Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Celestial story from Goa

Dearest friends,

It's Christmas and I'm just SO excited! There’s always a special atmosphere at the centre during the festive season. Although there are both Hindu and Christian people working, everyone takes part in the celebrations and no one forgets the centre dogs so we get lots of treats!

Celeste and her pupsI want you to say hello to Celeste and her family. She was brought in just a few days ago because she had delivered her little pups close to a very busy road so there was danger the little ones might run onto the road and get run over.

Celeste now faces a few weeks at Animal Tracks because we cannot separate her from her pups until they are at least six weeks old and can be put up for adoption. The pups are only a couple of weeks old now so for now Celeste must be patient and wait. While she waits she will be sterilised so she doesn't have to give birth to any more pups.

It is strenuous for her to have to feed and care for so many pups and she needs her strength to survive as a street dog. I can tell you, that is a challenge even without pups to look after! I’ve been there so I know what a tough world it is out there.

With five little ones to care for her time at the centre will be hard. The staff do all they can to protect the family but with so many infections and diseases floating around, some of which are airborne, chances are that not all the pups will remain healthy.

Their immune systems cannot cope with it all and sometimes vets are forced to face the tough decision to let the strongest have the chance to survive and find homes and relieve the weak ones of their suffering. It breaks my heart every time. I feel so sorry for the mother who loses her baby but also for the vet who has to take the painful step. We must all remember that each case is unique and we have to maintain our vision and our belief that what we do is for the best in the grand scheme of things.

I was lucky I made it because I was very sick when I was brought to Animal Tracks and it was only thanks to the perseverance of the staff here that I am still here today. I really hope for the best for this little family. I will write to you again to let you know what happens with them all.

Love from Olive

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Snakes alive in Goa!

The tourist season is in full swing in Goa and, with Christmas just around the corner, Goa plays host to thousands of visitors, Indian and foreign alike. All these people come to enjoy the sun, sea and sand, but sadly tourists are also likely to face a rather dismal side to Goa. Animals are used as entertainment to amuse tourists and, although the issue of animal welfare is penetrating deeper into the minds of many people, there are still those who cannot resist the temptation of having their photo taken with an elephant or a snake.

CobraOn Sunday three snakes - two cobras and a sand boa - were brought to Animal Tracks for observation and treatment. They were rescued by a member of staff who caught a snake charmer on Candolim Beach when she was on her way home. This was not the snake charmer's first offence - he has been caught before - but because the law is not enforced by the local authorities he is no danger of facing prosecution and is therefore free to continue this horrible trade.

In most cases the snakes that are brought in are half dead from starvation and septicaemia contracted when their fangs are brutally pulled out to protect the charmer. In this case however the snakes were in a relatively good condition and chances are they can be released when they have been observed for a little while.

I get really upset when I see these poor creatures come in. I'm terrified of the snakes, don't get me wrong, and I don't go anywhere near them, but I can almost feel their pain when I watch them being examined and I see they have no fangs and sometimes also wounds on their bodies after being beaten by the charmers.

I truly hope these snakes can be released soon so they can go back to the life they are meant to lead - free and happy in the jungle.

Lots of Christmas wishes from


Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Little orphan calf learns to cope with help from his friends

As I'm writing this story it is still unknown what the outcome will be but it's so heartbreaking that we’re all praying it will be a good one.

Orphaned calfThis little fella was brought to Animal Tracks with his mother a while ago. The mother had suffered an injury to her leg and what initially looked like a simple procedure and recovery soon turned from bad to worse because it turned out she was also carrying a serious infection which affected her internal organs and made her very sick. As this was unknown to the vets at first they didn't become aware of this until she was too sick to recover. Sadly she didn't make it and her little baby was left orphaned. He was so young and still depended on her. Sometimes in these cases a surrogate mother can be found but no other mothers were at the centre at the time so it was up to the staff to act like the new guardians.

The baby was given all the care possible and although he was doing well physically there was no doubt that he was suffering emotionally. All I had to do was walk up to his pen and look into his eyes to see how sad he was. It’s such a big world out there and facing it alone must be so scary.

The staff and volunteers have all done their best to ensure that the little friend has a gentle and safe start to life without his mother. Indeed all the centre dogs seem to do their bit too. We occasionally lie outside his pen and tell him about all the great things life has to offer and that all hope is not lost.

There are several possibilities with regards to his future. Maybe he can be released back with his herd. Maybe he’ll be put up for adoption and be taken care of by a local family who most probably will have other cows and bulls in their care. In any case he has to be fit and strong to cope with life before a decision is made.

I for my part will continue to try to cheer him up and I'll definitely let you know what happens. Fingers crossed my next story about this wee fella will be a happy one.

Woofs from Olive