One of the greatest things man can do is protect and care for the fellow beings who cannot speak or express themselves as we do – animals. They are intelligent, they are sensitive, and most of all, they love us unconditionally. They just lack the power of speech – and that’s what makes it all the more essential for us humans to stand up for them and become their voice.
This is what Zabi Khan from Hyderabad has set out to do. The 19-year-old boy has been in love with dogs as long as he can remember and that love is what drove him to found ‘A Place To Bark’ – an NGO that caters to abandoned animals.
Zabi had always longed to have a dog. And as fate would have it, he met his first pet when he was 14 years old – a German Shepherd puppy abandoned on the side of the road: He said, “I was desperate to have a dog of my own then, so when the shopkeeper nearby told me the puppy had been left by a family who then drove away, I couldn’t just leave him there. I named him ‘Casanova’.”
Unfortunately, Casanova fell terribly ill within 3 days of bringing him home. When they rushed him to the vet, they were told that the pup had a severe case of Canine Parvovirus, and it was already too late. The infection had weakened Casanova’s immune system and he didn’t make it. It was at that moment that heartbroken Zabi decided that he will not let any other animal suffer the same fate as his beloved Casanova.
Khan started volunteering at animal welfare and rescue NGOs in Hyderabad. It was then that he realized his purpose: “In Hyderabad, there are not many NGOs for animal protection and that is the reason I always wanted to start an animal shelter for all the sick animals so that I could rescue them, rehabilitate them and a find a safe home for them. This is my vision.”
With a little support from his family, Khan launched his own NGO in Tolichowki in 2014, A Place To Bark.
But the 19-year-old engineering student found managing studies and looking after his NGO increasingly challenging so he came up with a brilliant idea – bringing the shelter to his university.
Khan succesfuly got his school on board with his idea after presenting his vision. Since then, KG Reddy College of Engineering & Technology, has welcomed abandoned animals with open arms onto its campus.
The college shelter is home to dogs, turkeys, ducks, chickens, and rabbits. There are cages for the animals where they can sleep peacefully at night, but during the day they are free to roam around the campus.
He actively conducts online and offline drives to encourage people to adopt rescued animals, especially native breeds, and to take care of their pets when they need them the most. Though Zabi funds the expenses for food, care, and treatment for these animals through his own pocket, volunteers from his college and college authorities also make contributions from time to time.
So far, Khan’s NGO has rescued more than 500 abandoned and abused animals.
Safety and well-being is at the top of this young engineering student’s list. Khan goes the extra mile when it comes to adoption procedures. Khan mentions: “These animals have been abandoned or mistreated once already. It takes time for them to heal emotionally also, and we want to ensure that they don’t go through the trauma again. Hence the checks.”
Those who wish to adopt an animal must first fill out a questionnaire. Volunteer staff then assess the questionnaire to determine eligibility, and if that proves satisfactory, they perform a check on the residence and environment of the prospective family before finalizing the adoption.
During an adoption drive at Numaish, 28 desi pups were adopted in one day! Khan himself has 8 desi dogs at his home and he couldn’t be happier to save these innocent lives and provide hope to them once again.
Because of his good work, many puppies are getting a new shot at life. Thank you Zabi for this wonderful work!