Every crazy dog person dreams of living on a huge farm somewhere with loads of dogs. But one man looks after a whopping 735 dogs. That’s probably a lot more than most people can imagine looking after. Rakesh Shukla , software engineer in Southern India looks after all these dogs on his three and a half acre farm.
He hasn’t bought all these dogs, they are all rescue dogs in need, strays or dogs whose owners can no longer look after them. Shukla recently took on 22 pedigree dogs after their businessman owner died.
But it’s not all pedigrees at his property, in fact, along with plenty of golden retrievers, labs and even great danes, he has a lot of mixed breed dogs. He says, “I’m the last stop for these dogs. They are no longer cute and cuddly. Many are sick and no longer wanted.”
Can you imagine waking up to that many dogs every single day? It’s hard work taking care of one or two dogs, let alone 735. Mr Shukla founded a software company with his wife around a decade ago, but these days he spends three or four days a week tending to his pooches.
What is interesting about his story is that he found money and success in his business, but eventually decided that this lifestyle was not enough. He wanted something more. His life changed when fate made him cross paths with a golden retriever in need. He bought home Kavya, a 45-day old retriever, and from that moment on, he knew what his purpose in life should be. His next rescue came three months after this, when he brought home another dog, Lucky.
After bringing home these two pooches, whenever he saw a stray dog or a canine in need, he brought it home, and started to make space for more and more dogs. At first his wife protested, but eventually she gave in and they have been collecting rescue dogs ever since.
How does he look after that many dogs?
Well, thankfully he is able to employ ten people on his farm, which means he has a helping hand when it comes to looking after hundreds of dogs. Plus, some of these staff are trained vets, so they can help any dogs that fall unwell or get injured.
It’s not surprising that these dogs get through a huge amount of food, collectively they eat 200kg of chicken and 200kg of rice a day. Now that’s an expensive dog food bill! He also needed more space for his huge dog pack, so in 2009 he bought some land in Doddballapur town, and turned it into a sanctuary for all his dogs. The dogs are fenced in to keep them safe on the property and there’s plenty of space and even ponds to play and swim in.
Some of his dogs come to the farm with health issues and need a lot of medicines to nurse them back to health. One of his dogs, an adorable St Bernard, has an ongoing kidney problem and has to have daily drips in order to stay alive. He also has quite a few dogs with disabilities and three legged pooches roaming his farm. You might wonder just how much all this costs? The daily costs works out between £532 and £592!
Despite all his hard work and passion for the dogs, his project has caused some issues with locals and animal activists. His situation begs the question, can you adequately look after that many dogs? Animal activists have tried to get access onto the farm to see the dogs, and some complaints about creating public unrest have come to light.
Whether or not he should be doing what he’s doing is debatable, but it appears his intentions to try and help dogs in need are clear. Do you think it’s possible to properly look after over 700 dogs with ten staff and one man funding everything?