By Mrunmayee Padmagirwar

In the words of Anatole France,”Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” Ms.Purabi Patra, who left her stable teaching job to dedicate her life towards animal welfare and rescue, is clearly from the same school of thought. Now, she runs a small animal rescue and welfare shelter in Patrapada, away from the hustle and bustle of the city where she takes care of dogs and cats that are abandoned and abused. She has also received appreciation from the renowned social activist Mrs. Maneka Gandhi, for her work. Purabi shared her journey and her love for animals with ‘Coffee Bytes’.

Tell us more about your work at Animal Welfare Trust Ekamra (AWTE)?

At AWTE, we rescue, adopt and nurse animals who have been neglected or abandoned in a bad condition. After adopting them, we take utmost care and give them the love, which they deserve. Not only that, we educate people about animal rights and work towards prevention of animal cruelty. Our aim is to create an environment for them, where rescue will not be needed in the first place, a world where people love animals as much as they love humans. Today rescue is needed because they are being hit, run over and abused in an alarming manner.

How did your journey start?

Well, since childhood I have had a strong affinity towards animals. I used to get immense pleasure, playing with them. As I grew up, the love multiplied and I felt the urge to do something for these mute, yet adorable animals. Hence, AWTE came into existence.

How was your life before AWTE?

I was working as an assistant professor in New Delhi for a couple of years. Post my MBA, I had a decent job going for myself. It was the same mundane work and my heart yearned to do something for animals. I left my job at New Delhi in December 2015, came back to Bhubaneshwar and started AWTE.

What are the challenges that you face, while taking care of these animals?

A major challenge that we face is the lack of volunteers and sponsors. We also do need work force and people who are sensitive towards animals to help us with this cause

How has your experience been as an animal rescuer?

It has been a mixed experience so far. There have been moments of pure joy and there have been moments when I have been depressed. When one of my pets recovers it is a feeling that I cannot describe in words, or when one of them gets adopted, the bittersweet joy can only be experienced or related to by parents.

When not with your four legged friends, what are your other hobbies and leisure activities that you keep yourself busy with?

I am very active on social media, spreading awareness about our welfare programme and I love to paint and sing.

A life lesson that your job has taught you?

Most people live for themselves, there are very few people who do something for others selflessly. And for me giving my life to these animals has been more rewarding than anything else in this world. It is a feeling beyond words.

How did your family react to this decision of opening an animal rescue shelter?

It was very difficult to convince them in the first place. Well, it was a big decision since I was quitting my job. My father and elder brother were not very positive towards my move but my mother supported me all through the journey and now, even she is a part of our small team at AWTE.

Tell us about the special bond you share with your animals?

They are like my kids. I have rescued some of them when they were pups, had barely opened their eyes. My whole world revolves around them and so does theirs’.

Any message for our readers that you would like to send?

We just want your support in any form possible. Encourage us, even by volunteering at our shelter for a day because even your time is a precious donation for us. Love animals and experience their love.

If you want to get in touch to make a difference, contact: Purabi Patra – 09910210797 Location: Animal Welfare Trust Ekamra

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