ADOPT, DON’T SHOP
Woofers, an association of furry friends informed Darjeeling Goodwill Animal Shelter about the dog that was hit by a car. The dog couldn’t walk and her front leg was swollen, mainly the paw. The Animal Shelter team then further picked her up, brought her for treatment to the AnimalShelterin Lebong. The dog was examined and treated by a volunteer Vet, Dr. Sameer Chettri also the previous Vet of Darjeeling Goodwill Animal Shelter. The dog was then kept on antibiotics. The dressing of the wound was also suggested. Luckily, her leg wasn’t fractured but swollen and wounded yet it took some time to heal.
After she healed, she was even spayed at the Animal Shelter and then released a week later. She was a very calm and friendly dog. Everybody at the Shelter loved her. And they called her Brownie.
Friendly stray dog had a bad day when a neighbor pours hot water on him that leaves his skin scalded for days until his local caretaker sees the gash forming a big crust on his skin and seeks help from Darjeeling Animal Shelter das
Supragya, the staff member of Merry Resort contacted us for the rescue of a stray dog with wounds on his body. The dog had bruised skin and small wounds around his body. He often came to Merry Resort for food. Suprgaya used to feed him often and loved him like he was her own dog. One day, when she found out the dog yelping and tucking his head down, she began to ponder and went close to see him. But she was astounded to see a big crust on his skin and other parts of the body. It was then that she phoned Darjeeling Animal Shelter rescue team for help.
He was a very friendly dog. He was brought to the Shelter for his treatment of his wounds. This boy was unlike other dogsand enjoyed his stay thoroughly at the Shelter whilst he got his wound healed. He also enjoyed eating kibble and some broth every day. We never saw him unhappy. He was a very easy-going dog and we still miss him. A month later, he was released back to his old spot. It was hard to bid him goodbye and we could even see that in his face. But he had to go and live his life again from where he began.
Adoption drive for Shelter and homeless puppies das
Due to the growing number of people interested in buying dogs, adoption of Shelter and street puppies are quite rare these days. However, both Kalimpong and Darjeeling Animal Shelters have been spreading awareness on adopting more of Desi (local)breeds and giving them a second chance at life. Adopting a dog from the Shelter saves a life of the dog and it paves in the way for a new puppy to fill in the space. Today, Desi / Pariah dogs are the most vulnerable ones because chances of getting them a good home and a loving parent are very bleak. So, it is becoming extremely crucial to conduct adoption drives where people could see and learn and develop compassion for the Shelter and street puppies. While the drives are conducted, the puppy are also vaccinated against rabies and the owners are promised for the adopted dogs’ free spay by the Shelter. New owners are also informed that their Desi (local) breed will be less susceptible to disease.
Darjeeling Goodwill Animal Shelter organised an adoption camp twice last year at Chowrasta where30 puppies were adopted by good owners. Kalimpong Animal Shelter also succeeded in having some puppies adopted.
CAMP AT TAKVAR
Situated in the lowlands of the beautiful hill station commonly called Lebong in Darjeeling is the shelter for animals founded by an Australian animal activist, Christine Townend. Since its foundation, Darjeeling animal shelter holds its name and fame for the deep love and respect the shelter has borne towards the stray animals living on the streets and surrounding areas.
In a place like Darjeeling when it was felt that a shelter should start for animals, Christine dedicated her life serving the homeless animals and erected a peaceful and quiet haven for these unloved animals. Darjeeling animal shelter over the years has achieved a lot and has brought a positive outcome into the lives of animals and people.
Darjeeling Animal Shelter, a sister organisation to KAS has been equally playing a pivotal role in saving the lives of thousand animals. Animal birth control and anti-rabies vaccination camps being the first and foremost priority of both shelters,such camps hold great importance in both Hill stations.Through such out-reach programmes,both DGAS and KAS help animals live a healthy life and develop that sense of understanding on the community about the welfare of animals.
On the 12th of January,2018, DGAS conducted an ABC camp in a low-lying village, called Takvar far from town with the initiative of a village co-ordinator, Deepesh Dorjee.In the past even,DGAS had successfully operated many cats and dogs and vaccinated them in the same area.In this outlying village,animals are considered to be less important,they face atrocities every day,they are beaten up cruelly or tortured for running from one place to another in search of food and shelter. DGAS has always taken the lead when such practices have risen in saving those animals,but due to harsh behavior of people there,it took years for them to understand animals and their feelings.
Today,the community has developed a sense of understanding towards animals through human education imparted by Darjeeling shelter on behalf of animals,and people are gradually learning to protect animals.Although a handful of people take the initiative there to hold camps,some are even there as the sole protectors to animals.And with their idea and consideration,DGAS with their support conducted a successful camp in the beginning of this year. The previous shelter Vet,Dr.Sameer Chhetri now working as the Govt. Veterinary officer has been volunteering at the shelter during his leisure time by operating and treating animals. This year too,Dr. Sameer Chhetri,a resident of Darjeeling operated 15 dogs including three cats at camp in Takvar,Darjeeling assisted by compounders, Saila,Wongel and Raju. The team is very skilled in handling animals and sedating animals prior to spay and neuter of animals. DGAS team after the prior approval of the community stalled the camp in an open ground at Takvar,there were many children eager to see and learn the methods of open-flank surgery conducted by Dr. Sameer Chhetri.People of all age groups were also sensitised about animal health and well-being,treatment and cruelty,and mainly about the importance of animal birth control and rabies vaccination.
The community was relieved when DGAS operated dogs that desperately needed to undergo sterilisation and to bring their number under control for a healthy environment for both humans and animals.
KAS yearly conducts camps in outlying villages where ABC camps are previously carried out. To update yearly on rabies vaccination and to operate on new dogs growing in the community and also those owned by owners, ABC camp is highly preferable in all these places.
ABC village camps are very interesting as they attract a lot of children and youths from the villages who are keen to watching the operation being conducted on cat and dogs. This at times becomes the ideal spot for awareness on animal cruelty, rabies and the importance of animal birth control. Other than this, KAS is also approached by the locals to treat their cow and goats if they are ailing. So the experienced paravets after the camp make home visits along with the Vet. The livestock wing also reaches out to these villages for treating large animals but when they are not available, KAS does the needful.
Although the main purpose of KAS is ABC yet they work even beyond that to ensure all animals are kept safe and treated timely. From small to large animals, KAS leaves no stone unturned to meet the needs of owners and their pets.
Basically, when village camps are carried out, the community is very welcoming to KAS because of their dedication towards the voiceless. KAS team travels far leaving very early in the morning to conduct an ABC camp thereby giving the whole day to operations and general treatment of large animals. When there are cases of milk fever and prolapsed on cows, KAS after operation stays back to treat those cows and contacts the village livestock official for the follow-up. The community is always pleased with KAS team for helping them create a dog and human friendly environment thus, stabilising the dog population and making the community rabies free.
In the month of June again, KAS covered many villages by performing ABC and also updated on villages falling under the other Bloc where ABC was yet to happen. Therefore, in the last week of May, KAS conducted four ABC camps along with Anti-rabies vaccination and operated and vaccinated ten dogs per camp.
Following are the camp details:
|Month||Camp venue||No. of dogs operated||No. of cats operated||ARV vaccination|
Anti-rabies vaccination camp held at Takling
Rabies, a zoonotic disease had spread far and wide in the small town of Kalimpong, in the foothills of the Eastern Himalayas, India. Rabies is carried both by wildlife and by dogs. Because of rabid dog bites in humans, previously there was an increase in human mortality rates without any cure to this fatal disease. The Municipality then felt strychnine poisoning of dogs was the only resort to fight against this ghastly disease.
Many people living in small hamlets and outlying villages were attacked by rabid dogs. The virus had spread from one dog to another. When the mortality rate grew,people started to concentrate on the cure to this disease with thebelief thata local healing plant called ‘Dhatura’, could be used to combat rabies; the local medicine wasn’t of any use.
‘Vaccination ‘was new to village people, and previously nobody had attempted to introduce rabies vaccine to these villages and town. The Municipalities of both Kalimpong and Darjeelingwere poisoning dogs until Kalimpong and Darjeeling Animal Shelters came into existence and introduced rabies vaccine to people without taking anything in return from the community. This marked an epoch in the history of Kalimpong Animal Shelter.
The shelter staff travelled every day to towns and villages to catch the dogs, bring them back to the shelter, sterilise and vaccinate them, and release them in the place they were caught after a full recovery. Although,some roads weren’t accessible to vehicles,the staff of KAS and DAS travelled by foot through paddy fields near and far to vaccinate dogs and spread awareness to the community on ‘rabies vaccine’.
Eventually, the town and outlying villages saw a big change in their community with dog bites declining every year. The awareness programme conducted by Kalimpong Animal Shelter twice every week helped people understand and accept that ‘ rabies vaccine’ was the only effective means of combatting the disease.
From early beginnings, Kalimpong Animal Shelter has had an impact on the community due to hard work and dedication. Today,the shelter is still carrying out ‘camps’ in remote, outlying villages andin town areas. People are notified about anti-rabies vaccination camps through posters and social media or through a village co-ordinator.
This year KAS and DAS conducted an anti-rabies vaccination camp in a village name ‘Takling’ where 134 dogs were vaccinated against rabies. The photos accompanying this story were taken at Takling camp.
The total no. of Village camps including ARV and ABC conducted so far by Kalimpong Animal Shelter is 306 where thirteen thousand nine hundred and ten dogs (13910) were vaccinated against rabies and two thousand and twenty six (2026) dogs spayed and neutered