by Luke, in India
3rd June, 2009

Karuna does a huge amount of things and has a lot of projects on the go. Dogs, cats and monkeys are in abundance, most injured, paralysed or with broken limbs in various states of repair. Out the back of the main clinic are cows, buffaloes, a couple of donkeys missing a leg and a huge camel that has been rescued. There is an organic vegetable garden that supplies a local shop to raise funds for the shelter, complete with a cheese making station and mango orchard – the milk of which comes from yet more cows that have been rescued from illegal cattle trucks transporting the beasts to slaughter (bad death if you are a cow in India). That’s not all – there is also a wildlife enclosure that contains some rescued moon bears that have been saved from a dancing troop. The two adults are quite temperamental but the two cubs that they rescued a couple of months ago are absolutely adorable. I shouldn’t say this but if I could rescue a dancing bear cub and keep it as a pet – I probably would. They are great, they climb up on the sides of their pen, turn on the tap in the sink (many of the pens have sinks) and are both little characters that are very easy to fall in love with.

All of this is thanks to Clementein and her team. She is a force. Predictably she is also amazingly humble, very strong willed and incredibly determined. What she has done/is doing is amazing and very inspiring. The only one aspect that worries me is that she has such a challenge and has taken on so much, that it is very hard for her to say goodbye to some of the animals. I don’t feel I have any right to come in here, volunteer for effectively five minutes and then say that some of the animals should be put down.

I want to support and help this amazing woman and the shelter so I’m going to try to be a sounding board and we’ll see how it goes. Very difficult. Find myself questioning what the long term benefits are of this but I think it does give people hope and certainly she has a lot of support in the village. It would be very wrong to knock Clementine – she has made a real difference here – nearest vet is over four hours away so without her, cows wouldn’t be treated, people would suffer, and all the other animals would be stuck for help.

Big cases – dog in a coma – horrendous pyo, few flank bitch spays which is a new technique for me to get the hang of (one was pregnant which was a challenge), cystotomy on a cat missing two front legs. Cat seems very happy so worth trying to sort.

But must stop now; 12 hour day, 45 degree heat, one piece of toast and a sip of water. All of us are shot. Would love to go into more detail but need a beer and some kip. More tomorrow.

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