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humans of leap — vrinda sharma
vrinda sharma is the founder of me and my human — a stray welfare foundation based out of faridabad.
vrinda sharma is the founder of me and my human — an animal welfare foundation based out of faridabad. this is her story.
“my love for dogs began very early. my parents were working professionals and i was the only child, and we moved from mumbai to jaipur when i was 6. i had a dog around my house who gave birth to 3 puppies, and i still feel like those were some of the best days of my life! coming back to their excited faces after school and playing with them was bliss — that’s when i realised that children don’t naturally differentiate between humans and animals.
as i grew up i realised that dogs weren’t treated well at all. there would be dead animals at the side of the road, and if i tried to do something about it, i’d be seen as dirty; doing degraded work. no one respected my want to take a dying dog to a hospital.
i never saw myself becoming the owner of a shelter–i used to do this on my own after my family moved to faridabad. i’d travel to delhi, book cabs and take ailing strays to have them treated. i’d invest my salary into caring for strays, and work with a nearby feeder bhaiya. soon, i even started getting calls from people who thought nearby dogs needed help!
but faridabad was a tough city to do this kind of work in. people didn’t care for animals, and looked down on those who did. harassment was rampant. you wouldn’t see many women around outside, let alone feeding animals and working a cause. lockdown made things even worse — i was physically & verbally harassed almost every day. even till recently, my staff and i were threatened by a man who said he’d shoot us because we were helping strays. i’d always have to watch my back, always being wary of people watching, wondering who might complain.
initially, i started me and my human as an anonymous instagram blog with about 50 followers. no one knew who i was, but i’d write and post because there was no one i could talk to around me about this kind of stuff. despite the small number, i’d be able to connect and talk about things that mattered! dog illnesses, care, and animal love in general. my followers slowly grew, and it attracted like-minded people from across the country! when i look back now, it’s so nice to see the numbers we’ve achieved: hundreds of dogs fed, taken care of, and healed from sickness. but it’s also the result of everyday, on-ground efforts.
as my instagram grew and i got recognition, i realised i had to do this more sustainably. i got my company registered, and began attracting volunteers from delhi, gurgaon and even mumbai and pune. despite the lows i experienced, this journey has shown me some amazing highs: volunteers now even feel confident in responding to harassers by taking my name and calling me!
i’ve come a long way from being that small, scared girl on the street to filing reports, sending notices and even managing a team!
today i have 3–4 team members who help with the foundation. we have a little shelter with 30–40 rescue dogs. we also have on-ground initiatives: feeding about 200 strays every day, sterilisation and vaccination twice a year, adoption camps, fests for animal lovers in the city, and more!
going forward, i want to move to a bigger shelter. i want to pioneer quality care for stray animals, something that this country majorly lacks. i’ve been fortunate to see change in the behaviour of the public towards animals, and appreciate the help and appreciation i’ve got.
i truly believe that how people respond to animal cruelty is how they respond to all kinds of cruelty: towards children, women and strangers as well. that’s what i strive to make better.”