Saturday, April 1

Care in the time of Corona: This pet groomer in Kolkata is providing food, medicines to the elderly, free of cost

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At least 341,000 people have contracted the novel Coronavirus and over 14,700 have died globally, while over 750 million people across India will be affected as the country has been placed under travel, work and movement restrictions until March 31. Even amidst this despair, there are a few good samaritans who are trying their best to bring positivity to people’s lives and help them in this hour of dire need. One such person is this 28-year-old animal lover from Kolkata, who is helping the elderly by providing them with a free supply of everyday essentials.

Kashika Arora has her own pet grooming centre and clinic Kashika’s Pampered Paws in 2012, located in Kasba (South Kolkata). “In my complex and around the neighbourhood there are a lot of people who stay abroad and are unable to reach India due to the lockdown in several countries across the world leading to the cancellation of flights. Also, some do not have the privilege of working form home or even have holidays — or are working outside and unable to come here. So, my friends and I in and around Kolkata are trying to help these people’s parents, relatives and other elderly people in the neighbourhoods, especially the ones that cannot step out of the house to acquire the basic everyday necessities from shops,” explains the 28-year-old.

Rice, dal, medicines, sanitary napkins, sanitisers are a few of the primary products that are required at a time like this. Kashika has already begun delivering supplies since March 22 as the city is under complete lockdown till March 27. “These elderly people will not be able to go out during the lockdown and they are unable to stockpile the basic necessities beforehand, so we are trying to help as much as we can,” she says.

Kashika has a team of six people, who are a part of her pet grooming centre. These workers have also offered their services in delivering the items to people’s houses. The staff stay with her in the same building. She has her own vehicle that is typically used to pick and drop pets, which will now be used to carry the supplies. Explaining how they are going about the entire process, she says, “My team and I checked on our neighbours first, who are older and are staying alone right now. My friends have also been looking around in the neighbourhoods. Then people began asking for her help over Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter,” she adds.

Kashika had posted about her initiative, asking people to seek help when in need, on her Facebook timeline on March 22. In less than 24 hours, she has received over 10 requests, which the team has already responded to. “We are calling the people up, asking them what they need and then we are going and delivering those,” she says.

The West Bengal government on Sunday announced that Kolkata and several areas across the state will be put under complete lockdown starting from 5 pm on Monday till March 27 in view of the COVID-19 outbreak. Three more people tested positive, taking the total number of Coronavirus cases in the state to seven. However, shops selling foodgrains, groceries, vegetable, fruits, meat, fish, bread and milk, medical services, home delivery, petrol pumps, pharmacies, the IT sector, banks and ATMs, and the media have been exempted from the purview of the lockdown.

Being an ardent animal lover and pet groomer for over 7 years now, the 28-year-old couldn’t stop at just helping people in need. She has been stocking up food for animals, which she is also delivering to people who have pets. She’s also been feeding the stray dogs in her area. “The strays won’t get the leftover food at this point as all the shops, fast food centres and restaurants are closed. On regular days the animals would get food from there. So, I am feeding them as well and providing supplies to friends who are also up for feeding strays in their neighbourhood,” she adds.

Her pet clinic is open for emergency services and treatment for animals, however, the grooming services remain stalled due to the outbreak. She has plans to continue doing this until the situation gets better. “We might receive more requests in the upcoming days as everything will be under lockdown. So, we have enough stock to suffice for now. We will decide what to do next depending on how the situation is across the state and country,” she concludes.


Source: The Indian Express

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