Everyday post midnight in Whitefield, 120 stray dogs wait eagerly for two angels – A man and a woman who visit them without fail in a car that is loaded with lots of food and treats.
Every night, these two angels make sure that not a single dog in Whitefield and around their complex has to go hungry. Those two angels are none other than Anil Prasad and Bismi Anil, an amazing couple out on an exceptional mission to feed many stray dogs in and around their complex.
Anil Prasad and Bismi Anil are both 40-year-olds and have taken this unique responsibility for creating a wonderful environment where the dogs and the residents of Whitefield co-exist peacefully. They both started this dog feeding program in spite of managing a full-time day job schedule in multinational companies.
Their humble story
“It all started with one dog. Around six years back, there came a stray dog with a dislocated hip to the lane where we live. It was very lean and used to drag itself on the road. We felt that it wouldn’t survive. At that time, our pet dog had a habit of wasting a lot of food. So we started giving some food to this dog as well,” remembers Anil.
With proper food, and the required medical care, the dog started to gain strength. Today, it is hale and hearty and continues to enjoy lovely meals provided by this couple.
While feeding this dog, the other dogs from other colonies started joining in for food and the couple did not stop them and started feeding them too.
“We slowly realized that this was making a lot of difference; both to the health of these dogs and the environment in the community as well. We saw that the welfare of the community animals benefits the community as a whole. So we continued,” says Anil
Ask him what are these benefits that motivated them to continue, 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”
In this process, Anil Prasad and Bilsmi have been able to convince people that well fed and sterilized dogs will not be a problem to the society and thus the residents can live with them without fear.
“Initially on my way to my office, near Whitefield Police Station, I would take a route that cuts through a village. There were many dogs there, but they were very scared of humans,” she says. The dogs looked hungry and unwell, and so Bismi started feeding them as well. However, the villagers didn’t take to her feeding the dogs, lightly. “They berated me and said that the dogs were unruly and harmful. But when I fed the dogs and petted them, they seemed calm. I told the villagers to treat them kindly and soon enough the villagers bonded with the dogs. For a safe living environment, it is important for people to bond with strays instead of fearing them,” points out Bismi.
Every morning six kilos of chicken and mutton, along with 15 kilograms of rice is cooked in Software Engineer Bismi Anil’s house. This feast is not for her two-legged acquaintances but for her four-legged furry friends.
However, feeding the dogs in the mornings became a challenge for Bismi. “Instead of taking just 15 minutes to reach the office, I started taking 45 minutes. Moreover, most of the conflict between humans and dogs occur when the latter is eating. The dogs don’t know when their next meal is coming and tend to be very protective of their food. To avoid this conflict we started feeding the dogs at night when there are fewer people on the roads,” says the 40-year-old.
Bismi and her husband load up the food in their car and leave around midnight to feed the dogs. In the next three hours, they travel 10 to 12 kilometers in Whitefield to feed almost 120 dogs. All food is served in biodegradable containers.
Bismi was also awarded the Annual CJ Memorial Community Guardian Award that recognizes the heroes in Animal Welfare and Rescue every year with a plaque and cash award. The award was initiated by Priya Chetty-Rajagopal, Business Consultant and an animal lover, in memory of her dog.
The duo wants to eradicate the concept of stray dogs. “We want to encourage every neighborhood to adopt the dogs in their area. The residents should feed the dogs, sterilize them, and take care of them. This will ensure that we have no more strays, just happy and healthy community dogs,” says the Changemaker.