Meet Chara Love, better known as ‘The Dog Lady of Bani Park’. Born in England, raised in Australia, and after spending years in Bali, she is now living in Jaipur since 2019. She is the true embodiment of ‘wanderlust’, which has led her to live a life full of adventures and diverse experiences.
Chara’s rebellious nature meant that she started making a living for herself from quite an early age. She found herself taking on secretarial jobs in various sectors, always seeking variety and change in her work life. Later, she completed a Social Work degree in Australia and worked towards providing counseling and psychotherapy to couples and individuals in government organizations and private practice. When it comes to her hobbies, Chara had interests as diverse as spinning, theatre and fitness.
However, it was her love for animals that truly became the defining aspect of her life. When she moved to Jaipur, she was unable to keep pets in her rented apartment. This led her to redirect her affection towards the street animals of the city. During the lockdown, she would feed as many as 70 dogs and puppies twice a day, and continues to feed around 40 of them even now. “During the lockdown, we regularly received food for animals from Raksha, a local NGO and that proved to be a great driver for the initiative”, tells Chara.
Chara’s affinity for animals can be traced back to her childhood, where she was surrounded by them. She spent a lot of time with her dogs, who were her constant companions. As she grew older, her interest turned towards rescuing dogs that were abandoned by their owners. Despite growing up on a farm where she consumed meat and milk, she later turned towards vegetarianism and veganism.
In 2019, Chara attended the Jaipur Literature Festival, where she met her current partner. Though he had never been a dog lover before, she was able to turn him into one. Together, they have been feeding dogs and puppes in the areas of Bani Park and Nehru Nagar. They also work towards rescuing those in abysmal conditions.
Feeding the dogs has not been without its challenges, however. “Some residents are averse to the idea of dogs being fed outside their homes or buildings, while others are afraid of the animals or simply dislike them”, tells Chara. She and her partner also face difficulty in procuring enough supplies, as the amount of donations in terms of money as well as food they receive has decreased since the lockdown. Additionally, she has to leave the country every three months to renew her visa, which means she has to find someone to feed the dogs when she’s away and sometimes that too involves paying someone to do the job.
When asked about how to solve these problems, Chara says: “The key lies in changing people’s perception of dogs as community animals.” By raising awareness about co-existence and the importance of treating street dogs with compassion, she hopes to create a better environment for these creatures that she holds so dear. “Since people have been noticing the work we do for the animals, many individuals have now started coming forward to donate generously”, tells Chara while highlighting the positive change that her work is bringing about.
Chara Love’s love for animals has touched the hearts of many. She is a true inspiration for anyone looking to make a positive change in their community, and her dedication to the cause is something that we should all strive to emulate.
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