Young girls with big hearts
15 high school girls from Colorado were emotionally touched at the close encounters they had with the beautiful patients and sanctuary residents of Animal Aid in early June. ProWorld, a US-based NGO giving young volunteers exposure to the ways in which people contribute to their communities, brought the girls for a 3-hour tour leaving plenty of time for loving exchanges between girls and dogs, donkeys, cows and pigs.
For many of the girls (aged 15-16) this was the first time they had ever touched a donkey or a cow. While some were drawn to the calves on hand, several of the girls knelt down to gently stroke the forehead of a cow who was in hospice care as she lay unable to stand. Cows like her are generally rescued from car accidents or ill from huge amounts of ingested plastic from eating garbage on the streets.
We took time to explain that non-lactating (un-productive) cows and bulls from backyard and large dairies alike are almost always abandoned on the streets if they aren’t sold to a slaughterhouse because no one wants to spend the money to feed them. Like all cultures around the world, cows and donkeys are bred and used for food and labor.
We explained this captivity and what it means to the animals once they are no longer “useful.” If they are not killed outright, they are put onto the streets where their chance of a good life is foreshortened by reckless drivers and street garbage. The girls were surprised that we did not euthanize cows who are dying. We explained that the law in Rajasthan prohibits euthanasia, and that we provide hospice or “comfort care” by enabling gravely ill cows and bulls to lie on donated mattresses and be given water by syringe or hydration drips, and to get pain medicine as needed.
Tears of compassion, joy and pity mingled together as the girls appreciated the courage and affectionate natures of animals living with handicaps such as blindness, limb paralysis, or amputations. Some were particularly moved by the preventable injuries suffered by donkeys; some gravitated toward puppies and cuddled them instantly. Everyone loved the extremely lovable dogs who live in “Handicap Heaven,” and “Rambo” gave a demo of his version of a water dive into the little swimming pool Animal Aid has made especially for him.
Animal Aid thanks ProWorld for giving the girls a chance to broaden their horizons to include a memorable day with street animals on a brief 12-day trip in Udaipur. We imagine they will never forget what they experienced, and hope that among the lessons they took from it is the sense that no matter who you are, what your circumstances may be, there are animals around you who need your love, your help, your care, and YOU have the power within yourselves to do something amazing for them. And the lucky thing is, however modest your gesture may seem, it will magic for the animal to whom you give your affection.