The Voice of Street Animals in Bengaluru
By Sudha Narayanan
Charlie’s Animal Rescue Centre – CARE, established in January 2013, is a haven for stray animals in Bangalore. The inspiration behind the trust is 15-year-old Charlie – a differently abled three-legged Indian Dog, who was an established figure in the field of Canine Therapy since 2005. Charlie passed away in March 2017 but has left behind a rich legacy that the CARE shelter aims to live up to through rescue and rehabilitation.
The CARE Shelter is home to animals of all kinds including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, rabbits, pigs, ducks and calves. These animals are permanent residents of CARE due to their varying needs and special conditions such as blindness, physical or mental disabilities, paraplegia, serious ailments, and advanced age. They require constant care, medical attention and love. These animals will reside at CARE for the remainder of their lives.
The rescue facility is headed by the Founder Trustee Ms. Sudha Narayanan, who comes with over two decades of immense expertise and prowess in the fields of domestic as well as wild animal welfare. Pure compassion for helpless animals is the key belief that strings together the core team of CARE, which comprises of builders, engineers, leading veterinarians, artists, retired defence personnel, marketers and dentists.
CORE ACTIVITIES OF CARE
CARE is equipped with 2 ambulances which assist the NGO in picking up animals in distress off the streets and bringing them to the Rescue Centre for immediate medical attention. CARE also accepts individual rescue cases of ill, injured and abandoned animals which are brought directly to the shelter, and admits them for further treatment.
Once the animal is diagnosed and provided with immediate emergency treatment, which includes surgery, amputation and other life saving procedures as required, the animal is housed in the treatment section where he/she is allowed to recuperate and recover with constant monitoring by our team of vets. Healing and restoring of functionality is the prime mission of our rehabilitation efforts, where physiotherapy and laser therapy are employed when necessary to speed up the healing operation. The admitted animal patients are also provided with wholesome food along with protein supplements to hasten the recovery process.
Rehoming & Release
Following the completion of treatment and recovery, community animals are dropped back in the area where they were picked up from. Abandoned pet dogs are moved to the adoption unit, where they are socialised to recuperate from the trauma of desertion and provided with mental stimulation along with physical and emotional support so that they are ready for adoption to a good home. New pet parents are screened, counselled and matched with a pet that is right for them and their family. Follow-up checks with strict protocol are followed so the adopted animal is ensured of a good life.
Humane Education & Awareness
At the heart of any welfare activity lies education and awareness.
While rehabilitation and rescue efforts are ongoing and necessary, it can be equated to mopping up after an open tap. Education efforts can be likened to closing the tap. With more awareness and sensitisation of the citizens of tomorrow, there can be far-reaching, long term and positive consequences for both animals and mankind. To achieve this end we have the following 2 programs:
- The Young Angels Program sponsored by Mars International Pvt Ltd. Under this initiative, our education officer visits schools and engages with children introducing the seed of animal welfare, safe coexistence with community animals and other simple concepts related to animals in their young minds. A minimum of 20 sessions of such enlightening activities are conducted every month by the CARE shelter.
- Charlie’s Pack This is an intensive, specially designed curriculum program where interested school children visit the shelter on a weekly/monthly basis and are introduced to concepts in animal welfare in a simple, comprehensible form including practical and hands-on activities that inculcate the values of compassion, empathy and responsibility towards animals and towards each other.
Charlie, our mascot and inspiration, himself was a therapy dog who had worked as a therapist with the children of Vishwas, a school for differently abled children run by the Indian Air Force, Srishti Special Academy and Kara For Kids. His vocation lasted for about 8 years and during this time period he helped 300 special children gain confidence at social interactions, which made a significant difference to their overall outlook towards life.
His legacy is being carried forward by other therapy dogs from the CARE shelter, who are carefully selected for their gentle demeanour and then trained as canine therapists.
Community Outreach Events
CARE believes that there must be constant interplay between the shelter and our society & community, as it can be a mutually beneficial exercise. Hence, we have several events both at the shelter premises and at many other locations across the city. The participants and contributors of these events include children, adults, corporate companies, art connoisseurs, music lovers, and pet parents.
CARE community outreach events include summer camps, storytelling sessions, corporate day outs, art exhibitions, book sales, music concerts, garage sales, flea markets and other such activities.
The CARE shelter provides a plethora of services and amenities to its inhabitants, community animals in distress and humans. These include:
- Helpline and Ambulance service for animals in distress from 9am to 5pm
- Inpatient facility for sick and injured animals
- A fully equipped medical unit with OPD, Operation Theatre, X-ray facility and Laser Machine
- Housing, rehabilitation and re-homing of abandoned pets
- Adoption of pups, kittens, dogs, cats, rabbits and guinea pigs
- An exclusive Cattery with a separate Cat Treatment Unit and Kitten Nursery
- Holiday Boarding facility for canines
- Hydrotherapy for paraplegic and accident cases
- Animal Assisted Therapy
CARE also has set up a home for 70 rescued cats in Whitefield.
The nature of the work undertaken by CARE requires us to constantly expand and undertake new challenges to ensure that we make a difference to the thousands of animals that pass through our doors. Depending on the requirement, CARE sets up different fund raising campaigns from time to time to gather the necessary financial resources required for its functioning.
How You Can Make A Difference
You, as a responsible citizen, can do a number of things in order to help us achieve our goal of positively impacting the lives of as many innocent animals as possible. The simplest way to contribute is to visit our premises, take a tour of the shelter and spend some quality time with our permanent residents.
Volunteering is scientifically proven to increase your lifespan by providing multitudinous benefits such as improving self esteem, increasing socialisation, developing emotional stability and coping with stress. You can sign up on our website to touch the lives of needy stray animals.
You can fulfill a streetie’s dream of finding their furrever home by choosing to adopt a pet from our shelter. This noble cause changes two lives – yours and that of the animal that you bring home. CARE shelter keeps organising events like the Indie Puppy Adoption Drive in December 2019 to encourage bangaloreans to adopt indigenous canine breeds.
If you don’t have the bandwidth to adopt a stray, you can passively adopt an animal of your choice by contributing towards its food, medicine and shelter requirements on a monthly/annual basis. CARE centre will provide regular updates about your passively adopted pet and you are free to visit our facility when you have the time and spend some precious moments with your chosen pet. Indian Cricket Team Captain Virat Kohli has also passively adopted 15 canines suffering from blindness, chronic illnesses and paraplegia from the organisation.
You can mark a special occasion in your life or that of a loved one by sponsoring a day’s feed of all shelter inhabitants. CARE also retails a range of aesthetically designed merchandise including sweatshirts, T-shirts, coffee mugs, planners, badges, fridge magnets, tote bags, caps, and calendars to collect monetary resources for their noble pursuits.
In addition, you can donate to the CARE shelter to enable us to rescue more innocent lives. Every contribution counts, whether big or small. Donations made to CARE are exempt U/s 80G of the Income Tax Act. CARE is also authorised to accept Foreign Donations under the FCRA Act.
CARE was also felicitated with the Champions of Bengaluru honour at the Namma Bengaluru Awards 2019 for its exemplary work in rescue and rehabilitation of street animals and abandoned pets. You can learn more about our NGO through our website www.charlies-care.com.
* Sudha Narayanan is the Founder Trustee of Charlie’s Animal Rescue Centre – CARE.