Since then we have acquired one more rescue dog, 'Twilight'.
Where we live, in Goa there are many stray dogs and almost every trip out results in the girls spotting a particularly skinny dog, injured dog or dog infested with ticks, fleas or mange. These dogs are largely ignored by the locals or driven away by hurling stones.
Many times we have felt compelled to stop and and help an animal but its often difficult to know just what is the best thing to do.
This is why we decided to become volunteers for a local charity which works to improve the life of street dogs in Goa.
WAG 'Welfare for Animals in Goa' (https://www.facebook.com/groups/goapetlife/)(http://www.wagoa.com/index.html ) aim to provide health care for the homeless dogs in Goa by providing sterilization,vaccination,de worming,first aid and re homing when necessary. The girls and I have intially signed up for one of the biggest and most important jobs that WAG volunteers do and that is the feeding and monitoring of beach dogs during monsoon.
Every year Goa receives an influx of tourists from October through to May. During this time the beaches of Goa are lined with beach shack restaurants and the stray beach dogs live the good life with regular food from the shack kitchens and tourists.In May the tourists leave and the shacks come down ready for the onset of the monsoon. What happens to the dogs? They are left to fend for themselves for the next few months and many die of starvation or illness before the new season arrives.
This is where the 'WAG Monsoon Angels' step in. Volunteers work on a rota system to cook and deliver food to identified packs along the coast daily. The dogs which come for food regularly are collared and tagged with a WAG tags and their health is monitored by the WAG team.
We have been three times now to feed four packs on North Goa beaches. R has made notes on the location of each pack, names and health details for each dog. I was amazed how quickly she learned all the dogs names and how to recognize them. Both my girls have helped to feed, administer worming tablets and collar and tag the dogs. The great thing about children helping with this kind of work is that not only do they learn about animal care but they are more willing than adults to give something which is equally important to the dogs as food and health care and that is, time and attention. The beach dogs have had tourists fussing over them all season and now suddenly whole days go by without seeing a soul. Having a tummy rub and a cuddle makes the dogs day and my girls are never in a hurry to leave.
|Having some fuss.|
|A tasty meal for a hungry friend.|
One of WAG's recent success stories is of a mother cow and calf. The mother cow, Daisy, had eaten from rubbish containing battery acid and had burned her full mouth. Unable to eat she could not produce milk for her new calf, Guddi, so they were both starving to death until Atul Sarin, founder member of WAG, took them in. Along with help from his staff and other volunteers Daisy has been treated and given liquid food while Guddi has been bottle fed three times daily with fresh milk.
Volunteer Jill has been liquidizing watermelon for Daisy and helping daily with the bottlefeeding of Guddi.The dedication has paid off as both mother and baby are now doing well.
|Daisy and Guddi|
|Dry feed before cooking|
WAG are not the only charity making a difference in Goa. We recently attended a workshop held by Rani of Goa Dog Trust (http://goadogtrust.com/Our_Story.html ) (https://www.facebook.com/ILoveGoaDogs?fref=ts) to learn about animal care. Rani has devoted her life to helping animals in Goa and has saved thousands of lives. Like WAG she has set up feeding programs along the northern coastline of Goa and re homed countless dogs and cats.
At this workshop she brought along her friend Lama who had rescued a 3 week old kitten that needed foster care before going to a permanent home. R volunteered herself and now has the responsibilty of being mama for the next few weeks to this lucky kitty.
|Rani with the kitten|
Once kitty is strong enough R will have to say goodbye as he goes to his new home.
So, now let me tell you what I think are some of the things my girls have learned so far.
They now know that for every person who ignores a problem there is someone willing to take action to solve it and that they can be that person.
No matter who you are you can make a difference.
All animals deserve love and respect.
Animals give us unconditional love which we can also return.
Working as a team gets the job done.
Hard work can be rewarding.
If we learn for ourselves we can teach and help others.
There is love all around us if we are just willing to see....
We are proud to be playing our part in this noble cause. The teams of volunteers involved with WAG and Goa Dog Trust really are amazing and deserve support.
The dogs of Goa are so special. If you ever come for a beach holiday in Goa you will undoubtedly find a furry friend or two on your travels. Before you say goodbye please remember that a donation to a charity such as WAG or GDT could help save your new friends life after you leave.