True hero: Man turns auto into ambulance for stray animals
- N Baskar runs his auto as an exclusive ambulance for animals
- He has rescued dogs, cats, crows and pigeons across Chennai
- The auto is named 'Help Voiceless'
N Baskar was an auto-rickshaw driver for six years. In 2018, he became a hero.
It all started with a distress call, he told The Better India in an interview. A dog had been hit by a vehicle, and no cabs or autos were willing to help take it to the hospital because of the bleeding.
“Without thinking twice, I left from my auto stand and went to pick up the injured dog, who was given timely help and rescued," Baskar said.
And then, there was no stopping. As word spread, he started receiving more calls for help. In the three years, the 42-year-old has rescued dogs, cats, crows and pigeons across Chennai, his place of residence. Today, he runs the auto as an exclusive ambulance for animals and calls it 'Help Voiceless'.
Before he started this service, he used to work as an on-call car driver to earn additional income, along with being an auto-driver. This is where he met volunteers who regularly fed and cared for stray dogs.
“Every evening, one of them would need a driver to take them from one area to another to feed stray dogs. Inspired by this, I started feeding 75 dogs in my area. I would set aside some money every week from my income to purchase rice and meat. My wife, who works as a cook, would prepare the food and I would distribute it across various streets surrounding my home,” he said.
He faced many challenges on the way, but his quest to help animals kept him going. Initially, he had been driving a rented auto. But when the owner refused permission to carry injured animals, Baskar decided to get his own vehicle.
"Seeing an injured puppy being denied help ignited a spark in me, and I wanted to dedicate my life to helping these voiceless beings. So, I applied for financial assistance to purchase an auto. I received only partial assistance, and invested Rs 40,000 from my savings and by borrowing money from some friends,” he said.
His auto has a cage for big dogs, a basket for puppies, a carrier for cats, and some kibble and some animal food and water.
“After working closely with stray animals, I have developed a special place in my heart for them and consider them my family. One time, I travelled more than 50 kilometers from the city to rescue a puppy who was very sick. He was infested with worms, did not have any bladder control, and was covered in dirt as he had been unable to move for days. But I knew he needed the same care as any human does, and rescued him without flinching. Finally, he was admitted to a hospital in the city,” he told The Better Indian.