Local vets offer aid for neglected street dogs in India

“The vets there (in Lake Country) donated enough medicine and parvo vaccines to fill a whole suitcase."

Okanagan veterinarians have stepped forward to help out a population of neglected street dogs on the other side of the world, in India.

“I was totally blown away by their generosity, especially Trilake Animal Hospital in Winfield” said Kelowna resident Lee Kaiser. She will be leaving mid-December to volunteer with The Care Project for street dogs based in a town south of Chennai, India.

“The vets there (in Lake Country) donated enough medicine and parvo vaccines to fill a whole suitcase. I was asking for anything expired which was tagged to be thrown out and wasn’t sure if I’d get anything, so this is just wonderful,” Kaiser said.

Other area veterinarians, as well as pet stores, have contributed hundreds of dollars in medicine or dog collars, she said, including Panorama Vet, also in Winfield, KLO Vet Hospital in the Mission, and the Total Pet store on Harvey Avenue in Kelowna.

But Trilake’s contribution, valued at about $1,000, was by far the largest.

As the British veterinary nurse who founded the project in 2006 experienced, Kaiser was also touched by the plight of the street dogs in India during a visit there two years ago.

“I’d seen starving and sick street dogs in other parts of the world but these conditions were the worst. There seemed to be litters of sick, abandoned puppies around every corner,” Kaiser said.

“I wanted to help somehow and fortunately saw Elaine (Philpott’s) notice in a tourist cafe in Mahaballapuram the day I was leaving India.”

Dog shelters or non-profit clinics are almost non-existent in India, said Kaiser, and according to the project’s website the average Indian street dog’s lifespan is just two years, while 75 per cent of puppies die of disease or are killed.

The clinic, which also treats cats, is run solely on donations and volunteer help.

The focus has expanded to include vaccinating the dogs against rabies, neutering and educating locals on dog ownership.

“Elaine is hoping to have a shelter in future but for now she treats the dogs, puts a collar on them, likely to prevent them from being culled, and then has to release them back to the street.

“She started it all on her own and it seems to still be that way. It may be clichéd but this is proof of what one person can accomplish if they feel passionate enough about it.

“On their Facebook page people like me are writing in from all over the world to offer whatever help they can,” said Kaiser.

Anyone wanting to donate new or used collars, medicine or funds to be taken to India can contact Kaiser at 250-870-3881.

For more information about the project, or to volunteer time or supplies, go online to www.thecareproject.org.

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