Tuesday, March 7, 2017

India: Animal Aid, Udaipur

Many of the Animal Aid clan hiked with Jim (one of Animal Aid's founders) on March 4th for his birthday.  He's 76 and he ascended the hill with ease.  I was huffing and puffing.  :)

My time in India is almost over.  When I planned to spend 3 months here (and 5 additional weeks traveling elsewhere) I wasn't sure how I'd feel at the end of the India time...would 3 months be too long?  Would I be happy here?  As it turns out, I'm devastated to be leaving...knowing full well that I won't be back until at least December when wedding season is over.  The staff I've gotten to know over the last 8 years are such incredible people.  Volunteering at Animal Aid has given my time here purpose and joy, and I am sad that the day will come in a couple of weeks when I put my things into storage, give my scooter to a friend, and pack my things to go.

Volunteering every day at Animal Aid is an incredible experience.   On one hand, I feel fortunate to have some veterinary skills (14 years as a vet tech in USA), but on the other hand,  I don't know ENOUGH to be able to help the way I wish I truly could.  What I'd give to go back now and go to vet school!  But, I do what I can, and find my days happily full of a variety of tasks...placing IV's and monitoring the IV fluids, drawing blood, stocking the treatment area with medicine and supplies, feeding and cleaning, assisting others, and of course, taking photos and petting animals.  I'm usually too busy working to carry the camera around, but if I grab it around 4pm, that works well.  I'd walk around photographing until 5, when the day shift goes home.

The photos included in this blog entry are just a drop in the hat...no one needs to be overwhelmed with the whole set.  My photos here are a labor of love.  Some viewers may recoil in horror at the content, but remember...these animals are all getting great care from loving and talented people.  Udaipur is a large city...but there's no one else for hours around that does what Animal Aid does...providing medical care and sanctuary for street animals.   Volunteers are welcome to come for a day, a month, or more.  Veterinarians are needed.  I implore everyone I know to consider coming here to help.  It's a life changing experience.

A quick numbers review, and you will instantly grasp the implications of the achievement of this NGO:

2002: year established
75,000: animals treated since 2002
35 to 40: number of calls for injured animals recieved daily
$30,000: amount needed every month to run the shelter
$30: the average amount needed to save each animal
75: full time employees
24/7: hours of operation
3: ambulances
250: dogs in active treatment kennel
150: dogs that live here permanently
120: cattle and donkeys

Udaipur is in the state of Rajasthan, India.  From Delhi, Udaipur is a 1.5 hour plane trip, 14 hour train journey, or a 17 hour bus ride.  It can be exhausting to get here, but it's so rewarding to do it.  This is my 7th trip to India, with Udaipur being either a destination (or a stop in the journey) each time.

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