Gyani Deula, a homeless temple-dweller known for her love and compassion towards stray dogs, passed away at the Ganesh Temple in Kamaladi Sunday morning. She was 56.
In November 2012, Nepal Times profiled Deula in a profile titled ‘The Dog Mother’, a moniker stuck. A few organisations even carried out fund-raising programs for her and her four-legged friends.
Deula had been living at the temple after being abandoned by her family, and made a living selling flowers. She spent much of her meagre income to feed her dogs very day.
“It’s difficult, but I will provide for them until I die, they are my family,” she had told Nepali Times in 2012. “I worry about them once I am gone, what will my babies do? Who will feed them and love them?”
As Gyani Deula anticipated, the dogs being looked after by her have now become helpless yet again. They are hungry and waiting for their mother – probably unaware that Deula has left them for ever.
Deula had started adopting dogs after she found abandoned puppies in a carton dumped near the temple in 2009. She was herself abandoned by her family, and adopted all the puppies.
Gyani Deula had signed a will that her eyes be donated and a team from Tilganga Hospital extracted her corneas on Sunday itself for transplants to patients. After the news about her death spread on social networking sites, many who knew of her compassion and devotion to dogs went to Pashupati Aryaghat to attend her funeral and bid her goodbye.
When Deula’s body was put in a van and taken to Pashupati Aryaghat, some of her adopted dogs even followed her.