Volunteering in Goa supporting animal welfare

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A spay-a-thon in Goa - Part 1

Thu 10th Nov 2016

We were delighted to receive this blog from Farida Kaptein who has recently volunteered with us in Goa after receiving a bursary from our bursary sponsor Centaur Services.

It has only been a week since I left for Goa to join the WVS team on their great effort to reduce the stray dog population and are working side by side with Mission Rabies to make Goa rabies free. But it feels longer, in a positive way! So much has already been accomplished and I’ve met so many wonderful  people and have seen so many dogs already with an earnotch ( meaning these dogs are spayed/neutered and vaccinated against rabies!). It has been truly inspiring. But, also there is still a lot of work to be accomplished.

The clinic that was once founded by John Hicks who sadly past away, has been taken over by WVS and will be used as an International Training Centre for veterinarians from all over the world to gain more surgical skills. This has already been achieved by WVS in Ooty, India. Their methodology proves to be highly succesful - Animals are being spayed, neutered or otherwise treated, which will improve their lives and there will be more great vets in the world. It really is a win win situation!

Of course the first day is a bit slow and sometimes even a bit chaotic, as everybody in that team will have to find out what is working best and safest. We all have to get used to each other, but all in all it is going great! The guys who were already working at the Hicks centre turn out to be vet nurses extraordinaire - Placing IV catheters, shaving with a razorblade and all in all, are able to prep the dogs. I am really impressed!

The first day we were able to help around 20 animals, one of which is a young pup which sadly had an injured eye that had to be removed, but is doing really well now! Unfortunately, with the large volume of cars and dogs, of course accidents happen and some have such an impact on dogs, that they will have to potentially have limbs removed. We had 2 of those types of surgeries and I am very happy to say that both dogs are doing very well! 

Oh! so many things have happened in this short time and more things will happen, so I quit for now but soon, will be happy to tell you more about this WVS Goa adventure that was made possible by the kindest support of Centaur! Thank you so much!

When we were picked up, to be brought to the place where we will be living, the first thing I’ve noticed is the amazing amount of traffic and the craziness of the driving style here in Goa. The roads are really busy with cars, people on bikes or on foot, cows and off course many, many, many dogs. The amount of stray dogs here was really overwhelming and I’ve been fortunate enough to have seen some places in the world. Of course, once you know about the earnotch, you will try to check out every dog you meet on your way and I was very impressed with the amount of dogs that already had received an earnotch

It is very obvious, from a far distance to see which dog had already been spayed or neutered because of the overall appereance of the dogs - earnotched dogs are just more healthy. They have a better bodyweight, more improved skin condition and it is nice to know that these dogs have been vaccinated against the deadly rabies virus.

Of course, we are here to spay and neuter with the WVS team - so it's time to visit the clinic, where we will spend most of the month performing surgeries on strays. The centre is really impressive and has a lot of potential, but it does need some work. However, the Indian people working in the centre are super motivated and take pride in their work (and they should be proud!). 

The plan is that the Mission Rabies team are going out to catch and vaccinate dogs every day, even if it is monsoon time or in the summer heat (and the summers here are hot and humid!) and will bring us the dogs they find which have not yet been operated on. It is very important that the dog catchers know exactly where the dogs have come from, so all of the dogs will receive their own unique code. Then, their exact GPS location is tagged in the WVS app that the dog catchers use, so all of the dogs get returned to the exact same spot, as this also helps with remaining a stable dog population in that certain area.