Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Dogs Trust Takes A Trip To India

Find out about our International Director David Newall's recent visit to a very special project we helped set up in India with the charity Worldwide Veterinary Service.

“Thousands of dogs across India are born on the streets and sadly the country has the highest prevalence of rabies in the world - around 30,000 people a year die after being bitten by a rabid dog and 80% of those bitten are children under the age of 15.

The International Training Centre (ITC) which we helped WVS set up teaches local vets vital skills and knowledge about animal birth control and rabies prevention. We aim to reduce the number of child deaths in India from rabies by 5% over the next three years – the equivalent of saving a child’s life a day - as well reduce the vast numbers of unwanted litters born every year in India.

The centre is built on a former colonial tea plantation in Ooty in Tamil Nadu and last week I paid a visit to attend its inaugural training course.

They say there is no real preparation for the size of the attack that India subjects on all one’s senses, and they are right! After negotiating a hectic seven hour drive from the airport, involving overtaking, undertaking, rickshaws and cows slowly crossing the road, I finally arrived in Ooty.

Five vets and seven assistants took part in the first course and it was wonderful to see them so keen to learn new skills and pass them on to colleagues. I have nothing but admiration for the work they do in the sometimes limited facilities and they certainly face unusual problems. The sight of an elephant or monkey strolling by outside the clinic isn’t unusual, and sadly one morning a cardboard box of one week old puppies arrived at the clinic shelter after their mother had been killed by a leopard – thankfully not something our Dogs Trust vet clinics in the UK come across.

Dogs Trust International usually works throughout Europe, where we provide training, help and assistance to the cohorts of enthusiastic animal welfarists struggling in demanding circumstances to influence change and promote responsible dog ownership.

I was incredibly grateful for this opportunity to spread our wings a little wider by supporting and guiding local organisations further afield.”

To find out more about David's work, you can read his My Week Profile on the Third Sector website.

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