Inside the “Paradise”, which houses more than 430 animals recovered from the Karjat of Maharashtra

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Days usually start early at Roxanne Devrus Animal Shelter in Karjat, Maharashtra. After all, caring for over 400 animals is no easy task. Roxanne’s “Paradise” is home to 431 animals including 250 dogs, 162 cats, eight ponies, two horses, a cow and a pig, reported The Better India. The number of invited animals is increasing almost daily as more and more rescued animals are brought here from Mumbai and Pune. Roxanne and her staff take care of food, medication, and care for every animal at her “Paradise” animal shelter. Their hectic routine will have you wondering if they have overtime in their day.

But how did it all start? Well the story goes back to the early ’60s when Roxanne was a little girl. Growing up in a Parsi family, animals have always been a way of life in Roxanne’s life. She often saw her father Murzban Davur bringing home injured street dogs and giving them medical care himself. At one point, there were almost 50 dogs in her house and she, too, was taking care of them.

In 1963, Roxanne was sent to a rolling school and her family moved to Karjat. She took care of her life and worked in the airline industry for several years. However, her love for animals brought her back to caring for street animals. She quit her comfortable job in 2000 to found her animal shelter Terra Anima Trust in Ooty, Tamil Nadu. She ran the animal shelter for over 8 years until 2008 and was even named an “Honorary Animal Welfare Inspector” for the Nilgiris. She carried out several animal rescue operations in the area, but slowly her trust ran out of funds and was forced to close.

Roxanne has moved away from the shelter but her spirit is not dead. A few years later, she launched “Paradise” in 2011 with the help of Mumbai-based World For All, and the rest, as they say, is history. Currently, Roxanne has a staff of 14 to look after the animal shelter, but it is still a 60% shortfall for the number of animals that Paradise Houses. She believes that while they have come a long way from where they started, there is still a lot of work to be done. The plan for the near future is to build an additional cattery and a stable block.

But managing everything is not easy, Paradise has a monthly expense of Rs 4-6 lakhs. Roxanne has to constantly run fundraising campaigns, talk to companies to get CSR funds, and use social media to organize whatever resources she can.

While animal shelters contribute, the stray animal problem will not be resolved until we pass on the sense of compassion for animals to our future generations.

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