This 59-year-old German woman has been doing something for decades that is very rare in today’s day and age, especially when it comes to helping animals in distress. More than 1,200 cows, mostly ill and abandoned, have found a guardian angel in Friederike Irina Bruning who came to India from Berlin back in 1978. However, she had no idea of what life had planned for her. Speaking to PTI about her story, Bruning said, “I came as a tourist and understood that to progress in life, you need a guru. I went in search of a guru in Radha Kund.” After that she bought a cow and since then she had devoted herself completely to these stray animals. She also purchased books on how to take care of cows and then learnt Hindi. “I saw that people of late abandon their cows when they grow old and stop giving milk,” she said.
She was later given the title of Sudevi Mataji after she started her cowshed known as ‘Surbhai Gauseva Niketan’. Referring to the large number of cows and calves she has, Bruning says they are like her children and she cannot leave them.
“Today, I have 1,200 cows and calves. I do not have sufficient place to accommodate more as the place is getting smaller. But still I cannot refuse, when somebody leaves a sick or injured cow outside my ashram, I have to take her in,” she said.
When the agency asked about expenses for taking care of all these animals, she informed that it costs somewhere around 22 lakh per month to take care of their foodgrain, medicines and salaries of around 60 workers who assist her doing the same. “I have some property in Berlin. I get rent from that. Initially my father used to send some money but now he is a senior citizen. Every year, I visit Berlin to see him. He is not well. I am not getting any help from the local authorities, but somehow managing my work,” she said.
This is not for the first time that someone has stepped up to help provide shelter to stray animals in the country. In December last year, a software engineer and CEO of a successful tech company made headline for personally taking care of more than 700 abandoned stray dogs. According to BBC news, Rakesh Shukla, who is also known as ‘The Dog Father’, turned the top floor of his office building into a dog shelter. Later Shukla bought a land in Doddballapur near Bengaluru and set up a canine shelter for dogs.