When a 14-year-old Zabi Khan, who is a huge dog lover, found an abandoned German Shepherd on the side of the road in Hyderabad, India, he didn’t just walk away. Zabi told NTD, “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’,” Zabi probably didn’t realize, thought was that meeting Casanova would alter his life forever.
Sadly, Casanova fell ill within the three days after Zabi brought him home. Rushing him to the vet, Zabi was told the puppy had a severe case of Canine Parvovirus and the infection had weakened Casanova’s immune system. The pup passed away but amidst the tragedy, Zabi promised that he wouldn’t let any other animal suffer like how Casanova did.
The teen began volunteering with local animal welfare and rescue organizations in Hyderabad. But then an idea struck him. “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,” Zabi told NTD.
With support from his family, Zabi amazingly launched his very own non-profit in 2014 called “A Place to Bark” in order to meet the need for abandoned animals who needed help. Now in college, Zabi was able to convince his college, KG Reddy College of Engineering and Technology, to welcome abandoned animals on campus.
Zabi also gives talks about the importance of adopting and taking care of pets. “People often buy exotic breeds to feed their egos and show off their status. But when the pets get sick, they leave them on the roads,” Zabi told Better India. He funds the expenses for food, care, and treatment himself, but many supporters donate money to the cause.
The animals are lucky to have you on their side, Zabi!
A Place to Bark now has about 50 volunteers who come from Zabi’s college and others around Hyderabad. The organization also holds adoption events, with one recently seeing 28 puppies adopted out in just one day to loving homes that were thoroughly screened. Amazing!
If you feel inspired after reading this story, you can make a difference in the lives of homeless animals just like Zabi simply by volunteering at your local animal shelter. Organizations rely heavily on volunteers to assist with animal care and day-to-day operations. There’s never a shortage of things to do and opportunities are available for people of every skill set. You can help take dogs for walks, give them food and water, and make sure their area is clean. If your preference is helping out behind the scenes, you can volunteer your services by assisting with fundraisers, outreach events or general office tasks. And please, always adopt and never shop!
Image source: Zabi Khan/Facebook