Rakesh Shukla who is now become quite famous and known as ‘Dog Father’ is actually a software engineer by profession. He takes care of over 700 stray dogs in Karnataka. Rakesh found his life‘s calling for taking care of dogs that no one looks after. His shelter is only open for dogs that do not have owners.
All the strays around the area love Rakesh and they jump here and there, yelping and barking with joy whenever they see him. He is a delight for these beautiful stray souls. He usually spends time in the shelter talking to his stray dogs, patting them, rubbing their ears and cuddling them.
His farmhouse shelter has a variety of breeds including abandoned Labradors, Golden Retrievers, Great Danes, Beagles, Dachshunds, Rottweilers, Saint Bernards, a pug and many indie breeds. There are hundreds of pooches too. Recently, 22 pedigree dogs were sheltered in his farmhouse as their owner was recently deceased.
Mr Shukla founded a software company along with his wife 10 years ago. Now he spends around 3 to 4 days per week on his farmhouse taking care of his stray buddies.
Here is what he had to say, “I had worked in Delhi, in the United States and then set up my own company in Bangalore,” he said. “Life was all about buying big cars and expensive watches and living a fancy life. I had travelled and seen the world many times over, but then I was not happy.”
A 45-days old Golden Retriever changed his life around. He instantly fell in love with her. His second dog was a rescue.
“It had been raining for 12-13 days, she was wet and miserable, so I brought her home too,” he said.
In the beginning, he started bringing home any stray dog he found on the road. But when his wife protested, he took them to office. He transformed the top floor of his office into a dog house.
By 2012, he had a large pack of dogs and the space wasn’t enough. He bought a land in Doddballapur town and set up his farm called “haven for dogs that are old, ailing or simply unwanted.”
He designed his farm house keeping in mind the comfort zone of the canines. There are lots of open spaces for playing, ponds to swim, and double fence to keep them safe.
“Every time we entered the farmhouse, a cacophony of barks greeted us,” said Rakesh.
Currently, his farm employs around 10 people that include some trained veterinary assistants who look after the dogs, cook food and feed them. Dogs are fed with around 200kg of chicken and approx. 200kg of rice daily. The sick ones are also provided with regular medical care and attention. The per day cost of running the farmhouse goes up to Rs. 50,000 according to Mr. Shukla, who provides around 93% of the funds.
He has faced many issues with animal activists regarding keeping so many dogs and creating public unrest. However, it doesn’t stop him from taking care of these dogs.
“I’ve made a pact with my dogs,” he said. “We will part only when one of us kicks the bucket.”
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