If you haven’t been to India before, it may be hard to imagine how many stray dogs (and other animals for that matter) there are on the streets left to fend for themselves. Combine this with their treacherous roads, sketchy driving and crashes, it soon makes it easy to realise just how many dogs are left injured on the side of the road with broken legs etc. We are only touching the subject very lightly as it isn’t very easy reading but we feel its important to understand one of the problems they face here in India. This is why as soon as we heard about an animal sanctuary nearby in Palolem, we had to check it out!
The Animal Rescue Centre (ARC) was only a 5 minute tuk tuk ride down a dusty dirt track. We were greeted by a Swiss volunteer who luckily spoke some English as the staff either spoke Konkani (language native to Goa) or Hindi – they couldn’t communicate with each other either! They had decided to create 4 separate areas for the dogs: adults/larger dogs, toddlers, puppies and the middle section was for the dogs who were poorly and required extra attention. After only a few minutes we soon adopted our favourites: Georgina’s was called Supermarket who had lost the movement in his back legs in a crash and was fixed to a “trolley”. Jack’s favourite was a tiny black and white puppy who was timid but loved his cuddles.
We were lucky enough to be there for feeding time where we helped feed them turmeric rice in a boiled chicken broth (with chunks); it looked very sustaining, the dogs clearly enjoyed it! They take the dogs out of the centre in groups for walks on a daily basis, those that need one on one attention are taken out separately. It was also nice to see some of the adult dogs allowed to wander freely outside the centre. They don’t go far because they know where their bread is buttered!
Overall, it felt like a very organised system and the dogs all looked very happy. Some were obviously more unwell than others, but their mission is to get as many of them re-homed as possible. During our time we saw 2 toddlers named Coco and Honey get re-homed; it was so lovely to see ARC being proactive.
Although we weren’t particularly useful during our time at the centre (we were only there for 3 hours), we were keen to visit because we have every intention of working with animals during our travels. We wanted to see what kinds of things we would be facing, plus it never hurts to cuddle some dogs!
If you’d like to follow their stories for pup-dates, please like them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AnimalRescueCentreSouthGoa/ or visit their website to learn about the great work they do: https://arcgoa.in/.