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Animal Aide Unlimited, Udaipur

INDIA | Tuesday, 13 March 2012 | Views [558]

While in Udaipur I visited one of the few animal shelters in India. This one was started by an American family about 10 years ago and since then they have treated over 130,000 animals. Most of the dogs in India live on the streets, in fact, I've been told that keeping the typical mutt-variety dog as a pet is relatively uncommon and adopting from a shelter is almost unheard of. None of the dogs pictured have ever, or likely will ever have a home, however, those dogs who are paralyzed or legless will be able to stay on at the shelter for the rest of their lives. The other dogs - those that come in with wounds, mange or other problems - will be treated, given a rabies vaccination, spayed/neutered and then set free back into the wild streets where they came from. The only animals that are euthanized are those with serious issues (such as rabies) or those who are suffering with no hope of relief. There are puppies born at the shelter - when the mother is healthy enough to be released, the puppies will go with her. They try to drop the dogs off in a part of town where they're likely to have a better chance of survival.

I love animals, especially dogs - so this visit was very difficult and will likely haunt me forever. I spent most of my time there just petting them, one after another they'd drag themselves or hop over to be to be petted - they were all incredibly sweet and so hungry for attention. A thin little dog with big sad eyes huddled under my leg while another rolled on her back and closed her eyes while I scratched her belly, like any dog might do; affection from humans is rare on the street, but the dogs still manage to desire it. Most of the animals end up at the shelter because they've either been run over, abused, injured in a fight, or are profoundly emaciated and/or mangy. This shelter has made a huge impact in raising community awareness and involvement, so most of the animals were picked up after receiving an anonymous tip, although they also dispatch a vehicle and look for animals in need. Painful as it was, I actually think this was one of the most profound experiences I've had in India so far.

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