“We don’t rescue animals, they rescue us!”
The heartwarming story of Kiran & Nithya
The Featured Couple
British Herald interviewed Kiran Prakash and Nithya to hear their heartwarming story of adding to their family, rescuing fur babies- big and small! While Nithya was always surrounded by animals growing up, Kiran took a while to understand his love for them. But at the end of the day, together, this married couple has saved the lives of many furry friends!
How It All Began
This story begins even before Kiran and Nithya met.
Back in 2011, Kiran lived in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia for work. Even though he never had a pet in his life, he was quite fond of animals. His only association with animals were birds- he ‘befriended’ pigeons, crows, roosters and fed them often.
Living alone in Jeddah, he reflects that he felt quite lonely and slowly began feeding a stray cat who used to come near where he lived every evening. It went on for a couple of months, but he noticed that the cat never let him touch it.
It all changed one day when Kiran tried to make a move to touch the cat and in fear, it ran across the street and got run over by an SUV, resulting in his immediate death.
This entire experience of giving in to his selfish need to touch this unnamed cat that he grew attached to riddled Kiran with guilt and pestered him for the longest time.
The First Fostering Experience
On his return to India in 2015, he got a call from a friend asking him to take care of an abandoned dog overnight. The dog was a bred Dalmation and was gravely wounded, hence would not be able to survive on the streets.
Kiran was sceptical since he didn’t have any previous experience of caring for dogs. But the overflowing guilt from the cat incident, he decided to volunteer his help.
The dog was dropped off to his place and his friend left for work. He left the dog inside his house’s balcony but was quickly disturbed by his incessant barking. In fear, Kiran opened the door to check on him and the dog rushed out and in no time, had answered nature’s calls. It was at this moment that Kiran was dumbstruck- he reflects on how the dog so clearly tried to communicate his needs to him and how he failed to pick up on its cues.
Kiran’s friend later requested him to keep the dog for a few more days since his condition was bad but she would drop in every once in a while to check up on him. In this time, Kiran had developed an attachment with the dog. He named the old dalmatian Bruno and he reminisces about how rescuing Bruno in chance circumstances is what gave him the motivation to rescue several other dogs during his time in Bangalore. He fostered many animals- a lot of the older dogs stayed on with him till they approached their last breath while the younger pups got adopted.
The Little Indian Pup That Changed Their Lives
This happened for a while and he soon returned to his hometown of Kerala. Over his course of time in Bangalore fostering pets, he got in touch with many wonderful people from animal welfare groups like Humanity for Animals, CUPA and CARE to name a few. One night, he received an SOS call from Humanity for Animals saying that there was a severely injured Indian stray pup who met with an accident, not far from where he lived. He went and found the pup and bystanders who witnessed the accident mentioned that a car had run over its back. He was presented with two options- to euthanise the animal or to wait and see if it would recover from it. The doctors recommended getting the pup euthanised but Kiran wanted to give the pup a fighting chance at life. He says that he felt like her innocent eyes reassured him that she wanted to continue to live.
While Kiran did take her home, he had to think of a way for her to get adopted since his parents were not comfortable with his decision of keeping a pet. The pup recovered from the trauma quite strong but was unable to walk. It was then that Kiran saw a post from a photographer on a welfare group online, offering to take pictures of babies and dogs. He reached out to her to help him take a few pictures of this Indian pup to put her up for adoption.
While the photographer was based in Mumbai, she did travel to Kochi where Kiran lived, on media projects and on one of these trips, took a few pictures of this pup. The pictures did the trick and a couple from the UK came forth to adopt her, who she lives with happily to this date.
After this was done, Kiran called Nithya again- this time it was not for photography, but to ask her out on coffee. Several coffees later, the two decided to tie the knot.
Rescuing Animals Together
After a few coffee dates, this animal-loving couple rescued a couple of cats and dogs together. Nithya says that when they both are together, they somehow end up seeing a lot of animals in distress, whether they’re on a run or just out in general, it seems to happen all the time. They happened to spot quite a few breeder-reject animals and female animals used as baby mills, in bad conditions. They willingly took them all in, gave them love and care until they were fostered or till they crossed the bridge happily. Kiran says if, given the chance, they would keep all of them.
They have encountered animals with different histories and with disparate temperaments and they might not be initially as receptive. However, Kiran says that with a little bit of patience, animals can always surprise you. With just a small show of love, affection, food, and water, they won’t take very long to get close to you. This transition, Nithya says, is elating and it is an incomparable feeling.
The couple speaks very fondly about a breeder-reject Labrador who seemed to have delivered several times. They named her Chloe- she was found wounded all over and it seemed like stray dogs were trying to be territorial and bit her to chase her away. The couple spotted her from their car and decided to take her to the vet. As soon as they opened the door to their car, Chloe hopped right in and sat on the seat like she knew and trusted them. They named her overnight and she became responsive to their calls from the very next day! They say it seemed like Chloe understood their language and they did not even have to put her on a leash, she was so well-behaved. Nithya says that for Chloe, Kiran was her world. After being diagnosed with a large uterine mass, she underwent surgery (given 50:50 odds for survival) for its removal. She successfully went through the surgery but not long after, crossed over, surrounded by people she loved.
They once even found a wounded cat and took him back home hoping to foster, but they ended up keeping him and naming him Monkey. Monkey, the cat, still lives with Kiran and Nithya in their house in Kochi.
Before putting any of their foster pets up for adoption, Kiran and Nithya always have a heartbreaking conversation on if they should actually do it. It is a tough decision to make.
They still continue to keep their eyes out (and their hearts open) for animals in distress…