Earlier this month, founders Derek and Vinyse visited Varanasi to meet with our local staff member Amit, to plan ahead with our partners FIAPO and to see the progress that the project has made this first year.
We spent our time meeting the amazing volunteers and other locals who have been caring for the street dogs and other wonderful animals. Through our project, these locals have received training, first aid supplies, support, and guidance. Helping animals can feel like a lonely activity in India, so having a sense of community and camaraderie can prevent compassion fatigue and build the confidence of the animal lovers. When you know that you’re not the only one who cares, what felt like a losing battle soon feels like an achievable goal!
A highlight of our trip was accompanying Amit and the volunteers on first aid rounds. Here are some of the photos and stories of the dogs we helped.
Remember Archie from this past February? He had a rectal prolapse as a pup and was nursed to health by our team. Look how big he is now! He immediately came running when the snack stand people called out his name, and he remembered Amit as the bearer of treats. We were so happy to see Archie, so sweet and full of energy:
This mama dog stays close to her pups at the snack stand where our sweet Archie hangs out:
This sweet dog had a wound on her arm, which can easily become infected. When doing our rounds we saw her and Amit provided treatment. She was a trooper:
This amazing mama dog had her babies in this red metal stand. One of her pups had his paw severely cut from the string of a kite. Amit and our volunteers have been monitoring the pup and continually providing treatment. On the photo on the right, the pup gets some first aid from Amit and Derek:
This kind gentleman was feeding this crew of dogs who (mostly) patiently waited their turn. One of them had skin disease which the team has been treating:
This sweetie certainly left her paw prints on our hearts this afternoon. The locals said that she was very sick, dehydrated, and hadn’t been eating. The team did their best to help, and while preparing to bring her to the vet she passed away. It was so heartbreaking to see her suffering, but I hope that she felt the love we had for her in her final moments:
This dog had a large maggot wound on the left side of his neck. The people who work on the river alerted us and Amit provided treatment (and will return to provide follow up medication):
Amit giving medication to this sweet pup that a tourist had been watching over:
This bull’s hoof had been injured and was seriously infected. Swati, an amazing volunteer (aka bull whisperer) comforted him while we treated his hoof. Swati has a natural gift with animals – recently she helped an ox whose tongue had been cut off. She nursed him back to health and he’s now able to eat!
We spent a day with a team of volunteers treating the dogs with skin issues such as mange. The locals were really helpful in finding the dogs in their neighbourhood and getting them to come to us:
From the findings of our trip, we really believe that our strategy of inspiring compassion in locals and building their capacity to help the animals in their neighbourhood has worked well. This past year has been a pilot project for us, where we focused on one neighbourhood in the city, and in 2016 we’re excited to expand the project to cover 50% of the city. To do this, we need your help!
Your contributions will directly fund the cost of first aid kits and medication, veterinary care, outreach materials, and hiring an additional staff member in India. Click here to make your contribution today. All contributions, regardless of size, can make a big difference in the lives of the 150,000 street dogs in Varanasi!
Thank you for sharing our passion for helping animals in such great need. We hope you are as excited as we are about what we can achieve this coming year!
Vinyse & Derek, Co-Founders of Dogs of the Ganges Society