I have loved animals since I was a kid. I would feed dogs whenever I could, often with my parents in the background fearing for my safety. When I was in 10th std, I came across a few orphaned puppies who were left to fend for themselves. I decided to take them home, and it turned out to be a turning point in my life. At the time, my family wasn’t open to the idea of having a large number of puppies at home, but after much consideration, I was allowed to keep them at home on one condition: that I score well in my board exams. I succeeded. As time passed, we brought in more and more dogs and over time, the number went up to around 250.

Gradually, my parents became less worried about my safety around dogs and warmed up to my mission.

As an architecture student, managing social work with studies has not been easy. But through my experiences, I have learned the skill of effective time management and structure. Throughout my journey, this field has taught me invaluable skills and lessons—especially having the strength to bear criticism. Initially, as an animal rescuer, I didn’t expect the hate I would receive for my work. The majority of people have a speciesist mindset. They think that we, as humans, are a superior species.

People We Admire-Girl Power Talk- Ashish Joshi

This mentality is the cornerstone of discrimination. I have tried to rally people around animal rescue through the moral plea that animals deserve the same basic rights to life and dignity as humans. Non-human animals have equal rights to this planet and they don’t need our approval to exist on this earth, especially if they are not harming us. While a few people agree with me, I still face complaints and opposition. I have learned to tackle these issues with patience. The blows of criticism are softened by the sense of honor and contentment I feel when people acknowledge my work and are inspired to do their bit for animals.

I believe that Earth isn’t just the domain of one species, and that we all live in an ecology where every part of nature is important. We as its inhabitants are interdependent on each other. We can’t modify things according to our wants; everything is set by nature and we have an obligation not to interfere. This philosophy pushed me to create a small, dense forest where animals can thrive.

People We Admire-Girl Power Talk- Ashish Joshi

Dogs have their own survival needs and we must respect that. Unfortunately, people bring exotic breed dogs like Huskies to a hotter country like India—essentially the opposite terrain they need to thrive. Feeding dogs is not enough, but rather giving dogs the healthy and fulfilling life they deserve is the ideal act of love. The craze of buying dogs rather than adopting them is not a positive sign. On one hand, we bring exotic foreign breeds who suffer in our climate while on the other hand, we can’t accept our own native dogs who are in dire need of help. Our habits must change as these practices result in street animals facing a cruel fate. Being a dog lover entails having an impartial love and regard for every dog, regardless of their breed, sex, or other irrelevant details.

Additionally, most people who approach us for adoption try to avoid female dogs, which is incredibly discriminatory. Females are vital for the continuation and survival of any species on this planet. So the practice of favoring male dogs over female dogs is not only cruel but stupid.

People We Admire-Girl Power Talk- Ashish Joshi

Another issue I’m deeply against is the culture of caging animals for entertainment purposes, essentially for our needs and wants. We see this culture prevailing in zoos. This practice is inhumane and sends out a detrimental message for future generations. If we really want to educate future generations about wildlife, we should take them to natural habitats and sanctuaries where they can get accurate knowledge—and where animals aren’t merely objects to showcase.

Through the advent of technology, mainly social media, we have an opportunity to condemn animal abuse. We need to make sure that we don’t increase the engagement of posts that contain animal abuse, be it hidden, subtle, or outright. The entirety of the blame cannot be shifted to weak animal protection laws. Yes, strict laws are vital, but when we look at the root of the issue, it all comes down to basic human decency and compassion.

people We Admire-Girl Power Talk- Ashish Joshi

We are taught to be moral and good as children but as we grow up, we conveniently forget and twist our ideals according to what is easier for us. However, I believe in the life mantra of helping those in need without getting anything back in return. I believe that if we consider good deeds as a responsibility, we can bring about real, lasting change in the lives of other people, the lives of animals, and nature.

People we Admire-Girl Power Talk- Ashish Joshi

One of the best rewards I get is when the dogs I have rescued remember me. Oftentimes, when I pass by, my rescued dogs recognize me instantly, excitedly leap on me, and start playing. It is truly beautiful to see them live a life that I envisioned for them—a healed and happy life.

The feeling of uplifting those in need drives me to work for animals each day and it will remain the lifelong purpose for me.

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