Ranjeet Nath, 58, is feeding about 250 stray dogs every day in the western Indian city of Nagpur, 844 kilometers (524 miles) east of the country’s commercial capital Mumbai.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency on eve of International Homeless Animals Day, which is being observed on Saturday, Nath, an astrologer by profession, said he treats stray animals as his children.
“I treat them like my children. I am a spiritual person and believe that if I feed these stray animals then they will pray for me,” he said.
Nath, who has earned the nickname "dog man" said that he has reserved a part of his income to buy 200 kilograms (441 pounds) of rice for feeding cows and 900 kg (1,984 lbs.) of rice to feed dogs along with meat, every month. Every day, Nath can be seen moving around the city with several plates of food to feed dogs.
Nath said that it all began when he saw a dog starving and fed him with biscuits. “After that, I fell in love with dogs and started preparing food for them every day,” he said.
While he gets donations from some people, but a large part of the money is drawn from his income, which he earns by practicing fortune-telling through the study of the palms of people.
“The basic food of a dog is meat as it is a carnivorous animal. But many people are unable to feed dogs a non-vegetarian diet due to different reasons, although they wish to do so. So they give us money, and we use it to feed them,” said Nath.
He begins the day to attend to his customers and then visits chicken and mutton shops to buy leftovers, bones, and other material for 40 rupees ($0.60) a kilo. He mixes it with rice and prepares dishes for the dogs. He has two refrigerators in his home where he stores the food before feeding it to the dogs.
This May, people sent him donations to feed dogs during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Nath's wife Jayshree said that she supports her husband in this work. “Whatever he is doing is religious and humanitarian work. But sometimes people tell Ranjeet not to feed dogs in their areas,” she told Anadolu Agency.
Nath said he does not argue with people, who oppose his work but instead leaves the place quietly.
“It's my daily work and I want to do it peacefully. I can't continue if I start arguing with people,” he said./aa