We arrived in Udaipur having no idea Animal Aid even existed
Our guest house had a stack of brochures on things to do and see in Udaipur and Animal Aid was one of them. Clearly interested we hopped in a rickshaw which took us 8km out of Udaipur “Old City” to Badi Village, A.K.A Animal Paradise. After a tour of Animal Aid it was a no brainer that we wanted to help out as much as we could for the 3 short days we were in Udaipur.
Animal aid is an organisation that rescues injured or ill street animals from Udaipur, not just dogs but cows, donkeys, goats and pigs. When street animals are injured or ill the residents of Udaipur will call Animal Aid hotline and organise the rescue of that animal and take it back to Animal Aid for assessment. The animals are then treated medically and will stay at Animal Aid until they are well and strong enough to return to the streets. Some Animals aren’t as lucky as others and will never return to the streets, but Animal Aid will soon be their forever home, where will be looked after medically and given the most important thing they need to survive, TLC. At Animal Aid we spent a lot of time in “Handicapped Heaven” home for dogs that are paralysed mostly from being hit by a cars or rickshaws. Some of these dogs live here and others have been there for weeks or months while they slowly recover from these accidents. We loved hanging out with the dogs, patting them and giving them the attention that helps the healing progress. You will never find a dog that appreciates a rub on the tummy or a scratch on the neck than these brave dogs and all they want is your company. Not only do you and the other volunteers hang out with animals all day you also help out at feeding times twice a day ensuring all 50+ dogs have been fed as most of them can’t move well enough to feed. After the dogs have eaten you head over to the calves for their lunchtime and bottle-feed the ones who’s mothers have passed away. Most of the cows at Animal Aid are also injured from road accidents or have internal injuries from eating plastic on the streets. While many of the donkeys have broken legs after being used for work and have had to carry weight beyond their ability. This is the grim reality of life as an animal in India
Animal Aid has been around since 2002 when it’s founders a family from Seattle (Erika, Jim and Clare) moved to India and noticed how many injured and ill street animals they saw each and every day. At that stage there was no place in Udaipur that would look after and treat these animals with no owners. 14 years later, 50 full time staff and volunteers and over 50,000 animals treated Animal Aid has made a different in Udaipur. Not only do they rescue, treat and run an animal sanctuary, Animal Aid goes into classrooms to educate and raise awareness, educating children to call the emergency hotline if they see an animal in pain and how to prevent dog bites. The 3 days at Animal Aid were some of the most rewarding, confronting, special, overwhelming days of my life and I will definitely be back in the future to volunteer my time for a longer period. Seeing the animals at first can be confronting, there are so many of them, they are in pain, cannot move, have skin conditions and the list goes on and on, however understanding the work that Animal Aid and it’s volunteers put into looking after these animals definitely helps you carry on with your job. With the friendship and support from the full time workers and other volunteers the time spent at Animal Aid is one to remember and will stick with you forever. I can’t wait to return to Animal Aid and see the progress of my friend Star that I was lucky enough to name. Star was brought into Animal Aid while I was volunteering after being hit by a car and paralysed. The first couple of days are really tough for these dogs so being there for them is vital.
If you are an animal lover please check out Animal Aid’s website here to read more about this organisation. They have plenty of information about who they are, what they do, and hurt to healed success stories, rescue stories and much more. If you are in India or planning to go check out Animal Aid in Udaipur to volunteer at or even just for a visit. If you can’t make it to Animal Aid you can also help make a difference by donating here.