The spay and neuter initiative is one of the most important aspects of our work.
This procedure sometimes goes unnoticed, but we have experienced the great positive impact it makes here. Eight years ago all you could see here was sick puppies, skinny nursing moms suffering from mange, and male dogs fighting viciously for females in heat. If you come to Rishikesh now, you will see healthy and happy dogs. Spay and neuter helps slow population growth – we can feed, treat, vaccinate, rescue, care and love more animals when we are not trying to keep up with an endless population. Spay also reduces health risks like complicated pregnancies and TVTs (cancerous tumors that spread while mating). Neuter makes male dogs less aggressive and territorial. As a result, the dogs are healthier and more welcomed by locals. After getting sterilized, many stray dogs find loving caretakers or even get adopted.
When we first started our initiative in 2014 we had no clinic. It was hard as some animals needed constant supervision and special care that could not be provided on site. Also, we needed a space to perform life saving surgeries as well as essentials operations like spay and neuter. Now, we have our own small and humble clinic where we can do all that. It has an operating theater, two separate rooms where patients can stay for after care, as well as a jungle courtyard for daily walks and outside play time. All street animals receive free treatment, and we also offer donation or free services to pet owners who cannot afford necessary medical care for their animals. Our clinic provides all sorts of services like spay, neuter, chemotherapy, removal of tumors, treating diseases, broken bones and so much more!
Vaccination is one of our main focuses because it protects the whole community from deadly viruses. All around India, people and stray dogs still die of rabies, and we do our best to stop and prevent rabies in our city. Every dog that we treat or sterilize gets vaccinated for rabies as well as distemper and parvovirus that are also extremely contagious and deadly viruses. This part of our work requires constant upkeep and organization as we have records of each of the hundreds of dogs we vaccinate every year.
Every day Karma Animal Trust feeds the street dogs of Rishikesh. There are 5 large areas that we cover, and we also provide dog food to locals and volunteers to help. Feeding is essential for monitoring health, vaccinations and sterilization. This gives us an opportunity to create relationships and bonds with our patients so we can more easily treat them when the time comes.
Street work is a big part of our daily work. We get hundreds of calls and messages every year for rescues and onsite treatment, and we try to help as many animals as we phisically can. Our team is always equipped with medical supplies to able to treat all kind of injuries: from small cuts to infected wounds to accidents involving vehicles.
In Rishikesh, there are many abandoned, homeless cows roaming around in search of food. Our team feeds and cares for them and other abandoned animals like horses and mules. We battle with wounds, disease and road accidents frequently and do everything we can to help these gentle giants. Our clinic does not have space to keep large animals in it, so most of them get their treatments onsite, and some are being fostered in ashrams for the time we are treating them.