THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: 70-year-old Maniyan Pillai hailing from Vetturoad, Kazhakoottam in Thiruvananthapuram, has been feeding his furry friends on the street without fail for the past two decades.
Every morning and evening, he can be seen feeding stray dogs in his locality and is always followed by a pack of loyal stray dogs. Despite being homeless and jobless, Maniyan Pillai aka Mani ‘chettan’ fights all odds to ensure that over a dozen stray dogs are fed every day. He gets freshly prepared food from local eateries and bakeries to feed them.
“I have always been an animal lover and started feeding them regularly for the past two decades. If I come across a hungry stray I never hesitate to use my money to buy food for them. Earth is not owned by humans alone. Animals too are part of this world and humans should learn to coexist with them. I feed them first before I feed myself,” says Maniyanpillai, who served for seven years in the military.
“After serving seven years in the military, I don’t get any financial aid or pension from the government. But it’s okay because leaving the military was my decision and I never tried to get any benefits for serving in the military,” says Maniyanpillai.
He faced a lot of financial crisis during the lockdown and because of the injured leg, he is unable to do any work. “I lost my home and now I live in a friend's shop. My day revolves around these strays and nothing can make me happier than feeding them who often face neglect. There were days when I had spent around Rs 1000 on their food. Some people shout at me for feeding them and a few rude ones try to attack these strays. This attitude should change. They too have every right to live and survive among us,” says Maniyanpillai.
Ever since the pandemic outbreak, Maniyanpillai is out of work but many in the locality appreciate the good deed he does for the animals and are willing to help him in his cause.
“I never feed them leftover food. Several good-hearted citizens in my locality support what I do. I lost a few of my dogs due to road accidents because of reckless driving by motorists. Sadly nobody cares about the dog when an accident happens they always try to help the motorists. I tried my best to treat one but failed to save his life," said Maniyanpillai