Last month, Animal Rahat made a huge difference in the lives of all different kinds of individuals—from horned and hoofed to feathered and flying. It’s all extraordinary and all encouraging! I’ve included just a few highlights below.
As you know, Animal Rahat has been rescuing quite a few dogs, ponies, horses, and other animals from circuses. These animals have been treated badly, and although we are always on the lookout for adoptive homes in which to place them, we are mighty picky. This month, we found two homes that passed muster. Pictured below is Bhury with two members of her new family. (Members of Bhury’s breed—American Eskimo—are common in Indian circuses because they’re very clever and, therefore, learn tricks quickly. You can imagine how miserable they must be, performing in that hot climate with their thick fur.)
The beautiful shepherd mix is Dolly. She was adopted by a villager who lives near our original Home for Retired Bullocks. Finally, Bhury and Dolly will know what it’s like to be beloved family members instead of being treated like wind-up toys, taken out of a cage to perform and stuffed back in after the performance is over. Applause!
Last month, Animal Rahat provided 1,026 animals with crucial veterinary care, including 360 bullocks, 91 donkeys, 43 cows, and 36 horses. We also rescued numerous animals from life-threatening situations, including those in the following cases.
The cow pictured below had fallen into a well in which the water was 30 feet deep. When we rushed to the scene, she was exhausted from swimming in circles and was losing her battle to stay afloat. We immediately hired a crane with an industrial lifting belt, outfitted two of our staffers in climbing harnesses, and affixed all the necessary carabiners and ropes. (We’ve equipped each Animal Rahat area office with climbing gear and given everyone rappelling lessons because animals often fall into some of the hundreds of wells in this region—although we’ve made progress in addressing this problem by getting some wells covered or walled up.)
Once our staff members were in the well, it still took time to catch the cow, get the lifting belt securely around her torso, and hoist her up onto dry land. At her owner’s home—only 150 feet away—we dried her off and built a fire to help her warm up, as she was extremely cold from the water.
The next day, we paid a follow-up visit to make sure that she was recovering well from her ordeal (she was) and to ask the owner to fence the well. This is harder than it sounds, as people are poor, materials are scarce, any wood used for fencing can be stolen for firewood, and so on. However, he agreed.
Unlike the cow, who had been in the well less than two hours before someone called Animal Rahat, the dog pictured below had been trapped in this 70-foot-deep well for a good two days. Finding nothing nearby to which our team members could anchor their climbing ropes, they devised another strategy: They tied two ropes on either side of the opening of a burlap sack, put tasty dog biscuits inside, and lowered the sack. It took 30 long minutes, but at last, the frightened and hungry dog entered the sack to get the biscuits, and our team hoisted him out of the well!
We brought him back to our Pandharpur office, and the veterinarians administered intravenous fluids because he was dangerously dehydrated. We let him rest, neutered him the next day, and then kept him for another day to monitor his recovery. After he was given a clean bill of health, we took him back to the village near where we found him and let him rejoin his friends.
Among the wildlife we rescued last month was this raptor called a brahminy kite. This magnificent bird had become badly entangled in kite string and was dangling from a branch 60 feet off the ground, just crying for help. A kind passerby notified the local fire brigade, which tried unsuccessfully to reach the bird. The power company was also notified and agreed to turn off the electricity in the power line that was right below the branch. In the meantime, Animal Rahat was notified and immediately dispatched a rescue team.
At this point, a crowd had gathered around and someone mentioned seeing the bird struggling three days earlier—yet no one had bothered to get help! This animal had been helplessly trapped and struggling, without food or water, for 72 hours.
More difficulties ensued when even the power company’s “cherry picker” (basket crane) at its highest point was still 20 feet short of allowing us to reach the kite. So our team members got a long wooden pole and tied a knife to the end. They got as close as they could in the crane and then spent the next 40 minutes carefully cutting the branch enough to allow them to grab it as it fell and bring the kite to the ground. It took another 20 minutes to remove all the string. The kite had sustained a laceration to his wing, so in consultation with one of our vets, the team administered a painkiller to him and cleaned his wound. The bird was taken to a volunteer’s home to recover and received regular follow-up visits. However, even after three weeks, he was unable to fly, so we transferred him to a wildlife rehabilitation facility, where he is receiving specialized care.
We had a glorious moment when we reached two more goals in our spay/neuter initiative: Last month, we sterilized 15 dogs in the village of Hipale and 73 dogs in the village of Shekharwadi, which means 100 percent of the community dogs in those two villages are now spayed or neutered. This prevents hundreds of puppies from being born and forced to scrounge around on trash heaps, drink from oily puddles, dodge dangerous traffic, and suffer from parasites, mange, and other ailments.
Other vital work that Animal Rahat accomplished last month included holding meetings on animal welfare practices in 17 villages, making Compassionate Citizen classroom presentations to 194 children, and sparing 518 bullocks, cows, buffalo, and goats in eight villages painful horn shearing and coloring with toxic paint during Karwani celebrations. We also received fairly positive responses from the owners of eight brick kilns when we asked them to participate in our initiative to replace donkeys with tractors. We’ll see! If the kiln owners are still amenable when brick season starts in November, this will save more than 100 donkeys from lives of grueling labor and will be a huge coup.
Lastly, here’s a quick update on our new sanctuary. Above is ever-so-handsome Khillaria enjoying his new environs. All the shade trees have been planted and fitted with protective caging so that the bullocks won’t munch on them—you can see an example behind Khillaria. The iron fencing of all 10 acres is complete, the 50-foot-deep well has been dug, the temporary caretakers’ room has been built, one main shade canopy for the animals has been erected, and a second is underway. We are making progress!Please be a constant part of this if you can.
Twelve of the bullocks have already been moved to the new land, and they got a special treat this month when the monsoon rains brought lots of grass to the parched earth.
Through the generosity of our donors, Animal Rahat is able to save many wonderful living beings and relieve the pain of hundreds of animals every month. Thank you for caring about this important work.
P.S. Please visit AnimalRahat.com/Sanctuary today and consider sponsoring an animal or one of the exciting construction projects so that we can rescue even more animals from forced labor and abuse. Thank you!
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