Poverty and struggles do not stop this Mumbai cobbler from taking care of stray dogsHema Vaishnavi
Even the municipality leaves behind dogs with Manoj Purbhe, a cobbler from Mumbai.
Manoj Purbhe, a 46-year-old cobbler, is a resident of Karave Gaon, located on the outskirts of Nerul, Mumbai. Manoj, who has been running a shoe repair shop for the past 15 years now, is known for his love for the dogs in his locality.
His canine friends in his neighbourhood have become part of his family now.
The savior of stray dogs
Manoj has been taking care of stray dogs in his neighbourhood for almost 10 years now. It all began with nine-year-old Julie and seven-year-old Moti, who were seen wandering around Manoj from the time they were puppies. Manoj now takes care of more than 15 dogs in the area, which includes Moti and Julie’s offsprings.
While each dog has its own story, Moti’s story is particularly moving. He was blinded at the age of two by two drunken men who threw acid in his eyes. Manoj found Moti in the gutter wailing with a lot of pain. Since then, he has taken of Moti’s treatment.
Although dogs from other areas come by his place for food and shelter, he shares a strong bond with each one of them. The Municipality officials, who were very much aware of Manoj’s work, purposely left a dog named Raani outside his shop. This incident is an example of how Manoj’s love for dogs has spread far and wide.
Campaign for Manoj’s dogs
Manoj provides exceptional care for the dogs. He provides them with from food, water, and even medical supplies. He even gets the dogs vaccinated from time to time and also gets them neutered.
Manoj’s love for dogs hasn’t gone unnoticed by the residents of Mumbai. He has been getting help and support from his community and the municipality as well. Manoj receives help from the community, often in the form of biscuits, milk, and meat for the dogs. Regular customers check on him and ask him if he needs any support. Bhumi Jeevdaaya Samvardhan Trust, an NGO that takes care of stray animals and birds, has been providing Manoj with medical help for the dogs. Manoj is also associated with the Navi Mumbai Animal Protection Cell (NMAPC) and Arati Chauhan, an activist who has been working closely with him and supporting his cause.
Manoj has been managing everything on own with his meagre earnings. He is now facing a major setback in terms of utilities and funds needed to feed the dogs and take care of himself. Although he occasionally gets help from well-wishers, Manoj is facing a hard time, especially after demonetisation.
Andrew Sabu, a 20-year-old resident of the neighbourhood, has decided to help Manoj and has organised a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for Manoj and his dogs. Andrew, who interacted with Manoj, talks about his humble response to his questions on how he has been coping financially to achieve what he has over such a long period of time. Andrew says, “He said that he tries to manage from some means possible. For me, this very response was indicative enough to believe that Manoj is truly a genuine, humble, and extremely giving person. I went on to ask him a couple more questions about the source of his food, medical supplies, etc., and he spoke about the number of times he's had to struggle to meet the daily requirement of food for his dogs. He has taken several loans and has kept a lot of money pending in meat shops.”
Andrew says that the money raised from this project would be systematically used to provide food, water, medical supplies, etc.