I have often written in Arunachala Grace about the Arunachala Animal Sanctuary and Rescue Shelter here at Tiruvannamalai, and about the excellent, life saving and transforming changes they are making to many animals in these parts.
When asked what organisation is most worth supporting at Arunachala . . . I always put the Arunachala Animal Sanctuary at the top of the list.
I remember the days that "animal control" in these parts meant culling dogs by strangling them with garrote wire on the streets and then tossing the carcasses in the backs of bullock carts to be taken off to be incinerated. I remember the days when mange encrusted dogs lived a life of suffering in the sewers of this town. I can recall that when the wheels of a car or autorickshaw ran over a dog's legs that it always meant a certain death sentence for the poor creature.
The Arunachala Animal Sanctuary are controlling the numbers of street dogs in the area by offering free sterlisation operations. They participate in taking food out to feed starving homeless dogs living on the streets, bring in infested animals and board them while giving the suffering creatures mange and skin treatments. The Sanctuary is also responsible for finding forever homes for numerous puppies and previously unwanted dogs. In addition to sterlisations on Dogs; the Shelter also performs many different types of operations on cats, monkeys, cows, horses, goats and a host of other creatures.
The very best thing Arunachala Animal Sanctuary has done is to provide ongoing education to those at Tiruvannamalai about compassion and service to our animal brethren and it was through their intervention and education that horrific dog culling were stopped many years ago.
The Arunachala Animal Sanctuary desperately needs our financial support and in this respect please visit their page at this link here on the GlobalGiving website to learn more about how to help this organisation in their efforts to maintain and improve their care and service for our animals friends at Blessed Arunachala.
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“Beautiful April...Unadorned pulses from the Heart”
Project Report by Leslie Robinson—Founder/Director of the Arunachala Animal Sanctuary and Rescue Shelter
Dear, dear People:
Before beginning…Thank you for the caring. Thank you for the support. Thank you for giving us the energy to go on.
A lot of our Work has to do with lifting the karma of the animals. They are faced with such a heavy load. Indifference—Political. Bureaucratic. General…Outright cruelty...And on and on. A lot of the battles that we fight have to do with lifting that karma. Of changing things for them. You can see it happening as things get lighter and lighter for them. In those passages that are so heavy, and things get really tough, I try to remember that it's not situational, and it's not meaningless. It's really burning thru the obstacles for the Precious Ones. You can see it working as a lot of the heaviness lifts and things get better and better for them in Tiruvannamalai. Om Namah Shivaya.
It is such a blessing to be able to do this Work. There are so few times in life when one has the chance to participate in something that lifts so much suffering.
And the energy that comes back from these beautiful, innocent creatures…The love…Surrounds one with a gentle, protective, good-feeling bubble.
It’s such a blessing to feel these things. When I’m feeling “down”, traversing a difficult inner passage, feeling love/caring for these creatures as I’m walking along the street, is an affirmation of my humanity.
We’re going thru difficult times right now…a passage that had a beginning and has an end.
Getting to that state is very auspicious. It's a clear reflection of peoples' Hearts opening more and more to the Voiceless Ones.
The number of monthly emergency rescues have increased exponentially in the last two years…From 40 to between 80 and 110. Almost all are homeless dogs and puppies. It’s a strong sign that people have become much more aware and caring for these Precious Creatures. Can you imagine the significance of someone calling in and saying this homeless dog hasn’t been eating the last two days? I mean it's coming from a space ten years ago of almost complete indifference…Om Namah Shivaya.
And similarly, the number of monthly visits for treatment to our clinic has increased from an average of 300 two years ago, to between 550 and 750 now. These are mostly “owner dogs”. The owners' Hearts are opening more and more, too. Om Namah Shivaya.
So with this great blessing, the Transformation of a Community, comes an increase in the number of Precious Ones in-house--from between 75 and 100 two years ago to between 200 and 225, now.
The Voiceless Ones still feel safe, cared for, and loved…but they can’t run around like they used to….AND the skin conditions have gotten to an alarming level. (More later).
Our Number One priority is to get into a much bigger facility. That means purchasing land and building.
Amazingly enough, the Municipality Bureaucracy or the local Politicos couldn’t care less. For them there is "no problem" because the streets are so remarkably good. There’s probably no municipality in the Nation that has anything like this.
The reason things are so good is because we have a staff of 21, two full-time veterinary doctors…are doing 100 emergency rescues a month, seeing up to 750 cases for treatment each month in our clinic, going out up to 100 kms to find homes for our puppies, doing emergency rescue 24/7, treating and caring for over 200 creatures in-house, doing 60 to 100 sterilizations each month, and perhaps performing 5 to 10 complicated operations.
It’s an amazing arrogance.
When we opened ten years ago, the scene was the worst I’ve seen. 5000 (more, likely 7000) homeless dogs, and the population out of control. 350 suffering and dying creatures on the streets. Rabies. Starvation. No facility for treatment and care within 70 kms. A terrible relationship between the people and the animals. Widespread abuse. Many dog bites.
That is now all in the past. There are no more suffering and dying animals on the streets. The homeless dog population is decreasing for the first time in forty years, AND it is rabies-free. Widespread abuse is gone…and the relationship between the animals and the people amongst whom they live day in, day out is totally transformed. And there are 10,000 fewer puppies born each year, almost all of whom would have just suffered and died.
Each year it gets better and better. You can experience it just walking on the streets...frequent scenes of people stroking homeless dogs, speaking sweetly to them, giving them food are common. Almost unheard of ten years ago. Om Namah Shivaya.
And if the Shelter went down, it wouldn’t revert back to the awful scene that existed in 2007, but to a scene almost unimaginably worse. Just from the 100 emergency rescues not being done, the afflicted creatures, alone, would flood the streets. At the end of a year there would be 1200 to 1500 suffering and dying creatures, not the awful 350 from 2007.
It’s difficult to comprehend the monumental ignorance of the Municipal bureaucracy. It's true of many local bureaucracies and politicos in India…It’s slowly improving, but has a long, long way to go.
In the meantime, we have taken exceptional steps to protect, support, and care for our Precious Ones as we traverse this difficult terrain.
Because they run free, the skin diseases are passed back and forth. The overall situation facing us was that the skin conditions, primarily Mange, because of the overcrowding, has all of a sudden, in a matter of weeks jumped and gotten alarmingly out of hand. We saw that the incidence was so high that cases could not be handled individually because of the cross transfer of the disease. That all the Precious Ones, without exception, had to be treated at the same time (even if they did not have Mange) in a way that would eliminate cross transfer…in other words, that they all, without exception, had to be healed together.
So we embarked on the below protocol that has now been going for over three weeks.
We gave all 200 dogs/puppies medicated shampoos, and the next day all were coated with neem/sulfur oil. That is being done weekly for four weeks.
Adult dogs(with minor exceptions, e.g. old, etc. who will get tablets, weekly) will get Ivermectine pills for the first 15 days. Puppies will be treated differently.
Any adult dogs with active Mange after four weeks will be treated with Advocate (the main treatment in the West) which is very effective and very costly. (It requires a weekly application for four weeks. Whereas the Ivermectine costs 10 rupees a pill, or 150 rupees a dog, Advocate costs 800 rupees an application, or 3,200 rupees a dog.)
We have 20 to 25 cases of Fungal. I am not going into the treatment of the Fungal because it's more complicated. There are commonly five types, each requiring a different medication. If we treat them in a “traditional manner”, then scrapings and cultures must be done to classify. Elaine, our veterinary nurse, would do the work. However, it’s possible that they might be treated in a different way. (See discussion of Colloidal Silver, below).
For treatment of our most difficult cases we are calling in one of the foremost veterinary dermatologists in the Nation who is at the Madras Veterinary College and has a longterm relationship with Dr. Raja.
They’ve all had three baths at the writing of this Report…And, blessing of blessings, the itching has stopped, they’re all comfortable, their coats are looking much, much better, and it seems almost all are cured.
I’m including this blurb about Colloidal Silver, because I know a lot of you have interest in it thru the stories you've heard of a “miracle solution”.
A longtime, strong supporter (a head nurse at a large hospital in the States) told me a story of her cat that had a nagging respiratory infection…and she had her inhale some colloidal silver mist just two three times…and, bam, it went away.
She gave us a tube of high-quality colloidal silver gel. Dr. Raja applied it to a two month old puppy with mange that had very little hair. Almost miraculously, with just the one application, after three weeks, his coat had regenerated and the skin mange was cured. (I mentioned “skin mange” because there are two levels of the disease—skin and systemic).
There are a lot of anecdotal stories (none of them scientific) about colloidal silver curing a number of different ailments. However, on the basis of our one experience, we decided to order a hi-quality generator from one of the best companies that will produce ionic and colloidal silver at incredibly low cost. We hope to receive it soon.
My hopes for it are high. And it is simply not toxic. (The only negative side effect is in cases where people have totally overdosed…their skin turned blue. And this only happens in very few cases.) Humans ingest it one or two times a day, apply it to their skin, daily, inhale it for respiratory problems…and on and on.
If it fulfills its promise: (1) We’ll put it in the drinking water regularly to deal with systemic mange...(2) We’ll spray it on the dogs periodically to cover skin mange. (If a gel is required, it would be too expensive to buy hi-quality tubes. Fortunately, we could make our own gel with Aloe vera.)...(3) We might also include it periodically in decontaminating the Shelter.
It’s also been indicated that the Colloidal (or ionic) Silver will kill the microbes involved in Fugal. We have to test it. If it works, then we probably don’t have to classify the type of fungal, but can treat it generally. If not, then we have to treat it traditionally, and do scrapings, cultures, and classification.
Decontamination of the Shelter...
It has been done beyond anything required. It took three days. Solutions to decontaminate: floor, beddings, mattresses, etc…Also for three days (in the evenings from 7pm to 2:30am..ending this last Sunday 2:30am, the 12th) the entire Shelter, cages, grounds were gone over thoroughly by a professional with a strong flame gun. Vishwa oversaw the entire process. This process also handled the tic problem that was significant and is difficult to deal with.
Also, we feel that during this period the Voiceless Ones need more attention and caring. So Vishwa is going to hire 8 ladies, each to work half-days whose only job will be to give them that additional love and caring--massages, strokes, loving words…At this writing he’s found five and Elaine tells me they’re working out beautifully.
It is so Heartening that the Precious Ones still feel safe, cared for, and loved AND are happy…I place my head at the feet of our beloved Staff. I am so, so grateful.
Before closing…Some moving Heart stories.
Jansy was six months old when she was hit by a two wheeler. Poor baby really took a hit. In the head. She was unconscious when they brought her in. Dr. Raja didn’t think she was going to make it. She was in a coma for ten days. Clinging to life. Concussion. Potential nerve damage. Eyeball hanging out. Skull fracture…In intensive care we stroked her. Whispered to her, ”Come sweet Jansy. Hang on. You’re with very good people. Waiting for you to come back." Played chants. Gave i.v.’s for nutrition. Spinal injections for controlling brain inflammation. Neurobion-vitamins to boost nervous system. Pain killers. Reiki.
First signs that she might make it. Started moving her head a little. And then moving the body. Slowly. Slowly. She started coming back to us. Several more days and she turned on her stomach. A few more and she sat up. Then she started eating a little. She was comfortable with us and clearly felt safe. After 3 ½ weeks she started trying to stand. Then started taking her first steps after several more days. She was indrawn, but content. We let her walk around in isolation a week. Encouraging her. Stroking and kissing. Then she was ready for the veranda. Resting on one of the straw mattresses. A lot of puppies out there. A lot of snuggling. Warming up. She started responding. Forming some relationships. Walking around. Resting. Playing gently. Going off alone occasionally to just rest in repose…And then, she was bounding around with the rest. Welcome back dear Jansy.
Two months of slow, steady recovery…and sweet Jansy went home. Sweet, sweet Jansy. Be a good girl, Jansy. And be happy.
Dadda was eleven or twelve when he came to us. Someone saw him lying in a ditch by the roadside and called. Vishwa brought him in. His back was broken and he was barely alive. After several days in intensive care-i.v.’s, painkillers, nutrition…the works, we brought him into a “trafficked” area, where for one or two months he laid motionless on his side. For some strange reason the puppies used to come and pee right next to him.
Frequently we’d kneel down, and whisper in his ear, “I love you. You’re such a fine boy. You’re in a safe place now. We’re good people, and we’ll protect you the rest of your life”. After a long time, it could have been as much as two months, but no shorter than one, he could be turned over on his stomach and rest that way. And, perhaps it was a sign, the puppies stopped peeing next to him! In the meantime Dr. Raja was treating him allopathically and ayurvedically. And he was getting spinal injections, and normal massages.
I remember his first real sign of recovery was that for a short while he became a bit of a tyrant. He got so much love. And he had the oddest walk. Every once in a while his back legs would just fall over sideways. But it’s his Heart and his personality that were so endearing. He was a strange mixture of sweetness incarnate, and a real grouch…but mostly sweetness. He truly was colorful…and so, so loveable.
Thank you dear Dadda for gracing us with your presence.
We named her Bella. She came to us last week. A driver from Rangammal Hospital told us that there was a serious problem with a monkey and her newborn baby. Ramesh (one of our best) and Velu went out. A young female had given birth in a bamboo tree. On the way down she was grievously pierced in the stomach, and died. Bella was taking milk from her on the ground. People were standing around crying.
She was only two hours old when we got her back to the Shelter. Sweet, loving Sugana will be her surrogate mom. She’ll carry her around much of the time. She’ll sleep with her. And the babe has to be fed every half-hour around the clock. (Sugana is looking tired, but never, never, never complains. Bless you Sugana.) Sugana is our surrogate mom for infants, mostly puppies and monkeys. I first heard the story from her. She had the innocent sweetie with her. She was tiny, tiny, tiny. I snuggled and gave her “machine gun kisses…and gently said protective mantras.
She’ll be with Sugana for three or four months.
We had a discussion about Bella at the Monday morning staff meeting, today. There was concern because she has had virtually no experience with monkeys, only humans. So we’re going to start introducing her to monkeys within two or three weeks.
Well dear People, we've come to the end...
We're under big pressure to get into a much larger facility, and that means land ($75,000), and building ($250,000). I'm thinking that the fastest we could do it is in four to six months.
If you know Bill Gates or Warren Buffett, call them...If you know Ratan Tata, Rockefeller, or a gadzillionaire that loves animals, call them.
If you have contact with my Mother, tell her to send my Piggy Bank.
Anything you can do would be great...If it's not money...Prayers...But this is real and it's big.
As in prior Reports...we've pulled together some good photos...The theme, as in the past, is Love...Enjoy
Blessings, love, and wishes for all things, good,
Leslie, The Ageing Expatriate Warrior
|Friendship at Shelter|
|Just let me hold on|
|Shelter Supervisor Raja|
|Shelter Manager Vishwa|
|A picture is worth a 1000 words|
|Dog suffering with Manage|
|Same Dog after 2 months of treatment|
|Adopt a Dog from the Shelter|