In New Delhi, India, an elderly woman is making a difference in the care of stray dogs around her tiny, poor village. Pratima Devi has earned the title “Dog Lady of New Delhi,” a title for which she is very proud.
The sixty-five-year-old woman left her native village to start over in life. She found shanty, run-down shed and turned it into her home. She opened a tea stand and made tea for a living. At that time, she only had a couple of dogs. Those dogs went on to have puppies, and soon she was surrounded by a lot of dogs. Eventually, Devi came to care for over four hundred strays in her community.
One hundred and fifty of those strays live with and around Devi’s shed. She calls caring for the dogs her religion. Devi is surprised people judge her. She feels she should inspire people to want to help more dogs like the strays around her village.
A storm destroyed Pratima’s tea stall, and she went four days without eating and collected scraps from trash bins to feed the dogs. She then started earning money by collecting recyclables. Making an average of 150 rupees a day, which translates to just $2.24, Devi still managed to care for every single dog. She feeds them, keeps them clean, and has them vaccinated.
Devi eventually rebuilt her tea stall and started receiving donations in the form of food, milk, and money from the local villagers. One of her neighbors, an eighteen-year-old young man named Virek, helps with caring for the dogs. For two years he has woken early to feed the dogs.
Pratima has a family in her native village, but she is happier living with the dogs. She is concerned about getting older and worries who will care for the dogs after she is gone. Devi is an inspiration to many for the love and care she gives to these stray dogs.
Here’s a video clip of her story: