T hrough a Dutch organization that tries to help street dogs (and cats) all over the world - and for that purpose, mediates between Dutch veterinarians or Veterinary students and animal welfare organizations - I came in contact with HAS. As I wanted to contribute to animal welfare in India and get to know the country where my (Dutch) boyfriend has been living for the last two years, I decided to volunteer at HAS for two weeks.
When I met Team HAS, I instantly felt at home. They were very hospitable and eager to inform me about the animal welfare in India. My admiration goes out to everybody working/volunteering at HAS - whether they are caretakers, rescuers, volunteers or management, as they were all very dedicated to helping animals. Special thanks go out to the vets, Drs. Raja and Jisna! They took me along with all the surgeries, patients and rescues they encountered in the clinic in Coimbatore and were open to discussion on diagnostics or treatment options. Although there were some differences in ways of working, I think we all learned a lot.
They not only introduced me to practicing veterinary medicine in India, they also taught me a lot about the way of life in southern India, among others marriage, movies, religion, and most importantly: food! Almost every day, they let me try some of their homemade delicious snacks or lunch and I really loved it!
In the short time I stayed at HAS, I’ve seen a lot of very distressing cases and diseases we hardly ever encounter in Europe. I also learned that, even with limited resources, there is a lot that can be done to help these animals. There is of course still a lot to improve on animal welfare and health, and public health in India, and I hope HAS can continue and expand their good work for a long time. I really enjoyed my stay at HAS India and I hope to come back someday to meet up with my human and furry friends I acquired there.