On the Other Side of the World

September 12, 2011

There are millions of stray dogs in India, of which most reside in the already overcrowded cities. There is no known census of the population of stray dogs in India, though the 2003 report by APCRI, a group of professional scientists and experts, estimates that there were 22 million stray dogs in India in 2000. According to the CDC, 75% of all rabies-related human deaths per year occur in India, of which 99% are caused by dog bites. In Calcutta, over 12 people die every month from rabies, making this a humanitarian issue as well as an animal rights issue.

Sharon, an amazing customer service employee here at KHS, wants to make a difference. And she has a story to tell:

“When I was a little girl in grade 6, our teacher asked us to write an essay on what we wanted to do career-wise when we grew up. I said that I wanted to open an “animal orphanage”. She gave me a zero and called me and told me that was not a career, it was a hobby. Needless to say I was very upset and decided that was exactly what I was going to do and was not willing to wait till I grew up. So I started bringing in stray sick animals and taking care of them till they got well. Of course my mother never let me keep them, but I tried. As I grew older and moved out of my mother’s house I began to take in more and more stray animals and also keep them. Living in a city doing this was a challenge and at one point I had almost 8 dogs, 9 cats and approximately 200 birds. I had a mini hospital at home and would treat them till them till they got well and then had to keep them because it made no sense to put them back on the streets to have them only get sick again.

In the meantime the idea of an Animal Orphanage or a Sanctuary kept growing in my mind. I started volunteering with Compassionate Crusaders and got to see that we had a “pound” which was just an enclosure with hundreds of dogs in a terrible state. There was no place for cats and we had to go into the fields to check on the horses. Strays on the streets were multiplying and suffering and there was only so much that I could do. I decided that I was going to go ahead and put my plan into action and start my sanctuary.

I recently applied for a grant for land and had a plan. I wanted to start a sanctuary which would be only for strays and abandoned animals, alongside it a hospital for those who can pay, and a cemetery where people who loved animals could give their babies an honorable sending. I talked to the vets at BSPCA on Facebook and they agreed to back me up. I got a grant for 20 acres of land to start. I am going home in December to talk to People for Animals and ask for their help as well so hopefully I can start soon. I have many people who are willing to help me set up and run and I am really excited.

This is going to be the first sanctuary in Calcutta and it will be what I have always wanted to do. And I am so thankful to the Kitsap Humane Society for teaching me all that I have learned. Of course it is going to be hard but…….it is going to happen.”

Over 7,000 miles away from the Kitsap Humane Society, one of our own is going to make a difference.
                              – Heather Kite, KHS Animal Welfare Coordinator

                                         Sharon with one of her beloved dogs