Meet this man who has been celebrating Kukur Tihar in a different way

People often express a lot of love for their dogs at home. Their love reaches the highest point on the day of Kukur Tihar, the second day of the five-day Tihar festival.

However, the puppies which do not have homes are often beaten and treated like garbage. When people say that a dog is a man’s best friend, many don’t mean it and that is Andeep Acharya felt when he saw an injured dog on his way from the Kathmandu airport last year.

When Acharya, a restaurant owner and a Harley Davidson enthusiast from the UK, noticed an injured dog on the road in Kathmandu, he wanted to help the dog. But unaware of how to help it, he drove past. But the thought about the helpless dog kept him up all night. After asking around, he found out about animal shelters in Nepal; but people told him that these shelters weren’t effective due to lack of funds.

Exciting achievement in the very first year

Acharya, who has been involved in charity work for seven years, decided to help these dogs. “I’ve been doing a lot of charity work,” shares Acharya, who adds that he got this inspiration from his mother, who is a lifetime volunteer at Bir Hospital. “The manner in which she took care of the poor people and sent them back home was quite inspiring.”

“What I noticed was people can say that they are hurt, they can say that they are hungry. But dogs can’t. These poor souls don’t have a voice, which is why I decided to raise money and help the street dogs in the Valley.”

Therefore, he decided to organise a charity event on the occasion of Kukur Tihar in 2017.

After some research, he found out that there were a lot of animal shelters in Kathmandu but he also found out that these places don’t have enough money to sustain themselves. Then he decided to give these shelters money.”I was ready to give Rs. 50,000, but then I thought why not raise a little more so more dogs would benefit,” he adds.

A biker by hobby, he contacted other biker friends both in Nepal and in the UK who then decided to chip in. “I was just looking to double what I had put in, but shockingly we raised Rs. 300,000 for which I would like to thank my generous friends.”

He had decided to raise the money for one single organisation, but having raised more than expected, he thought that giving it to two organisation would be better. “Last year, we gave the funds to two shelters, Animal Nepal in Chobhar and another organisation in Tokha.

Bullet riders feeding street dogs on the occasion of Kukur Tihar.

This year’s plan

Both organisations were really grateful for his works, which helped a lot of dogs around the area. And this year, he’s doing it again.

“This is how I celebrate Kukur Tihar. I feel this is how it should be celebrated. These dogs who don’t have a home need to be just as loved as the pets in our homes.”

A street dog being treated. Courtesy: Animal Nepal

Like last year, Acharya says that he has raised nearly 300,000 this year. He will be giving to Shree’s Animal Rescue Nepal in Nagdaha of Lalitpur. “Srijana Didi [founder of the rescue centre] has been doing a lot for these dogs. I’ve been following what she’s been doing on a regular basis. I haven’t seen anyone doing so much for these dogs which is why I feel giving it to just her organisation is the right thing to do,” adds Acharya.

He says that the money will be used to take care of wounded dogs and will also implement animal birth control (ABC) to stop the population of street dogs from multiplying. “I don’t want people killing these dogs for no reason. I want to create a platform that will help these dogs find new owners.”

Festivity with fun

This year, he wants to do it professionally, which is why he’s also hosting a bullet bike rally which will go up to Shree’s Animal Rescue and donate the money. “My biker friends are like a family. This rally will be of great help because people will surely notice us and ask us what we are doing. This, I hope, will help us raise awareness,” he shares hoping more people would join his noble cause.

Bike rally being hosted to generate awareness.

Acharya hopes this is just the start of something grand. “I’ve been doing this for two years now and I will continue to do so. With this, if I can change the mind of one person or help adopt one dog or even save the life of one dog, I will have done my job.”

He shares that by doing this, he doesn’t hope for anything. “This gives me satisfaction. I’m sure Srijana Didi will spend the money wisely.”

Following his footsteps, bullet riders in Chitwan have also raised money for dogs. “It might not be much, but the boys have raised Rs 25,000 which will surely help the shelters in the area. It’s just a start and I hope everyone can join in one day and help save stray dogs not just in Nepal, but the entire world.”

From the archive.

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Pant is a journalist currently working for Onlinekhabar. He writes on movies and music, travel and mountains, and culture among others.

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