Everything Sneha Shrestha does is for the animals. She doesn’t like to put herself at the center of attention – and still does it for a good cause. By her mid-thirties, she was able to save numerous lives, change opinions – and even change laws.
Their animal shelter is now the largest in Nepal. And Sneha keeps fighting, giving a voice to those who have no voice. Seven days a week she gives everything to protect the animals. For a future in which everyone can live peacefully.
Here she gives us a little insight into her life.
Let’s go back a few years. The idea for Sneha’s Care came about when neighbors poisoned your dog. How did that change your thinking and what steps followed?
After my dog was poisoned, I started thinking about all the dogs on the street and their lives. I asked myself, “If even my sheltered pet can be poisoned, what happens to all the defenseless animals?” I couldn’t stop thinking about it. And so I started feeding and looking after the dogs on the street. I started rescuing many injured dogs on the street and took them to the vet. That was still relatively easy, but where should you stay during your treatment? This question prompted me to open my own animal shelter for these animals. It has now become the largest animal shelter in Nepal.
Many people have big dreams that often never come true. How did you find the courage to realize your plan?
To dream and to do things are actually two very different things. It was never my dream to open an animal shelter, but the day I started helping the animals in need, the home was their need, not mine. I would do anything to bring her home and be there for her. I sold my house to build theirs.
What does a typical day in your life look like, or is every day different?
I have a pretty regular everyday life. Nine dogs live in my house. I start my day with dogs and end it with dogs. During the day I go to my animal shelter, do educational work on the subject of animal welfare and am in my office in Thamel.
How do the people in your city react to your work? Does it change the way they treat animals?
In 2015, I rarely saw people posting about animals on Facebook. When I started my Facebook page and started reporting on stray animals and posting their photos, people admired my work and now I have 130,000 people following me. Since then, there have been many groups on Facebook that campaign for animals. I think that this will gradually change people’s attitudes towards animals to the positive.
Do you have a tip for us on how we can continue even after bad experiences and suffering?
We should never stop campaigning for animals. If we are a role model for the world and move doubting people to rethink, then one day the suffering will end.
Has working with animals and all your experiences changed you?
Yes, that changed me a lot. For my family and me, meat was the tastiest food ever. Then I started thinking about the life of “farm animals” while I was cooking them. I thought if I love dogs and take care of them, why don’t I treat all animals this way. Because all living beings are the same and feel pain. Why are some animals killed for eating? I stopped eating meat and became a vegan. Now I enjoy my meals even though meat is no longer in my diet. We should value all animals equally and give them their lives. There is just no longer any need to eat meat and delicious taste is never enough.
As an expert, do you have any specific advice on how to deal with traumatized animals?
What are your plans for the future of Sneha’s Care ?
We want to cover the whole country with our program and not just stay in the Kathmandu Valley. So we want to help more and more animals and change people’s attitudes.
What was the best experience that your work brought you?
The most wonderful experience my job has brought is true satisfaction. Helping animals is so fulfilling to me. I used to party a lot, get around a lot, but I found real happiness in helping the animals.