This is the story of a nodal firefighter in Mumbai, Mr. Umesh. G. Palande & his family’s unparallel love & compassion for animals.
Umesh Palande is the assistant divisional Fire officer for Mumbai Fire Brigade. For the last 25 years, he has been working with this department. The Mumbai Fire Brigade Department has been serving the citizens of Mumbai for the last 150 years and more. They have around 35 fire stations and 18 mini fire stations. So, the fire-brigade department tackled all the rescue operations in Mumbai city and all the emergencies that occurred, like fire accidents, house collapses, or tree collapses.
Apart from that, the Fire brigade department responds to all animal rescue calls like dogs, cats, or any animal in trouble as animals cannot speak. So, the fire brigade sees their plight, understands their feelings, and rescues those animals. If you call Mumbai Fire Brigade Control Room on 101 and inform them that any such rescue is required or if any animal is in trouble, they immediately turn on their vehicle and rescue that animal using different technical rescue methods.
Every 2 or 3 days, they perform bird rescues. Like if a bird is stuck in some tree or something, they try their best to rescue it safely, no matter what height it is stuck at. For that, they have a Bird Rescue Stick, and for greater heights, the department has provided them with special appliances to tackle those cases.
Other animals like dogs, cats, cows, and buffaloes usually get stuck in gutters, maintenance holes, or narrow metal bars. These animals, once stuck, remain stuck. So they have different equipment like Cutting and spreading equipment with which they can cut the rods, cut and open the manholes, and then rescue the animals.
He also shared some rescue stories of animals, like one of the stray dogs stuck in a tetra board at the seashore of marine drive and how they rescued him with the help of an LND crane and another story of a buffalo that fell into a utility hole. It took 3 to 4 hours of hard work to rescue her. he revealed that sometimes in between all this, animals get injured. So for these injured animals, they call an ambulance, private ambulances, or animal protection groups and admit these injured animals to hospitals.
He requested everyone to contact 101 for animal rescue cases as he always tells people that a first responder is an ordinary man, not the Mumbai Fire Department or the Police. So he asked everyone to fulfill their duty as a commoner.
Umesh Palande talked about how much he loves his job because his work aims to save others, and it is the most passionate job; it is a Uniformed Service, plus it gives him the satisfaction of saving lives.
Umesh Palande lives with his animal-loving family. Her wife Anita Palande and daughter Unnati Palande are passionate about caring for stray animals. They are currently fostering 14 rescued cats in their house who are either injured or sick, so they take care of their food, medication, etc. apart from that, they have 8 rescued cats and feed around 27 stray cats daily. So basically, he performs rescue operations, and both his wife and daughter do the work of fostering them.
They feel that the cats have become a part of their life, and they can’t live without them, so their cats are always with them to whichever fire station they go to.
Anita Palande requested everyone stop abandoning little kittens on the ground, in boxes, in fish markets, or elsewhere. At least let them grow old enough to be able to fend for themselves. Don’t separate them from their mother for at least 3 months. Connect with an NGO and get the cat neutered so their population will come under control and they won’t get abandoned.
The mother/daughters duo also spoke about the misconception that people have that they might catch diseases from animals. Still, according to them, animals are pretty clean as they follow self-cleaning, and infecting people with something is an infrequent scenario. It is crucial to take due care of animals from childhood, like vaccination, so we can avoid such fear by taking all the precautions.
Unnati Palande’s message for people is not to treat animals as a liability. Treat them properly, get them neutered, and vaccinated so nobody faces any problems. Ask people to drive carefully as most animals meet with an accident while crossing roads, and some even lose their lives.
Anita Palande’s message for people is If you don’t like animals, that’s okay. It’s your choice, your opinion, but at least those who like them, those who are feeding them of their own, will at least let them do their work. Ignore them, and don’t put water in their food, soil, or Phenyl to stop these things. Animals want nothing in return, and they have no expectations from us. All they ask for is affection and love.
The story of this compassionate family working together as a team to take care of stray animals is truly inspirational for all of us.