Though our roots are firmly in being a sanctuary and rescue shelter, we have evolved into a center for healing. In dealing with the many creatures who now come to us, in addition to allopathic treatment, we use homeopathy, ayurveda, massage, acupressure, Reiki, Bach Flower remedies, and others.
All our in-house creatures get a very powerful ayurvedic immune system booster twice day which has virtually eliminated contagious "wipe-outs".
There are two main buildings. One houses a semi-sterile operating theatre, a modern clinic examination/treatment room, a small isolation ward, a small dispensary, a reception veranda, and a large retaining cage.
The other building is 48x18 feet and has three large retaining cages - each 17 by 11 feet and a fully equipped kitchen where the "furry ones" meals are prepared by our dear cook.
Our Dear Doctors
Dr. Rajasekar, our Director of Medicine (and Financial Reporting), has a post graduate degree in surgery from Madras Veterinary College, one of the finest in India. He has evolved into an accomplished clinician and surgeon. The Government Veterinary Hospital sends its large animals needing operations to him. People come from far away to have their animals treated here. He gives and gives of himself. 24/7.
He works seven days a week, and as often as not is treating an emergency case at night. Buddhists would call him a bodhisattva. He holds nothing back in his efforts to lift suffering. Thousands of people love this guy. He is so, so quiet. You never hear him talk about any of the exceptional things he actually does. You never see him loose patience. There's a deep stillness and purity in him. The animals pick it up right away, and surrender to him as he examines and treats them. Leslie sometimes calls him Schweitzer, after Albert Schweitzer the famous philanthropist. He and Vishwa are the two pillars of our beloved Shelter.
Really good veterinarians are difficult to find. The market is extremely tight. We're very, very fortunate to have our second veterinarian, Dr. Kamala. She, too, is a top graduate of the Madras Veterinary College. She has an open Heart, which the animals pick up right away. And is a good, caring clinician. Often when Dr. Rajasekar is in surgery she has to carry the full load of the clinic. She is a blessing for us. At the writing of this little note she has been with us six months. May she stay forever.
We presently have specialists coming several times a month to do ABC Sterilizations, which allows our staff doctors to concentrate on the clinic and our in-patients.
In situations where Dr. Raja feels additional medical input would be helpful, he has a whole series of "backup" consultants he can contact who offer their input, gratis. Within India, he sometimes contacts doctors at Madras Veterinary College (also, sometimes Mumbai Veterinary College). He has contact with an outstanding clinical practitioner in Pune that has three clinics, whose specialty is internal medicine. Another one he tends to use has forty years of clinical experience with small animals.
And he has other doctors with whom he consults from time to time. Several are experienced in alternative medical treatments. If he has cases that require specializations that have not yet evolved in India, he has connections in the U.S. that he moves towards. Dermatologists, anesthesiologists, cardiologists, oncologists, etc. In the U.S. small animals as pets have been popular for decades and there are millions of them. Consequently, the demand for small animal specialties has fully developed. In India, this is just beginning. But in the years to come these specialties will probably be offered in Indian veterinary colleges also.
Our Devoted Staff
We have sixteen staff members, and a part-time cook. They've been very carefully selected and we are supremely fortunate to have them because they are all animal lovers, aware that theirs is simply not a regular job and that they are involved in lifting suffering.
They know that they should not go around simply "doing their job". That they're around creatures with whom they have relationships. Creatures that need and want their affection, caring, and love.
You can experience it right away when you walk in - our resident dogs are alive and playful. Our disabled dogs romp with all the others. They don't lament the fact they're disabled, but just live their lives and are happy.
There truly is spaciousness and joy at our shelter. And it unfolds from these special people and our two vets. In that regard, we would be remiss without saying something about Vishwa, our beloved Director of Operations.
He's young at 30 but beyond his years. He's been with us from the very beginning, since we started building. He's so deeply committed that it sends out waves of reassurance. He oversees the running of the entire Shelter. Personally doing most of the emergency rescues. Conceptualizing and running our adoption program, one of the most successful in the country which at this point has placed over 500 puppies in good homes. (And a smattering of other creatures: some horses, cows, donkeys, a turkey and some others.) Personally doing most of the catching and releasing for sterilization (at this point over 5000). Making sure, and it's vitally important, that it's done humanely, and that all the dogs are returned to their own territories. Keeping the staff going. Being aware of each of the animals in the shelter.
He's responsible for all the maintenance and building. Working day and night. Often coming in the middle of the night to make sure everything is okay. Working with our daytime people and exhorting them to be aware, to offer love, to care.
He briefs our nighttime caretakers about special cases and to make sure the puppies will be okay. He identifies the disabled dogs, those that might be having a difficult time emotionally. Making sure that the night staff is alert and ready to call us if anything potentially serious is happening. He regularly is out on the streets tracking down some dog who has been reported as suffering.
There was, on one occasion, a dog who had a horrible skin condition - no hair, bleeding, and skin wrinkled like an elephant . It was running loose. It took three days to catch him. The last day was at night. Vishwa chased him (on foot) for three hours. Exhausted, sweating profusely, and drenched (it was raining), he finally caught him. This dog was with us for two months, and has been released with a full coat. Healthy and so happy to be free again.
Vishwa is not just our Director of Operations, he is a pillar and a big part of the soul of the shelter. He was deeply involved in the construction. He fearlessly catches injured monkeys, ferocious dogs ... any animal in need. He'll be pleased and embarrassed when he reads this.
We sometimes joke about him being a Martian because an Earthling could not accomplish what he does.
Leslie Robinson is a very young 76. He was a lover of animals before he began to walk, bringing dogs he found home to his mother - "Oh Leslie, not another one." He grew up loving dogs and says he will certainly die loving dogs.
He was educated at the University of Michigan - undergraduate and graduate work in business and actuarial mathematics. He joined the Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States as a young man. For a while was the Chief Actuary of the State of Michigan. Then had a consulting firm which rendered financial opinions to government.
He met his guru, Swami Muktananda Paramahamsa, in 1975 and left the business world when he was forty. He traveled with Swami Muktananda.and spent ten years in his ashrams in both the U.S. and India. For a period, he managed one of his main ashrams in the U.S.. He spent four years in the mountains in a small Tibetan Buddhist Gonpa of one of the elder Rinpoche's of Tibet. In total, Leslie has lived in India for eighteen years.
You can get to know Leslie a little better by watching several short interviews with him about the work he is doing in India ... on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=riuYRzwmGws&list=PL1CB5554F2CE5C371&index=5