Just time for one more story before the festive season begins …
As one of the more senior members of the dog family at the IAR centre, I feel I have some status and a certain claim to fame. But there is a grand old lady who is well and truly part of the history of International Animal Rescue Goa. To introduce her, first I have to go back in time:
Way back in 1997 the seeds of the Goa branch were sown by two young travellers, Hayley and Nicola, who had a passion for animal welfare and were moved by the plight of the packs of sick and starving dogs breeding out of control on the streets and beaches. The situation was awful, many animals had rabies and packs of dogs were fighting for territory and bitches. The girls set up a humble site in Saligao with a few makeshift cages under a palm leaf roof.
International Animal Rescue in the UK sent out Bet, the first veterinary surgeon to work for IAR in Goa and so began the sterilisation and rabies vaccination programme that has evolved to become IAR Goa as we know it today.
The present Animal Tracks centre here in Assagao was set up by John and Jo Hicks in 1998 in order that the work could expand and grow to embrace all of Goa's animals in need, feral, wild or domestic, and the rest is history …
But just before the new centre was opened and the work still took place at the first simple site, an ear tattoo identification system was introduced to keep track and record of the dogs that were sterilised.
A young healthy female dog, but with a birth deformed front leg, was sterilised. Recovery cages were full to capacity with animals that would shortly be released back into the wild. But, much like me when I was rescued from the streets, this little dog would need extra aftercare if she was to have a viable life. The heart of an animal lover visiting the rescue centre was touched by meeting this young dog with her twisted and flipper-like leg which would always render her disabled to a degree.
Karin decided she could assist with aftercare and offered to take her home until the dog had recovered sufficiently to be released.
That was in 1998 and Pingu was number 46 on the tattoo records, today IAR Goa is proud to declare that its sterilisation numbers are now in excess of 58,000!
Almost fourteen years on, Pingu's release is still being "postponed" and she is still happily "rehabilitating" at the same foster home with her carer. Karin is now a champion of animal welfare here in Goa and still works closely with the brilliant Animal Tracks team and the cat and dog sterilisation legend that the centre is today.
Happy Christmas from all of us here in Goa – particularly Pingu!
Love Olive x