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