Anyone who has been to India knows there is way too many stray dogs around the country. Waaaaay too many. So when I arrived in Udaipur it was great to find that the city had a rescue shelter set up for animals in need of aid. So many of the street animals are sick, injured or abused and then neglected. Animal Aid Unlimited in Udaipur serves as an emergency recuse facility for injured or abused dogs and sanctuary for terminally ill animals.
I was wanting to do some aid work while I was in India so I asked if I could volunteer at the shelter. They got back to my email right away and told me to come visit the following day.
The shelter is about 20km outside Udipiars city centre. It’s easy to reach by public bus, rickshaw or bicycle. They welcome all people wanting to visit or volunteer for a day, a week, a month or more. If you decided to just go for the day you can expect to help feed the animals, brush the donkeys, spend time petting and brushing the dogs and if you have experience help change the dressings on injured animals.
The shelter is open from 9 am – 5 pm daily and they ask that volunteers arrived between 9 -11 am so you can help walk the dogs, feed the cows and have a tour of the grounds.
I left town just after 9 am and took a rickshaw to the shelter which took around 20 minutes or so and cost 150-200 Rupees. If you’d like to only go for a few hours rickshaw drivers are willing to wait around to take you back.
When I first arrived I was greeted by Raj and another girl who was on her second trip volunteering at Animal Aid and had been there for just over a month this time. Raj took me on a tour of grounds, showing me the vet clinic, the different areas for dogs who were crippled or had a disease. I followed him out the back to where they have the cows, donkeys and a few goats. They also have a monkey, birds, a few turtles, pigs and cats on the premises.
After the tour, I was able to feed the calves milk, brush the donkeys and help give water and comfort to the cows who were likely not going to make it.
Some animals that are taken to the shelter have been very badly injured or have diseases that they won’t recover from, Animal Aid looks after them until they pass away. The rescue crew receive twenty plus calls a day informing them of injured, stranded or mistreats animals. They take in around 3500 animals a year and have over 300 animals on the site at any given time. The goal is to rehabilitate the animals and send them back into a normal environment. Some of their conditions won’t allow them to function properly back in their past homes. These animals are taken in and allowed to live out the rest of their days enjoying the sanctuary.
After the lunch break, I spent the rest of the afternoon petting and comforting the crippled and blind dogs with the great staff. They have nearly 50 full-time staff and about a dozen long-term volunteers.
If you are looking for a rewarding and refreshing experience or you are on a tight schedule through India, this is a great place to come volunteer. To make a donation or inquire about volunteering check out the website www.animalaidunlimited.org
Things to Note
Getting There – Rickshaw is 20 minutes and costs between 150-200 Rupees. The bus stop is a 10 min walk from the shelter and cost 10 rupees. It takes around 30 minutes and drops you a little out of the central tourist district.
Eating – Pack a lunch or you can grab some local food within a 10-minute walk. The staff will most likely be headed there or if not can point you in that direction.
Bringing Items – The shelter always has a need for toys, brushes and blankets. If you can bring these things that will help, or you can leave a donation at the shelter.
Rabies Shot – If you want to work with the puppies the staff wish that you have your rabies shots.
Clothing – Wear clothes you don’t mind getting dirty.