Monday, 22 December 2008

My friend Boris

Hello hello!

Can you believe it's Christmas already? Time just flies and before you know it another year has gone by. We are bracing ourselves for a challenging year in 2009. I hear everyone talk about global financial trouble, terrorist threats in India scaring tourists off and I fear this means that we won't see as many new faces at the centre as we're used to and that makes me really sad.

BorisI have my own personal challenge to face with my 'friend' Boris. Boris was abandoned outside the gates of International Animal Rescue in August and was admitted to be sterilised and then put up for adoption. He was in the kennels for ages and gained the sympathy of all the volunteers so when no one had adopted him after a while they convinced the staff to make him a centre dog. That's where the challenge started as far as I'm concerned! Boris very quickly decided that he wanted to be the leader of the pack around here and subsequently he gave the rest of us loads of grief. Sometimes he’d even attack us for no apparent reason! I tried to put him in his place a couple of times but with no back up from the others I soon had to realise that he's much stronger than me and back down. Even Tina, who normally is the last one to approve of a new arrival – if indeed she ever does! – has accepted him and has sometimes even been seen succumbing to his verbal warnings for her to back off.

OliveThree months on and we've all come to accept that Boris isn't going to give up on his claim to the top position in the hierarchy and I must admit that he seems to have mellowed a bit. He can be quite fun sometimes actually because he's very clever and knows lots of tricks on how to chase stray cattle or monkeys for a thrill! He climbs up on the surgery roof and cuts off the path of the monkeys and it's so much fun to watch the monkeys trying to escape his attention so they can get through. He's too smart for them though. These little games have us all up and running and we have a great time. I guess what I’m trying to say here is that although Boris can be a bit of a handful to deal with at times, he’s also livened things up a bit around here, which I guess isn't such a bad thing.

I wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy new year. I look forward to staying in touch with you all in 2009!

Bye for now!

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Puppy love at Christmas

Hi there!

Well, Christmas is drawing near and as always this is a busy time for all at the centre in Assagao.

Happy puppy We have lots of volunteers who come up to walk the dogs, care for the puppies and play with us. We currently have three girls working in our puppy section making sure they are all treated for worms, fleas and ticks and to pamper them to make their stay at the centre a fun and comfortable one. They also help the people who come to adopt the puppies to make sure they pick the right puppy. The pups all have different personalities and some people want a lively and naughty one and others want a gentle and loving one.

Puppy in food bowlAll the puppies adopted from the centre are sterilised and vaccinated free of charge by IAR and they also get free treatment for a year if they fall sick. After all, we want to make sure the little ones have as good a life as possible once they leave the centre so we need to support the new owners. We also want to encourage local people to adopt a local breed dog and save a life, rather than seek out breeders who charge a bomb for a pedigree pup that will continue to cost the owner a lot of money in special care. After all, we local breed dogs are sturdy and used to the Indian climate. We're not fussy about what we eat and we rarely fall sick. We are very loyal and excellent guard dogs so there is absolutely no excuse not to pick one of us!

Kitten and puppyI feel so lucky to have been saved by the people at the centre because heaven knows what fate would have been in store for me had I not been rescued. It sends chills down my spine just thinking about it. What's worse is that I am but one of the lucky ones. Far too many pups are abandoned to fend for themselves, few of which survive, so naturally it warms all of our hearts when a puppy finds a loving home.

Oh look, the bone man just arrived! That means we all get a bone to chew but only if we get there before he runs out so I’d better run over and make sure I get mine!

Will be in touch again soon!

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Goodbye Sandy and Sfinx!

Hello hello!

I’m just so excited about sharing my news with you today. As you know I’m just one dog in a big family of dogs who live at the centre in Goa. We were all rescued either as pups or as adult dogs and because we had nowhere to go or couldn’t fend for ourselves owing to injuries or other ailments the staff here in Assagao decided to take us under their wing and give us a second chance. All we have to do in return for food, shelter and lots of cuddles and treats is to protect the centre from intruders and make sure we meet and greet all our visitors with lots of enthusiasm.

SandySometimes a visitor will fall in love with one of us centre dogs and offer to take us home. Although life as a centre dog is great, the prospect of going to a loving home to be someone’s pet is very special. The staff are very protective of us because we are part of the family here, so they always make sure that the new home is a good and loving one. On one hand it is a happy occasion when one of us gets selected for adoption, but on the other we are also a bit sad to see a good friend go. Recently we said goodbye to not just one but two of our centre dog buddies - Sandy and Sfinx.

Sandy had been rescued by an English lady as a small puppy and she had kept her until she left to go back to England. The lady promised to come back for Sandy and she went to a temporary home in the meantime. Sadly, the former owner never returned for Sandy and she ended up back at the centre when her foster home couldn’t keep her any longer. She had survived the parvo virus twice, as well as overcome the mental trauma of being abandoned and so she became a centre dog because she deserved some happiness and peace in her life.

Sfinx was admitted at the centre as a small puppy and instantly captured the heart of Israeli volunteer Gal who spent every day at the centre making sure that all puppies received 5-star treatment. Gal was distraught to see Sfinx grow bigger and bigger with no one turning up to adopt her and she was concerned what her fate would be once she went home to Israel. She asked staff about the possibility of making Sfinx a centre dog but because she was so young it all boiled down to whether or not Sfinx could stand up to the much older and bigger centre dogs. Luckily Sfinx turned out to have the right combination of tough cookie and a gentle nature to make her able to get on with the others just fine.

Sandy and Sfinx struck up an instant friendship and became virtually inseparable. The played together, slept together and stuck up for each other. Now I have to admit that I thought they were a bit too much and I didn’t particularly get on with them because their friendship got on my nerves and they never allowed me to play with them, but nevertheless it was good to see them settle in so well.

One day it looked like the perfect friendship was about to be broken: a lady in Assagao had asked if she could adopt Sandy. She was alone in a big house and wanted a dog for company and protection. Luckily staff recognised that breaking Sandy and Sfinx up would be heartless so they had a word with the lady who agreed to take both of them. So the story saw a happy ending for all parties and since Sandy’s and Sfinx’s departure the centre dog group have welcomed Boris, Stella and Stevie into the gang. There is a limit to how many dogs the centre can support so, whilst it’s always a bit sad for everyone to say goodbye to our friends, it’s great to know that with each one finding a new home a space opens to give another abandoned dog a second chance.

As for me, some one has to stay around and keep the rest in order! Must dash, bye for now...

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Meet Rod, a true survivor

Hello everyone!

It's time for a little update from life at our rescue centre in Assagao, Goa. It has suddenly gotten very busy around here now that the tourist season has started and more people bring animals and visit the centre. We have a wonderful team of volunteers who come daily to walk all the dogs and care for the puppies and kittens. They always find time to play with me and give me a cuddle and they also bring treats so we're getting spoiled rotten up here these days!

Rod receiving treatment at the International Animal Rescue centre in GoaI want you all to meet Rod who was brought to the centre in September with multiple fractures to his front and hind legs. He was in a really bad state but his caretaker had pleaded with our vets to do their best to save him. He has undergone orthopaedic surgery and had his legs pinned. He was unable to walk for so long but is recovering well and should hopefully be able to go home soon.

The astounding thing about Rod is that despite his physical and mental trauma he is still a happy and friendly dog thanks to all the care he has received from our volunteers. In the beginning he was frightened and his fear turned to aggression. He started associating people with pain because every time he saw a human being it was a vet or a nurse treating him or a kennel boy scrubbing his cage. He lacked loving attention and started growling at everyone.

Luckily a volunteer, Jan, took him under her wing and has spent countless hours pampering him and taking him out for a bit of exercise and playtime. Rod has started to love life again and he is the happiest little dog again.

Rod, on the road to recoveryIt is still uncertain when Rod will be able to go back to his caretaker but hopefully it won't be too long. His pins have come out so now he just needs to build up the strength in his legs again. Until then no doubt Jan will continue to ensure that his time at the centre is the best it can be.

Things have finally picked up in the vet department again (we have been short of vets since spring and unable to find suitable replacements for the ones we lost) and we are almost back to a full team of vets. That means that the wheels have started turning faster again and more dogs get sterilised, which is great. I'm busy making sure the new vets pick me as their favourite centre dog and they already seem to love me.

All the other centre dogs are doing great although we all suffer a bit in the heat these days. Hopefully the weather will cool down soon. Moti has been treated for a urine infection which caused her to be incontinent but she's fine now.

Boris has finally settled in properly and has stopped fighting with everyone, although he still tends to throw his weight around a little too much for my liking!

I will be in touch again soon.

Lots of love

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Welcome to my blog!

Hi there, my name is Olive Oyl and I'm a member of the family at International Animal Rescue's centre in Goa, India. You may have met me before - I've become a bit of a celebrity during the past couple of years - but in case you haven't, I'll tell you a bit about myself...

Me having a well deserved meal at the IAR centreI was picked up by an IAR rescue team in the town of Mapusa in the autumn of 2005 - just one of thousands of stray pups born in India and left to fend for themselves. I ended up at the local rubbish dump where I tried to stay alive by eating anything I could find that was remotely edible.

My chances of survival were slim - I'd been hit by a lorry as I tried to dodge through the speeding traffic on a busy road and was weak from the terrible pain in my leg. It’s hard enough to stay alive on the streets at the best of times, let alone when you’re sick and injured.

Luckily one day the IAR ambulance crew spotted me. By then I could hardly move and was lying curled up, waiting to die. But my rescuers gently picked me up and took me to the clinic in Assagao where I received immediate treatment and lots of loving care to get me back on my feet. Then - as if things weren't bad enough already - I became really sick with distemper (a viral disease that affects the nervous system and can be fatal). It's a highly contagious disease and staff at the centre were scared that I might infect the other dogs. I was kept all alone in quarantine and given loads of different medicines and a special diet to help me fight the virus.

On the road to recoveryI can't deny that my first month at the centre was really miserable. Not only was I frightened by the unfamiliar surroundings, I also had to undergo orthopaedic surgery on my leg, fight a lethal virus and deal with the fear and pain without knowing if I was ever going to get better. The staff and volunteers at the centre were great though. They pampered me and gave me endless cuddles and words of encouragement. I have to say I didn't like it much at first. I wasn't used to human contact so I was baffled by their constant need to pick me up and stroke me! But I soon learned what a nice feeling it is (and not just for the humans!) and I gradually craved more and more love and attention.

Enjoying life at the IAR centreToday I've recovered completely from all my illnesses. My leg is fine now - I can run, jump and play just like any other dog - and I managed to fight the distemper virus. I’ve been left with a slight twitch in my neck but I’m used to that now. If nothing else I find it gives me more pulling power when the cuddles are handed out. People can’t help but look at me and go "Awww….and who’s that little darling!?" I love it!

Anyway, enough about me. I'll be posting regular updates on the comings and goings at the centre. Hopefully you’ll find it interesting reading. There’s going to be loads of gossip about the dogs and cats and cows and... so check my blog regularly.

Bye for now!