Delhi-based Simmy Malhotra lives with 37 dogs in her two-storied apartment in the city and tends to their needs as a doting mother.
Delhi-based Simmy Malhotra inherited her love for animals from her parents. Most children have disapproving parents of their love of furry friends but Simmy had it different. Her father would drop injured birds to hospitals and her mother ran after wounded dogs. After her mother passed away in 1992 and father also soon left the world, she was left not all alone, but in the company of possibly the truest friends of a man.
Talking to her is an eye opening experience about our own lives. She speaks with bundles of energy and new-found enthusiasm as if she discovered life only yesterday. Her unconditional love for the 37 dogs she is living with in her home, becomes quite apparent when you meet her. Like a doting mother, she worries about them and also tends to their needs.
“This one needs a bandage, that one needs constant support because of paralysis and this one has distemper,” she talks and tends to them in the same breath, and has made multitasking her forte. “I wish I had 24 hands and 48 hours in a day.” Living in a two-and-a-half storied house, possibly her only possession, she spends the entire day in taking care of dogs that no one else would probably even touch. “Sometimes I bring home dogs that have no hope, I tend to them so that they can pass away in peace and feeling cared for,” she says.
“It is sad. People opt for foreign pedigreed breeds when we have so many beautiful Indian dogs that can be given homes. And then they leave those foreign breeds if they are unable to take care of them. People tie their dogs in front of my gate and disappear,” she adds.
Simmy learnt to take care of the animals hands on. Travelling, doing odd jobs with little or no support, she had to manage it all by herself. Friends slowly started pitching in small amounts and that’s what keeps her going. “I had to give up my job at Dell because my health started to suffer. I was working through the night, taking care of dogs by the day. I could not find a house help either, no one seemed to care for the dogs like I did. They would get bored, find it too dirty and would walk out in few days. So I am the one man army,” she quips with a twinkle in her eyes.
“Flow of money has always been an issue. I do not have big contacts. I do not know foreigners. So the struggle is perennial. But I have good friends who always have been there for me,” she adds.
Simmy was nominated by someone she knew closely for the Godfrey Phillips Bravery National Awards, 2013 and was among the finalists. This recognition in the national media brought out some financial respite as well.
“I really want to have my own open space where my kids can roam freely. I am looking for a home in the NCR region in Delhi and I hope it works out soon,” she shares. If god has a dog and he is listening to Simmy’s plea, we hope her wishes will come true soon.