In the heart of Delhi’s New Friends Colony lives Divya Puri, 36, an auditor by profession and an animal rescuer by passion. She has been feeding strays since 2012, even during the COVID-induced lockdown when people couldn’t leave their homes.
Divya tells us how it all started, with the tragic loss of her father. “Unfortunately about 9 years ago I lost my dad to cancer after we started feeding more animals to get out of the void he had left. was his way of dealing with grief.”
It was then that she co-founded the Karan Puri Foundation, which bears the name of her father. “The foundation was an effort of my mother because she was my father’s primary caregiver and after he passed away she went through a difficult phase in life, it was her way of dealing with grief. We slowly increased our feeding capacity.”
But tragedy struck Divya a second time. Divya and her mother were both hit by COVID during the second deadly wave. Admitted to two separate hospitals and after 13 days battling COVID in intensive care, Divya lost her mother.
“Even on the hospital bed, she kept asking -“khana gaya kutto ko? (Have the dogs been fed?) Just call the staff and check if the food is cooked or not. She started to deteriorate and until the end she was really worried that the diet would continue.”
Today, the Karan Puri Foundation prepares 75 kg of rice and 45 kg of chicken, feeding at least 400 stray animals every day, to ensure that no stray animal is left without food within a 5 km radius.
At a time when the whole country was locked down, Divya and her mother traveled up and down Delhi to rescue and feed stray animals. It is this compassion that Divya remembers today when she thinks of her mother – the caring soul who cared about the lives and rights of animals who have nowhere to go.
Divya lost her parents, one to cancer, the other to Covid, but she decided to continue their legacy of kindness by caring for and feeding stray animals. Heroes like Divya set an example for everyone: even if you have nothing, there is something to give back to society.