Mumbai: Meet the head constable who's a stray's best friend
Pramod Nikam hasn't been able to save up to buy a house as he has been taking care of 35 strays in Naigaon
Every time 54-year-old Pramod Nikam reaches his official quarters at Tagore Nagar, Vikhroli East, on his bike, he is welcomed by canine escorts barking nineteen to the dozen.
Head constable Nikam, posted in the Local Arms division, Naigaon, looks after at least 35 stray dogs near his house, and even has three pet dogs. Nikam's love for animals comes from his parents and he also had a pet dog. He said, "In 1992, my sister's husband brought a one-month-old Pomeranian pup. But my sister was very scared of it, so I raised it. " He added, "I love stray dogs and feel people must look after them."
'Dogs come first'
Everyday, Nikam fetches about 10-15 litres of milk and around 2 kg biscuits for the dogs at 6 am. He also brings them chicken. He says initially he purchased it, now the shop keepers keep it for him.
"Feeding the dogs milk, biscuits and chicken every day definitely puts a strain on our monthly expenses, but we would rather spend on them then go for a picnic or to a restaurant. We spend approximately Rs 5,000 – Rs 6,000 every month on them. It's been 25 years since we have gone out as a family, so that our dogs don't suffer," added Vanita, his wife proudly.
Nikam's children have also taken after him. "We have grown up in this environment. When we used to find injured or ill stray dogs, me and my sister used to tell father about it. We also began to take care of stray dogs and cats," said Ajinkya, Nikam's son. Everyone in the family has been bitten by dogs, but that has not deterred them.
In his 26 years of service, Nikam was posted at various police stations, and he made furry friends in all those places. "Even today if I go to Vikhroli or Sakinaka police stations or the DG office, the stray dogs around recognise me," he says proudly.
Nikam's love for dogs also seems to be infectious. "I was very irritated by dogs. But Nikam taught me to understand them. I have now adopted a stray dog," said Ganesh Acharya, a resident of Tagore Nagar. Despite the financial constraints, Nikam is determined to look after strays. He said, "Had I saved the money I have been spending on stray dogs, I would have bought a house. I'll retire in few years, but don't have a house of my own. But I will continue to make people look after stray dogs."
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