There’s no way around it really. India has an immense problem with street animals. The monkey problem is well known, but they also have a huge problem with street dogs. The vast majority of street dogs are like any other dog. They are quiet and docile. They are sweet with humans and are just trying to find food for another day. However there are some serious issues. Rabies is often passed through animals in India. These animals will often then bite humans infecting them with the horrible disease. Additionally some street dogs will become very territorial if they discover a good place to live. This can result in more animal attacks on humans and more diseases being spread.
Thankfully there are groups that are stepping up to fix this issue. The biggest problem is often not the dogs themselves, but the public perception. Many people view these animals as vermin rather than the potential companions that they are. Various organizations around the country are working to help both perception and the animals and we salute all of them for their work. We’re going to focus on one specific organization here.
The creator of this organization (Leslie Robinson) is actually a past successful CEO from the United States who was planning to retire to the quiet of the Himalayas. He stopped in the city of Tiruvannamalai just around the time of the yearly street dog purge. The thought of the animals being rounded up and killed to try to control the population was repellent to Leslie and he stepped in to help stop the purge. It was contingent on him finding an alternate population control method. He knew his temporary solution wouldn’t last forever and he then used his retirement savings to start and fund the Arunachala Animal Sanctuary and Rescue Shelter.
The shelter is a no kill shelter. This style is kind of a radical departure for India. Respect for animal life in India can sometimes be severely lacking. They are a nuisance and not worthy of good treatment.
The Arunachala Animal Sanctuary provides the stray animal population with controls that they didn’t have before. They provide free rabies vaccines to any animal that comes through. This helps stop the spread of that disease to other animals and humans. The Sanctuary will take in any injured animal brought in by someone and help treat them. Additionally they will often go out and look for injured dogs to try and offer them veterinary assistance. While they specialize in dogs, they won’t turn away other animals in a pinch.
The Sanctuary also offers something to older or physically disabled dogs. It allows them a place they can stay where they will be fed and safe. This means they can live the rest of their lives in peace. It’s something these animals would never be able to have on the street.
It’s hard to imagine the level of dedication it would take to allow a two week visit somewhere to completely change your lifelong retirement plan. It shows the selflessness of the human spirit that exists in some people.