Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Bonnie the dog survives to see in the New Year

Hello friends!

Merry Christmas! Hope you are all enjoying the festive season. I speak for everyone here at Animal Tracks, staff and animals alike, in wishing you all the best for the New Year.

BonnieBonnie the dog will definitely have a very happy Christmas this year. She came dangerously close to not even surviving that long when she accidently ate some rat poison. Rat poison kills numerous animals all the time and the vets here at the clinic see many cases where pets are brought in with poisoning. Depending on the size of the animal, the amount of poison consumed and the period lapsed since the consumption, poisoning can be very tricky to cure.

Luckily Bonnie's owners actually saw her eating the poison and took swift action. They called the centre and were told to bring Bonnie in immediately for treatment.

Doctor Manik was ready to receive her when she arrived and started treating her straight away. She was given intravenous medication and her owners were asked to bring her in every day for two weeks for follow up treatment.

It was much to Bonnie's advantage that she is a young, fit dog because she responded to the treatment fast and recovered over the two week period. After the ordeal Bonnie's owners brought her in for vaccination so no doubt Bonnie will be tucking in to some lovely Christmas treats this year to comfort her after her ordeal.

Love from me,

Olive x

Monday, 6 December 2010

Capering cow gives rescuers the run around

Hello everyone!

I guess by now you are all dazzled by tinsel and fairy lights in the run up to Christmas. That means that you are probably wearing warm scarves and hats to keep out the winter chill. Can't say that we're struggling to keep warm here in Goa. Surprisingly though we are still seeing a few monsoon showers which is very unusual for this time of year.

Julie the cow following surgerySay hi to Julie. This madam has certainly given the staff at Animal Tracks a challenge right from beginning to end. A message came in from a regular supporter who had spotted Julie running around with an in-grown horn. The horn was digging deep into the flesh and she was in urgent need of medical attention. It was not easy to help her though because she refused to be caught. It took four attempts before our staff had any luck. On the fourth attempt our vet Nikhil, nurse Myla and driver Shivnath went to the rescue.

Julie had them running around for three hours before she let herself be caught. Since it had already been established on previous attempts that this was not going to be an easy task, it was decided to dart Julie to sedate her. Only Julie didn't plan on giving in without a fight, so she ran up a hill and into the wilderness. During the attempt to catch her Shivnath fell and incurred serious injuries while he was trying to prevent her from escaping yet again. Even though she was sedated she still managed to shake the vehicle almost to pieces when she was finally on her way to Assagao.

Julie having her horn cut down to sizeThe team returned to Animal Tracks at 9pm in the evening, exhausted but pleased that they had managed to catch Julie. She was treated the following morning and the horn was cut off. She stayed at the centre for a few days for follow up treatment but has now been released. At least she can now run around like a mad hatter as much as she likes, healthy and free from pain!

Love from me,

Olive x

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

There’s no place like home for Jackie and Joan

Hello again!

Yesterday was the first day of ‘freedom’ for our new friends the Collins sisters.

Jackie and Joan with their new friendsVolunteers Jan and Nigel let them out of their pen and the pair meekly followed them to the information centre. They have gradually been getting used to the sights and sounds and spending time with the rest of us. But this time, for the first time, the gate was left open so that they were free to wander around.

All went very well. Jan stayed close by to observe how things were going and from time to time the two girls came over to reception and had a good sniff around. I made a point of staying with them all morning, just to help them settle in. And even Peggy was helpful and introduced the girls to the smells and characters around them.

At lunchtime the gate to the information area was closed so they would not follow Jan and Nigel when they left and made their way back home. But only minutes later Krishna, our lovely head of kennels, was on the phone to them to say Joan had run off.

Me and JackieSix members of staff were tracking her through the jungle but she would not allow them to get near.

Nigel and Jan arrived on the scene. Krishna thought their smell might entice Joan to come home. But even with Nigel in hot pursuit through the jungle Joan wandered further and further out of reach.

Eventually the search party had to give up and return to the centre. But Jan made one last walk around the paths nearby and within a few minutes she spotted a little white face peering at her through the undergrowth. Joan was indeed making her way back to IAR and was beside herself with joy to be escorted back. Jan and Nigel settled her in then set off back home.

Two hours passed and a crazy storm came from nowhere, torrential rain, rolling thunder and cracking lightning and the daylight disappeared. And during the ensuing downpour, suddenly it was noticed that Jackie was missing...

So the team returned through the rain. Some of the boys were out looking but there was no sign of her. The search party split up and set off calling Jackie's name but fearing the worst as she was out lost and alone in a storm.

Then in the distance Nigel spied a brown form heading through the bushes in his direction... Yes Jackie was returning.

Jackie and Joan amongst friends (Photo: Jan Palmer)To everyone's relief she meekly toddled into reception and Abby wrapped her in a towel and welcomed her back.

The staff could only speculate about what we dogs already knew - that the girls had both felt the need to go and check out the location in order to realise that their new home was the best place to be. And so they had returned after getting their bearings and familiarising themselves with their surroundings.

Jackie and Joan were both exhausted but happy to be back – and we were all so relieved too that they were safe. Let’s hope they don’t scare us like that again, now they realise that there is no place like home, particularly when your home is with International Animal Rescue!

Bye for now,

Olive x

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Meet Mongi the mongoose

Hello dear friends!

Here's a short tale about one of the more unusual visitors to our Animal Tracks centre - a mongoose who was brought in as just a tiny scrap of new born life.

Mongi the mongooseNo one thought Mongi would make it but Manik and Abbey, two of the brilliant Animal Tracks team, dedicated themselves to saving the little guy. He needed round the clock attention, so Manik took him home in the evenings to feed him through the night.

Against all the odds he thrived and grew to adore his two surrogate mums. Mongooses are very intelligent and inquisitive and Mongi loves nothing more than to play, fight and interact with his human friends much like a kitten would. He has been raised mainly on a diet of cat food but will be snacking on insects, lizards and snakes when he goes back to the jungle.

So it is with mixed feelings that we have to say goodbye to Mongi, but he is a wild animal not a pet and will have an excellent chance of survival and meeting a mate now thanks to everyone at the centre.

He left us yesterday and is now living in a safe transitional house where he will gradually be allowed more and more freedom and the opportunity to find his own food and choose when he's ready to make his own way in the big wild world.

More from me soon,

Olive x

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Celebrity sisters stay together at the centre

Hello hello!

Jackie and JoanHere’s a sweet story with a 'happy ever after' ending that I’m sure you'll enjoy.

When UK volunteers Jan and Nigel came back to Goa in August they noticed that there were two additional dogs on the 'patch' where they walk their own dogs near to Vagator beach.

One of them - they called her Joan - had a burn to one entire front leg and looked like she had had hot fat or water thrown over it. The other, Jackie, obviously her sister, had a large maggot infested mammary tumour so Jan and Nigel did the right thing and brought her to the centre for treatment. They treated the burn injury themselves with medication and advice from the vets, but first of all they took photographs to show them so that they could prescribe the right treatment. This carried on for two months but the wound was not healing properly. By this time Jackie's tumour had been removed and she was healthy and ready for release.

They asked around locally and heard that both dogs had been seen being dumped from a car during the monsoon. They are very old and as both were sick they were probably too much trouble for their callous owner.

The other established beach pack dogs had given the old sisters a hard time and they were far from welcome. So it was with heavy hearts that Jan and Nigel took the recovered Jackie back to the beach and brought Joan in for help to heal the burnt leg.

But Jackie was frightened and hated being back without Joan and cried so pitifully that a tourist called the centre suspecting she had rabies, so within a couple of hours both sisters were back together at the centre!

Of course Jan and Nigel  immediately recognised Jackie and knew she wasn’t ill at all. So it was decided that they could stay together and share a pen until Joan was also fit to go.

Weeks later the couple prepared to take them back, but with great misgivings about their fate, as they had no status with the other dogs and would be in danger every day, apart from having to rely on Jan and Nigel for food. But at the last minute, as they were getting ready to leave, John Hicks noticed the pair with the two dogs and offered them a lift in his car (two dogs and two people on a scooter can be awkward!)

But when they told him the story he also instantly fell for the old girls and so now it has been agreed by everyone at the centre that Joan and Jackie Collins, as they are affectionately known, will become centre dogs and spend the remainder of their days as part of the resident IAR family.

So all that remains now is for the old girls to get to know the rest of us dogs and settle down to life with the gang. Obviously there is a limit to how many of us are lucky enough to stay forever at Animal Tracks, but these two old ladies couldn’t be more deserving candidates to join our happy family.

Don't you just love a happy ending!

Olive x

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Volunteer student vets give full marks to Goa

Hello hello!

It’s been a while, so here’s a lovely message from Stephanie and Jo, two new friends I made recently when they came and helped out at the centre. Come again soon girls!

Olive x

Volunteer Stephanie and puppyMy friend Jo and I spent two weeks volunteering at Animal Tracks in August. We are vet students at the London Vet School, now in our fourth year, and came out to do work experience. It was a fantastic placement for us and we really enjoyed it. As well as walking dogs and playing with countless cute puppies, we were allowed to watch all the operations, help the nurses with their duties (placing IV catheters and giving injections etc), and we also got daily responsibility over several of the kennel blocks - checking wounds and giving treatments. Our practical skills improved immensely, and we saw so many things we'll never see working with animals in the UK. It was very eye-opening! As well as spay and castrate operations, we watched some orthopaedic surgery, which was fascinating.

Volunteer Jo in the dog kennelsWe were made very welcome, and it was just a shame we were only there for a fortnight. We definitely want to return! (And maybe not in the monsoon next time!)

During our trip to India we also visited the monkey sanctuary and in Bangalore we went to see the Bannerghatta Bear Rescue Centre, where many of India's dancing bears now live their lives in peace. These were both more great examples of IAR's wonderful work with animals in India.

Thank you very much to International Animal Rescue for letting us experience the amazing work you do.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Paulin protects his family from Sweetie protecting hers!

Hello all,

I hope that what I bring you today will turn out to be a little sunshine story but as yet this remains unknown. In any case what ever happens there are good parts to this story.

Sweetie and her pupiesSay hi to Sweetie. She's a young bitch who recently had a litter in the garage of a man called Paulin. Although Sweetie is a stray dog, Paulin didn't mind her taking care of her pups in his garage, so he let her be and even brought out a little food for her every day so she could stay strong and fit. Everything was fine until the pups started moving around. Sweetie became very protective of her little ones and started biting Paulin whenever he approached her. With children in the house Paulin didn't dare keep the little family in his garage so he called International Animal Rescue and asked us to come and remove them.

Sweetie and her pups were brought to the centre and were deemed to be in good health. As the pups are only a few weeks old they cannot be put up for adoption straight away but have to stay with their mother until they're a bit older. Sweetie has already been sterilised and as soon as her pups are ready to be adopted she will be released again. I'm sure Sweetie is happy not to have to endure any more births and Paulin is probably equally happy not to have to worry about finding her in his garage with a new litter!

Bye for now,
Olive x

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Clara the cow is treated after terrible cruelty

Hello hello,

It has happened again! I can't believe how some people simply have no heart and no understanding for the pain they cause. Every time I see a case like this my tummy turns and I pray I'll never have to see it again. Alas, my last prayers have not been heard and I have a feeling I'll have to endure such an experience again in the future.

Clara receiving treatment at our rescue centre in GoaThe office at Animal Tracks received a call recently from a local resident in Candolim regarding a cow that had been in a road accident and had become badly injured. I've named her Clara. There were already drivers in the area and although they did not have the cattle equipment in the ambulance they went to assess the situation. They found Clara in a bad state and wondered straight away about her injuries. They didn't look like road accident wounds. They immediately called for assistance from the centre and luckily the cow was friendly so the staff had no trouble loading her into the ambulance.

Clara's woundsWhen Clara arrived at Animal Tracks the vets immediately went to examine her and this is when the horrible truth became known: she had not been in a road accident but had had acid thrown all over her body! Do you remember from one of my previous stories how I told you that some people use this despicable means of torture to get cattle off their property? We have seen several cases where cattle have been brought in to us in such a state that they had no chance to survive.

We all hope that this case will have a happy ending. Clara's wounds, although bad, have a good chance of healing providing the vets can keep any infection at bay. She's receiving heavy antibiotics and the wounds are cleaned and dressed regularly. As always I make sure to pop round the cattle pen daily to give the patients a little pep talk and although I’m not convinced they all understand me I’m sure it help anyway.

Love from me,

Olive x

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Pepsi is so sweet he's bound to be to someone's taste!

Dear friends,

We have entered the second half of the monsoon now and this means that there is light at the end of the tunnel. We're a bit funny over here you see. Just before the beginning of the monsoon we are all so fed up with the heat that we can't wait for the rain to come but at the end of the rainy season we are all dying for some lovely dry days with plenty of sunshine. I have a feeling this attitude is shared by most species.

We have encountered yet another classic case of abandonment. We see this way too often and it breaks my heart every time. This time it was this lovely dog - we've named him Pepsi - that was left outside our gates because obviously whoever owned him didn't want him anymore. At first our little centre dog gang gave him a rather chilly welcome. We don't like uninvited intruders so we tried to chase him away. Then we discovered that he was actually a helpless soul who had been dumped through no will of his own. A member of staff discovered him and realised that this was a situation where the poor fella needed help. He was not so easy to catch though. It took several attempts and methods of persuasion before he agreed to be caught.

Pepsi was in good health and spirits and he is now in our kennels waiting for a new home. Meanwhile our volunteers take time to exercise him and play with him. Needless to say he'll have to put up with the minor ordeal of being sterilised and vaccinated before he can leave us but I've made sure to tell him that it's not so bad.

Promise me you'll all keep your fingers crossed that we find a family for Pepsi. I hope to be able to bring you the good news soon that he has gone to a lovely new home where he never has to live with the fear of being abandoned again.

Love from me,

Olive x

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Goa gets a glowing reference from Garrett the volunteer

Hello hello,

We're so lucky in Goa to have a large band of animal-loving volunteers helping out with all the many tasks involved in running the centre and the clinic. One such was Garrett Smith from the US, a lovely guy who apparently liked us as much as we liked him! He wrote a glowing reference for all you others out there toying with the idea of volunteering. Now please just take Garrett's word for it and get on over here!

Volunteer Garrett Smith"My name is Garrett Smith. I am a 21 year old student from the United States. I volunteered at the IAR center in Goa for six weeks, shadowing the vets and helping look after the animals in the shelter. I am a vet student, and spent a lot of my time watching the surgeries and assisting the vets around the shelter, watching how they care for the injured animals. My experience with the organization has been nothing but excellent. Everyone cares so much about every animal that comes into the shelter. One dog had been caught in a wire and had it wrapped around its body, and one cow had a tin can stuck to its foot and required surgery. Every animal is given the love and care that it deserves. Not just from the vets, but from the kennel staff, the office staff, and the countless volunteers who come to help out.

Everyone is so friendly. I had trouble getting around the first couple of weeks, but the staff was more than willing to help me out. They also had great information about what to see and do in Goa. There are many hidden gems in this state alone that I never would have had the opportunity to visit if it were it not for them. I also traveled around for three weeks after my stay in Goa, and the staff had so much information about where to go, and what to see.

I was scared at first, I had never been in a foreign country alone for that long, and I really did not know what to expect from the organization. I had been talking to Tanja for about four months, planning my trip and making sure everything was in place before I got there. After six weeks, I can safely say that I got much more out of the experience than I expected. I am amazed at just how great this organization is. The people there look after the dogs, cats, cows, monkeys and any other wildlife that has no hope, and that is really something special. As an animal lover, and someone who wants to help stop the suffering of animals in any way possible, I have truly been touched by the dedication of International Animal Rescue in saving injured and abandoned animals."

Thank you Garrett for giving up your time to come and help out. Please be sure to come and see us again soon!

Bye for now,
Olive x

Friday, 20 August 2010

Betty the cow gets a clean bill of health

Hello everyone!

Betty the cowDo you remember Betty? The cute white cow that somehow managed to step on a metal tin and get the ring stuck on her foot causing a bad wound. Well, check this out. Betty has practically recovered thanks to the care and treatment provided by the team at Animal Tracks. She's walking around fine and without pain and now and soon her ordeal will be a thing of the past. I hope she tells all her friends about us when she is reunited with them.

Betty had to stay at Animal Tracks for quite some time because she could not be released until the wound on her foot had healed.

Betty's hoof all healed up!It would have been too dangerous because of the ever present risk of infection if flies lay eggs in an open wound. I think she's had a good time with us though. She's met new friends in the cattle pen and all the centre dogs have stopped by every now and again to say hello and cheer her up.

Let's all wish Betty the best of luck for the future and keep our fingers crossed that she doesn't get injured again.

Love from me,


Tuesday, 10 August 2010

The cow with no name that was quickly cured

Dear friends,

I hear from trusted sources that the summer has been wonderful in Europe this year. Can't say that I can imagine what it's like over there but what I can say is that here it's wet, wet, wet!

Animal Tracks has turned into mud and although it is wonderfully refreshing with some water and a cool breeze the monsoon does bring with it a few problems too. The vehicle cannot access remote and rural areas as easily as during the dry season and it becomes more hazardous to move about for the staff working in the field. They are used to it though and are doing a great job.

Cow being carried by our staffLike with this cow that they brought in and saved recently. It is great to be able to say that she did not stick around for long enough for us to get properly acquainted so I don't even know her name.

The office received a call about a cow in Mapusa town that was lying down unable to get up and move about. The caller guessed that she might be pregnant and about to go into labour. Fortunately an IAR driver was already in the area and he went to investigate the matter. Upon seeing the cow he immediately informed the office that she must be brought in for treatment. He went back and collected a vet and one of the boys and without too much trouble they managed to bring the cow back to the centre in no time. She didn't need sedating because she was already weak and unable to move.

It turned out that she was not pregnant but suffering from an internal infection which was not too serious and could be treated with a course of antibiotics. Already the next day the cow was showing an improvement in health and within a few days upon ending her course of medication she was fit to be released and is now back home where she belongs.

Lots of love,

Olive x

Monday, 2 August 2010

Happy release for Manson the bull


There's never a dull moments at Animal Tracks, I tell you. The staff are busy all day every day treating all the animals that are admitted here and it's so great to be here to follow all the work that goes on.

Manson before the rope was removedLike the other day when Manson the bull was brought in for treatment. He was reported to have a maggot wound on his face. The call came from a local resident in the village of Guirim and immediately the ambulance was loaded with all the necessary equipment and five members of staff took off to try to catch him.

It turned out that the maggot wound was in fact a cut caused by a rope which had been tied too tight around Manson's muzzle. It was red raw and obviously very painful. Never the less, he wasn't going to make it an easy job for the boys. He kept running away and in the end he had to be darted with a sedative so he could be caught and transported to the centre.

When Manson arrived he immediately went under treatment to have the rope removed. Dr. Nikhil with the help of the other boys successfully cut the rope off and cleaned the wound. Luckily there were no maggots in the wound and no infection so as long as it is kept clean Manson should be good to go home soon.

I hate to think how long Manson has been wandering around in agony. It was very careless of the owners to tie the rope like that. I hope it won't happen to any of their other animals. Thumbs up to the staff for managing to catch him. Things can only get better for him now.


Olive x

Thursday, 22 July 2010

The tale of Harriet's tail

Dear friends,

I've seen some strange injuries and illnesses in my years as a centre dog at Animal Tracks but I have to say that this one is a first.

Harriet prior to her operation to have the tumour removedHarriet the dog was brought to the centre by a lady who told the staff that the dog had been abandoned by her owners when they returned to their home country.

Harriet had been left to her own devices and one day this lady discovered that Harriet was running around with a big lump hanging from her tail. It looked like a big bag had been attached to her backside and turned out to be a tumour!

She subsequently brought Harriet to the centre and requested for the tumour to be treated and the dog set free in a different location or put up for adoption as she didn't want to take responsibility for her. It was explained to her that it is impossible to release dogs in random locations because of the danger that it might be attacked by other dogs in the territory. And putting Harriet up for adoption presents other problems because there is never a guarantee that a home can be found.

In the end the lady agreed to let Harriet return to her neighbourhood and she promised she would keep an eye on her and make sure she was fed. So, the vets went to work and successfully surgically removed the tumour. It was a tough job because the tumour it was in a tricky place, but thanks to the skills of our staff the operation went well and Harriet is now under observation until the surgical wound has healed and she can go home.

I hope the lady who brought her will keep her promise and take care of Harriet. She's such a sweet dog and she'll do well once released as long as she has the security of knowing that she’s not completely alone in the world.

Bye for now,


Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Betty the cow is nearly more than footsore

Hello all!

There are so many dangers to animals living on the streets in Goa. You must be really clever and street smart to steer clear of all the perils. At Animal Tracks we frequently receive calls about animals that have been unlucky and gotten injured because of unforeseen dangers.

Betty the cowBetty the cow was terribly unlucky recently when she stepped on a metal tin and got it stuck around her foot. The tin cut right into her leg and left a nasty wound that could have maimed her for the rest of her life.

Luckily our staff were informed and the informer was kind enough to tie Betty up so she wouldn't run away when the ambulance arrived. She was bleeding heavily from the wound and it was no easy task to remove the object from her foot.

Poor Betty, she must have been in agony. I was watching the procedure of removing the tin and it must have been very painful. She was sedated during the procedure and afterwards she was placed under treatment. She will be with us until the wound has healed up and it's safe to let her back home.

Poor Betty's hoofI wish people would stop, think and dispose of their rubbish carefully. Some people have an attitude that it is ok to dump anything anywhere. Apart from being bad for the environment it is also very dangerous for all the animals living on the streets. They step on things, get hurt and eat things that make them sick. It is so sad because we may not always reach those animals in time. If we hadn't been informed about Betty her wound would have become maggot infested, leaving the infection to spread and slowly killing her. All because of a metal tin that should have been disposed of with a bit more thought.

I hope Betty recovers soon so she can go home but in the meantime I'll make sure I pop round to see her every day to give her a bit of encouragement.

Bye for now!

Olive x

Monday, 5 July 2010

Skipper the dog is let off the hook!

Dear friends,

The monsoon has finally arrived in Goa and although it brings very wet and windy days we are happy to get the chance to cool off! Besides, it's great fun to go out and jump in the puddles.

Skipper the lucky dogThe dog I am going to tell you about today has not had much fun lately. We named him Skipper and he was brought to the centre with a fishing hook stuck in his mouth. The call came from a man in Anjuna who informed us that Skipper was running around outside a Pizza takeaway place.

He was not able to shed any light on how the hook got stuck there in the first place. Luckily we had an ambulance in the nearby town of Calangute and the driver immediately set off for Anjuna. Fortunately Skipper didn't give the boys too much trouble and allowed himself to be caught and brought to Animal Tracks where vet Aparajita quickly sedated him and removed the hook.

Skipper having the hook removed form his mouthAfter the removal Skipper was placed under observation and treatment to prevent the wound from getting infected. Since he was brought quickly after the incident the wound had not gone septic so the recovery time was not long.

I'm happy to be able to tell you that he has in fact already been released and is back in Anjuna minus fishing hook. Let's hope he's a bit more careful in the future about what he sinks his teeth into.

Love from me,


Monday, 14 June 2010

The sad tale of the cow, the calf and the c-section


First a piece of very good news: it started raining yesterday! You may not think that's a big deal but when you've been toasting in temperatures soaring above 100 degrees F it's the biggest relief when the first storms hit us. The air instantly cools down and we can all breathe again.

Last week we were visited by a mother in great distress. It was a cow who had been in labour for two days but was unable to get her calf out. The owners put her on the back of a small truck and drove her to Animal Tracks. It was obvious that she was in great pain. Her eyes were wide open with fear and distress and the vets went to work on her straight away. It turned out that the calf was breach, meaning it was turned the wrong way inside her, hence she couldn't push it out. The neck of the calf was twisted back and without bringing it around there was no way it was going to come out.

C-section being performed on the cowSadly the calf was already dead inside the mother when she arrived for help but still, it had to come out. The vets worked relentlessly trying to bring it into a better position but without luck. At one point it looked like the only option was to cut off its head inside. You can imagine things looked pretty bad for the vets to consider such a hideous option!

After a bit of debating it was decided instead to perform a caesarean section on the mother and bring the calf out that way. First the owners had to agree to leave her behind for recovery and post op treatment, which luckily they did. The cow was anaesthetised and the c-section went smoothly. It broke my heart to realise that the poor mother was going to wake up to nothing but an empty belly and no baby to love and care for at the end of this horrible experience. I hope the other cows in the pen look after her and cheer her up. I'm not allowed in the cattle pen, otherwise I'd do it myself. I'm happy though that mother cow is recovering well and hopefully she'll be able to return home soon.



Monday, 7 June 2010

Puppy Prince lands on his paws

My recent stories may lead some of you to think that we have completely stopped rescuing stray dogs at Animal Tracks. Stories of goats, kites, rabbits, pigs, cattle etc. almost takes the focus away from what takes up the vast majority of our resources here: sterilising, vaccinating and treating stray dogs. Do not be fooled. Hundreds of dogs continue to be brought in to the centre and most of them leave us happier and healthier than they were when they came in.

Prince and IAR center manager TanjaThis story is about Prince, a stray that was abandoned as a pup but rescued by IAR supporter Tracey. She has an apartment in North Goa and contacted the centre because a very large number of unsterilised strays were roaming the area and causing problems for the residents. IAR managed to catch and sterilise 19 of these dogs using trap cages. Tracey watched the trap cage and informed the office every time a dog went in. It was a very successful project.

Prince was only a few weeks old when his mother abandoned him outside Tracey's apartment and she took him in and cared for him. She was unable to keep him as she was going back to the UK so work began o find a suitable home for him. With the help of local residents a home was found in South Goa so when he was around eight weeks old Tracey and Prince said their goodbyes and off he went.

I didn't meet Prince until he came to Animal Tracks for sterilisation. With his pink nose and cute face I can imagine he was a lovely little fluff ball when he was small. I went out to greet him on arrival and to reassure him that nothing bad was going to happen to him. He was sterilised and vaccinated and went straight back home after the surgery. I always catch myself thinking what fate these puppies would have met if they hadn't been lucky enough to find a loving family to look after them. Given Prince's circumstances I doubt he'd still be in this world had it not been for Tracey, IAR and his new family.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Our feathered friends join the family


Do you remember our two magnificent kites? I told you their story recently. I remember ending the story by making a wish that they would come back and tell us stories from the big world once they had been released. I was somewhat sceptical back then though because I expected that they would simply rise to the sky and disappear when they got the chance.

One of our feathered friends making himself at homeHow wrong I was! The kites were released a week or so ago and guess what? They are still right here with us at Animal Tracks. They simply refuse to stray far as this has been their safe haven since they were so young they barely had feathers. They have remained tame and spend their days lazing around on the various walls surrounding the centre. They must have observed us centre dogs when they were in their cage and thought 'Well, they seem to have it sussed' and decided to live almost like we do.

There's no place like home!We share our food with them and even put up with them hovering very close waiting for their turn to eat. The staff are able to go right up to them without them feeling the slightest bit threatened. They consider us family and we are happy to welcome them among us. In the end my wish came true. They decided to stick around. Who'd have ever thought we'd end up not only with centre dogs and cats but with centre kites as well?

Love from me, Olive!

Monday, 17 May 2010

Mickey the mini chipmunk makes himself at home

Hi everyone!

Today I want to tell you about the smallest resident at Animal Tracks. His name is Mickey and he's a small chipmunk rescued by our team when he was found on the ground unable to find his way back to where he was meant to be. He is only young and getting used to being handled by humans has been a big challenge for him. Generally rodents are shy, timid animals and they are easily stressed and even traumatised when they are taken away from their familiar environment.

Mickey the chipmunkMickey was brought in about one month ago and, with no injuries, the main task at hand was to keep him fit and healthy so he could be released when he was a bit older and able to look after himself. He currently lives in an enclosure in the vets' office and he's doing great. He's become such a lively and friendly character and has learned to trust the staff at the centre. He actually loves the attention and is not even the slightest bit fazed when we centre dogs pop our heads in to say hello.

Mickey the chipmunk making friendsMickey's favourite person in the whole world is Abby who tends to his every need. It is unusual for animals like Mickey to adapt to an environment so different to their own but with Abby's love and reassurance he has got used to his caged existence. I imagine it's a bit like staying in a fancy hotel. Food is served and pampering sessions are given and no work is required to get this.

Hopefully it won't take too long before Mickey can be released. The vets will have to assess if he's capable of surviving in the wild and if not he needn't fear for anything. We'll look after him for as long as it takes and make sure that he stays happy and healthy.

Love from me,
Olive x

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Rescued kites will soon be flying high

Dear friends,

It always makes me so happy to tell stories when I know they have a happy ending. With some of our patients it is hard to tell how they’ll fare because some are very sick or badly injured, hence occasionally we end up saying goodbye to friends because they could not be saved. I hate that!

KitesYou must forgive me but these two magnificent creatures have not got names so I shall leave it to you to decide upon your own names for them. They are kites and were brought in very young because they appeared to have been separated from their mother and lost their nest. Their chances were not good because when young these birds rely heavily on their mother to teach them the ways of the world like flying, hunting etc.

Initially they were put in a smaller cage to reduce the stress of being in our big outdoor aviary. They were examined by our vets who found no physical problems with either of them and the staff then proceeded to do all they could to make sure that these birds would grow and become fit to be released. Later on they were shifted to a large cage in the centre's back compound and gradually the kites became bigger and stronger. I am so happy to know that they'll be released soon. Would be nice if they would come back now and again to tell us stories of the big world outside. I don't think that's likely to happen but you never know...

Love from me, Olive!

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

'Girlpower' in Goa as female pups become more popular

Hello everyone!

PuppyToday I want to tell you about an exciting new project that is in the process of being fine tuned at the Animal Tracks centre. As you know we see a lot of orphan puppies being admitted and a lot of energy is put into trying to finding loving homes for them. Although many people do come and adopt puppies, there are also many who don't find a home and some fall very ill and end up not making it beyond the centre walls. I nearly ended up like that and I cannot express my gratitude enough to the people who saved me.

Last month 25 puppies found a new home and I am so pleased that 17 of these were female. The reason for this is that just a few years ago local people believed that female dogs were useless as guard dogs and that all they do is attract male dogs and give birth to pups. Luckily the sterilisation programme has changed the attitude of many and likewise they have discovered that female dogs make excellent guard dogs, so many people now choose a female dog for their new guardian and friend.

To reduce the number of pups who end their days at Animal Tracks the vets have embarked on a trial sterilisation programme for pups aged between 3 and 6 months.

Young dogEarlier dogs would be sterilised no sooner than at 5 months but with this new procedure we may be able to send some pups back where they came from, thus giving them a chance to make it as strays. 'Why', I hear you wonder, 'when you are trying to reduce the number of strays are you allowing puppies back like this?' Well, once sterilised and vaccinated the dogs cannot multiply and it helps to create a stable stray dog population in any given area. This way there is less chance that new unsterilised strays find their way into the territory and the numbers in the particular areas will be easier to control. Therefore there are no disadvantages in releasing young dogs back into their territory.

I hope you'll all join me in wishing our team of vets and nurses good luck with this new project which hopefully will save even more lives.

Olive x

Thursday, 22 April 2010

How IAR tamed Roger rabbit

Hello again!

Well things are heating up here in Goa. By this I don’t mean that there is any major drama happening, only that temperatures are soaring higher and higher and the humidity is getting almost unbearable. Thankfully no one has challenged me to the spot in the visitors toilet yet, so I’m cool.

Roger RabbitSay hi to Roger Rabbit. He comes from Saligao and was brought by Jason who told the staff at the centre that Roger was either let loose or escaped and that he was found hopping aimlessly around the area.

Either way no owner could be found hence Jason picked Roger up and brought him to Animal Tracks. Roger suffered from terrible mange and had to have lengthy treatment before his fur looked healthy again. Now he's fit to go and the staff here are looking for a good home for him. First however he must be castrated because we do not want to be responsible for a possible situation where numerous rabbits end up in homes where they are not properly cared for. I shall let you all know as soon as Roger has found his new home.

Bye for now!

Olive x

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Boxer Fred is down but not out thanks to IAR!

Dear friends,

What is it with humans?? There seems to be no logic or thought behind some of their actions. They start wars and kill each other, they destroy our planet and they hurt the defenceless and innocent animals without a second thought. I know, you are not like that. If you were, you wouldn't be reading this. I am grateful that there are humans like you around to help us when others don't.

Fred the boxerFred here was rescued from the village of Camurlim where he was seen roaming aimlessly around for days without food or drink. It was obvious that he was not a stray dog because first of all he's a pedigree (a boxer) and second he was too distraught and stressed out by being on his own like that. Local villagers were worried that he might do something crazy in his desperation and they could see he needed help so they called IAR.

Two boys went out to catch Fred and they had no trouble getting him in the ambulance. He was weak and wounded and emaciated and only pleased to see a friendly face. When the party arrived back at Animal Tracks Fred was examined and the vets discovered a maggot wound on his paw and they established that he was malnourished and underweight. Whether this was because he had been on his own for too long or because he had been neglected by his owner remains unknown. One thing is certain though. The owner did not look after his dog and he is responsible for Fred's state through and through. Perhaps Fred got sick and the owner abandoned him to save the vet bill. Perhaps the owner was a foreigner who left Goa without a second thought for the animal he was leaving behind. Who knows? The main thing is that Fred is in good hands now and he is being treated for all his ailments. He has already put on some weight and a member of staff is going to adopt him once he's well enough to be discharged.

In the meantime Fred is enjoying lots of attention from staff and volunteers and he likes playing with us too.

Woofs from me, Olive x

Monday, 22 March 2010

The curious incident of pup Penelope and the plastic jar

Hello everyone!

The season in Goa is slowly drawing to an end and although there is still around one month left till the last charter flight takes off from here there is a noticeable drop in tourists now. It's getting hotter and more humid every day and it's harder to find a place to cool off. I've still got my designated spot in the visitors' toilet reserved for me so I'm ok.

Penelope before the jar was removedWe see a lot of peculiar things at Animal Tracks but some things are more odd than others. Take this little puppy for example. She was named Penelope and was brought to the centre with her head stuck inside a plastic jar! The report came from a local man called Sakshi who had seen Penelope running around distraught and trying to get the jar off her head. He did not know how the jar had ended up on her head, only that she was unable to get it off.

When our staff arrived on the scene, catching Penelope proved to be a more challenging task than first anticipated. She was running like mad but the boys knew that leaving her in that state was not an option. She would no doubt eventually suffocate from the heat combined with the stress and the restricted supply of oxygen.

Penelope after the jar was removedIn the end Penelope was too exhausted to keep running and the boys caught her and brought her to the centre where the vets removed the jar. You would have thought she would have welcomed this effort but she was kicking and yelping like there was no tomorrow. I tried to explain to her that she was in good hands but she was having none of it.

Once free of her plastic prison Penelope settled down and took some time to eat and rest. She was kept in for a couple of days for observation to check that she hadn’t suffered any trauma from her ordeal. Sakshi, who had been around to witness the whole story unfold, had become so attached to Penelope that he came to visit her and in the end decided to adopt her as his pet. We were all so happy for her and felt that her bad experience had served some purpose after all. If she hadn't ended up with her head in the jar Sakshi may have never noticed her and she may never have found a loving home to grow up in.



Tuesday, 23 February 2010

It takes teamwork to tackle an injured calf


I still feel the weight of the sad story I told you last time I wrote so today I've picked one with a very happy ending! Although saying this, it could have ended up going horribly wrong had the team from Animal Tracks and the public not worked together.

Injured calfA message was called in by a tourist about a calf that looked to be having some trouble around the mouth area. At first - judging from the description from the caller who had only seen the calf from a distance - it sounded like an infection possible caused by a septic wound. Shortly after the call another tourist called in a report about the same calf however this was not immediately recognised as her observations were pointing towards something more severe. She told the office that a calf had been spotted bleeding heavily from the mouth and that it looked to have been involved in a road accident. Once the area and the description of the calf had been noted the conclusion was drawn that the two messages related to the same animal.

Immediately a driver, a vet, and two kennel boys were sent out to catch the calf and its mother if possible. It was fairly obvious from the second phone call that the calf could not be treated on site and this was confirmed when they reached the location. The injury was very bad and needed immediate surgery. It quickly became obvious however that the injured calf had other ideas. Despite its injuries it had the team chasing it for 2 hours before one of the kennel boys made a leap which can only be challenged by Superman and wrestled the calf to the ground. It sounds brutal but it was the only way to get the calf in the ambulance and to the centre for treatment. The mother of the calf was not to be seen so there was no choice but to bring it in on its own. Luckily it was old enough not to depend only on her so chances were that it would pull through.

I am pleased to say that it has recovered really well and is almost ready to be released again. There is no doubt though that had our clever people not succeeded in catching it things would have looked bad for this little chap.

Love from Olive x

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

A kitten's sad tale

Dear friends,

I am very sorry to tell you that I am the bearer of sad news today... Although every day presents tough challenges and heart breaking decisions for our team of vets at Animal Tracks it doesn't make it any easier to say goodbye to a furry friend. Especially when a life ends before it has even begun.

Sick kittenA few days ago a local taxi driver came to the centre with a poor abandoned kitten which he had found on the road side. He immediately stopped and picked it up and luckily he knew where to take it. Why the kitten had ended up alone on the side of a busy road is anyone's guess. Perhaps the mother had died, perhaps she had abandoned it. The most devastating scenario is to think that humans may have thrown the kitten out on the road. It is not uncommon that owners of unsterilised pets simply throw away the newborn offspring because they don’t want any more animals and aren’t decent enough to consider the consequences of such an act. These newborn animals are in no position at all to care for themselves and they are left to a merciless fate of mental and physical suffering before they die of hunger or are killed by vehicles or other animals.

The kitten was only around 2 weeks old when the taxi driver brought it in and there was little the vets could do to save it. If it was to stand a fair chance it would have had to be reared in a protective environment with someone feeding it around the clock and even in such circumstances its chances would have been slim. At animal tracks the environments is not suitable to accommodate such young animals as there simply isn’t staff and facilities to cover all their needs so in these cases the vets and staff have to face cruel reality and put them to sleep.

Some may argue that all animals should be given a chance regardless of their circumstances and condition but at Animal Tracks the aim it to prevent suffering. If the vets know that the prognosis is such that keeping the animal alive will prolong its suffering then this is not something they are willing to do. I know what it is like to be sick and scared and I can assure you that this is not a feeling that any living being should be allowed to experience if something can be done to relieve it.

I hope to have some good news for you next time.


Olive x

Monday, 1 February 2010

Benji the injured calf comes to the centre for vet care

Hello hello!

If I didn't know better I'd start to think that this week is cattle week! Cow after bull after buffalo is being brought in with injuries. I hope we don't run out of space in our cattle pen! We are so lucky to have such skilled vets who can go out and tend to these poor animals. Nicky as always is jumping into the main cattle pen to give them grief. He's the only centre dog who does this and you'd think he'd get bored but no!

Benji the calfThis little calf has been named Benji. A report came in that he was bleeding from his hoof and immediately the staff went out to catch him. It is always difficult to catch a calf when the mother is around too. She gets very protective of her young one and can get quite aggressive as well. Four members of staff went out to catch the animals. One of them was a vet in case it turned out that the calf could be treated on site instead of having to endure the trip to the centre. When a young calf has to be brought in for treatment the mother has to come as well and therefore it is better if the treatment can be done on site. This of course is only possible in the case of minor injuries.

In Benji's case there was no doubt: he had to come in for treatment. An object of some kind had cut a deep wound in the flesh above the hoof and he needed stitches and antibiotics to prevent flies from laying their eggs in the open wound. Luckily Benji is a strong little lad and he’s recovering well. His mother is here with him to keep him out of trouble and protect him from Nicky! If all goes well the pair will be released in no time.

Love from me, Olive.

Monday, 25 January 2010

Feathered friend pronounced fit and healthy

Hi there!

It had been a while since we’d had the pleasure of a visit from a feathered kind of friend. We’ve had a new aviary built on top of our surgery to accommodate all the birds that are in our care and that certainly is a step up from having very limited means to cater for them. Sadly this means I don’t get to mooch around and look at them as much as I used to. I’m not agile like some of the centre dogs so I can’t get up on the roof like they can.

OwlThis owl was brought to the centre from a resort in Calangute a few days ago. It had been sitting on one of the balconies and the occupier of the room had started to wonder why it wasn’t leaving. Maybe it had been injured? So she called us and the rescue team had no problems catching the fella and taking it to the centre for a check up.

When the vets had finished a good all round examination of the owl the diagnosis was... absolutely fit and healthy! They even tested the owl’s flying capability and nothing pointed towards physical or mental distress. After a good lunch and dinner the owl was therefore released into the woods in the evening.

Who knows why it had been sitting on the balcony for so many hours? Perhaps it liked it there... perhaps it had lost its way…or maybe it was just looking for a different kind of company, of the human kind, for a change. The main thing is that he is back where he belongs and hopefully happy to be able to settle somewhere else.

Love from Olive

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Lucky pups find a loving home together

Dear all,

First I want to wish you all a very happy New Year! I hope you enjoyed the festive season. I hear from our volunteers that you have got lots of snow in Europe... brrrrrr... I'm happy to be here in the warm sunshine.

Spot the puppyI'd like to tell you a little story about two lucky little souls who were brought to our centre recently. As you probably know International Animal Rescue runs an adoption programme in Goa for orphan pups and kittens. Over the years more and more people have come to recognise the benefits of owning a local breed dog, hence more and more puppies find a home.

Spot and Sparky are two such puppies. They were found wandering along the N17, the busiest highway in Goa, without a mother and obviously frightened and distraught. Whether they are brothers remains uncertain but they were spotted by our drivers and picked up to save them from being run over or getting into trouble with other dogs. Being young makes them unable to fend for themselves and their chances of survival would have been slim.

Sparky the puppySadly for a pup of only five or six weeks old Animal Tracks doesn't offer an entirely safe haven. Owing to the volume of pups and kittens being admitted - some of which may be carrying infections - it is impossible to prevent germs from spreading completely and some animals fall sick and never make it out of the centre again. The staff and volunteers do their very best to minimise the risk and ensure that the animals are well cared for during the time they spend here with us and it's a cruel and sad aspect of life out here to witness some of these poor babies succumbing to illness.

Luckily this was not the case for Spot and Sparky. They both found a home within 24 hours of being admitted and put up for adoption! And do you know what the best thing is? They both went together to their new home. A local family from the town of Mapusa had come to adopt just one puppy but could not decide which one was the cutest so they took both. I wish them a long and happy life with their new family and I look forward to meeting them again when they come back for vaccinations and sterilisation.

Love from Olive