Sneha Shrestha is the Founder of Sneha’s Care, an animal welfare centre established in 2014 and designated as an NGO in 2015. She started helping needy street animals after her own dog was poisoned. Shrestha has been working particularly for the welfare of stray and community dogs ever since. Sneha’s Care can provide shelter for 300 dogs and also features a clinic. Assisted by its five member board of trustees, Sneha’s Care has proved to be one of the largest animal rescue programs in Nepal in a very short span of time. The centre provides medical and humane treatment to injured, sick and abandoned dogs and other street animals in its animal shelter. It also works to raise awareness on animal welfare and towards introducing animal welfare laws in Nepal.
In this edition of Business 36o, Sneha Shrestha talks about the five things that have impacted her work and life:
My husband turned me into a pet lover.
One day my husband brought two dogs home from one of the kennel clubs in Kathmandu. I was never an animal lover and had never agreed to have a pet dog. On his insistence, I allowed him to bring one dog as a pet but then he brought two. I was mad at him and asked him to keep the dogs in the garage and to not let them in. It was winter and one of the dogs died because of a disease called ‘Parvo Virus’. I blamed myself for it.The kennel club had a refund offer but instead of taking the money back, I decided to keep another puppy of the same breed. After a few months, we decided to buy another dog and later brought a fourth one from the kennel club.
The biggest loss of my life was the biggest gain.
One of the dogs Zara used to wait for me at the gate all day. She used to wag her tail as she saw me return home. She was the reason I used to wake up early as it was my duty to take her on a walk for at least an hour every day. We were very fond of each other. One day Zara did not come to greet me even though I had come back home. Instead, she was lying on her bed with blood all over. I tried everything I could to save her life but to no avail. She was poisoned by our neighbour. I did the 13 day rituals. I was traumatised by her death which later turned into me worrying about dogs on the streets and their life. Their poor state haunted me. I started feeding and taking care of street dogs since then. Later I established Sneha’s Care.
The pain turned me into a vegan.
Every time I cooked meat at home, I started seeing live goats and chickens. I started thinking that if I love dogs and care for them, how can I eat other animals. I stopped eating meat and converted into a vegan.
My father was my best friend. He had been paralysed for 17 years and left the world in 2017. He wanted to live more even though he was constrained to the bed. He always desired to live more and wanted to walk one day. Because of him, I started taking in paralysed dogs in the shelter. Sneha’s Care is a no-kill shelter where all animals get a second chance. Keeping handicapped dogs in the shelter is not recommended but because of my dad, I could not put them to sleep and now there are more than 20 handicapped dogs living here. Each has its own wheel cart, they run faster than normal dogs and are so playful. Every single dog has been given a fighting chance to live in my shelter and this is because of my father.
My supporters and followers motivate me to work more for animal welfare. I have more than 113k followers on my Facebook page and they write to Sneha’s Care on a daily basis. Cruelty against animals is reported by them on Facebook. They report and our team goes for the treatment and brings them to the shelter if needed. Students visit my shelter and volunteer as well. They also donate their pocket money and sometimes they bring food for the dogs and take the dogs on walks. Today’s children are tomorrow’s change-makers and it gives me immense pleasure seeing them visit my shelter. It always motivates us to do more when people talk about animals.