“At first, I was a little afraid of dogs,” Balu, from Prune, India, admitted to Open Road in an interview. “Now this is my life, I cannot leave this. I will keep doing this forever.”
Very few people in India do what Balu does each day in the name of helping suffering animals. He operates what he refers to as a pet ambulance, driving around his locale to rescue stray dogs. The operation is named “Wag-on-Wheels.”
In order to set up the rescue effort, Balu has had to make monetary sacrifices in addition to his daily toil. According to local animal lover Steven Oommen, as per Open Road, the dog rescuer spent 10 years of his life saving up enough money to buy the dog ambulance (essentially just a white van converted for the task of transporting animals) that makes all of his work possible.
He advertises a phone number on his Facebook page that people can call when they find an animal in need of medical attention. Balu then heads to the scene, catches, and then transports the sick or injured animal to a vet or pet hospital. He charges a fee of just around 15 cents a mile for the service.
Balu has also converted his home into a makeshift animal sick bay. There, he keeps injured cats and dogs that shelters don’t have room for, sometimes housing half a dozen at a time.
“I keep 5 to 6 stray dogs at home—some with broken legs and paws—if there’s no room at shelters,” he said.
Balu was profiled by Tally Talwar of Open Road, a traveler who drives across the massive East Asian nation to highlight some of the incredible people who make India so special. In a video, Balu shared the story of how Wag-on-Wheels got started.
Watch Balu as Open Road catches up with him and tags along for one of his endearing dog rescues:
Cute little angels living just behind the canteen
Balu is not a veterinarian, but he’s been learning how to do basic care for animals to help out some of the strays that people call him to pick up. He can now dress wounds and bandage them until a dog can get proper medical attention, and he’s able to give them medication while caring for them in his home.
Yet, not everyone approves of him taking the time to help the animals in need. The culture in India simply does not place the same value on pet and animal lives as is done in Western nations.
“A lot of people love what we do, but some people don’t like me helping strays,” he confided. Balu’s passion for pets is an uncommon one.