younger brother started feeding a stray, Aura used to accompany him but keep a ‘safe’ distance.
As time went on, Tommy, as he was fondly called, became a regular feature in the sibling’s routine. They even found out that he was being bullied by other dogs and hence was trying to sneak inside their society for safety.
One day, she heard a terrifying shriek. Aura ran downstairs only to see two guards beating up Tommy with sticks. You know the drill which followed - Aura and her family stopped the beating. Guards complain to society. Non-animal loving members of the society created a scene. A fight followed which did not end well for the dog.
Tommy had ran away. The entire family was worried about his well being. Every day they would go outside and call his name in the hope that he returns. On the fourth day, Aura saw a dog running towards her from a distance. She was still scared of dogs but when she knew what Tommy had gone through, she managed to overcome her fear and hold on to him. Tommy got the limelight an athlete gets during the press conference. Questions were asked about his whereabouts and his travels but Tommy could only woof in reply. After a nice bath, Tommy was taken to a vet. On returning from the vet, Tommy became a permanent member of Bhandari family.
Aura with her dog Tommy. It took some time for Tommy to settle in, but the family stayed patient and made sure Tommy became comfortable again.
This is where Aura’s dog journey began. After adopting Tommy, Aura started feeding dogs in her locality along with her neighbour who was already feeding over 20 dogs. When the neighbours moved out, they were sad but not worried. They knew that all the dogs were under a good human’s care. Aura’s family not only fed the dogs but also converted a barren land into a dog park for the streeties.
This is Aura's Dog Park. Home to over 20 dogs, all having name tags and collars. All getting food and love.
It isn’t all smooth sailing though; it never is in animal welfare. People steal dog collars, threaten Aura with relocating the dogs and worse. But Aura isn’t worried. She knows she has an army of 25 strong, healthy and beautiful dogs.
Now with the help of her Instagram page, Aura helps get puppies find their forever homes, coordinate rescue cases and has more support in ensuring that the ones on the streets are living a pain-free life.
Every animal welfare worker comes across a feeling of helplessness from time to time. When a tiny abandoned puppy breathed his last, Aura feeling of helplessness reached an all time high. But it was the same feeling that motivates her to make sure she never has to go through it again. The short life of Hedwig, the tiny pupper, reminds Aura to never turn away an animal that needs her help. She knows Hedwig is watching her from doggo heaven and with his blessing, she can can do everything for the animals.
Aura went from a space where she was extremely scared of dogs to a space where she finds peace in dogs. Her journey of helping dogs if for eternity. She is fully aware of the hardships and is mentally prepared to overcome any obstacles. If you would like to contribute to make the lives of the dog’s she helps a bit better, you can donate via Paytm on 8700380272. You can also reach out to her instagram page as well here - https://www.instagram.com/p/B5h248uHYYH/