Q: Where is Animal Aid’s shelter located?
A: Animal Aid’s shelter is located in Udaipur, Rajasthan, India in Badi Village, near the T.B. Hospital. You can reach the Badi Main Road from either side of Lake Fateh Sagar. Follow the Badi Main Road till it comes to a T. From there you will see Animal Aid signs. We are about a 30 minute riksha drive from the Udaipur city-center.
Q: Is there a fee to volunteer?
A: No. Animal Aid always appreciates and needs donations, but there is no fee to volunteer.
Q: Do I have to book my visit or can I just show up?
A: You do not need to book your visit. You are welcome to visit Animal Aid and have a tour of the shelter any time between 9 and 4. Our lunch break is from 1-2 so try not to arrive during that hour. Animal Aid is open 7 days a week. To volunteer, please arrive between 9 and 11 a.m. so that we can orient you.
Q: How much does the riksha (tuktuk) cost to get to Animal Aid?
A: Your riksha driver shouldn’t charge you more than about Rs. 350 for the round trip including waiting or coming back to pick you up at a specified time. Make sure you arrange your conveyance back to Udaipur from Animal Aid before your driver drops you off because there isn’t a riksha stand near Animal Aid. It’s wise to pay your driver at the end of the day to ensure that they definitely do come to pick you up. Most drivers will be happy to come pick you up at the end of the day or wait outside for a few hours while you have a tour. There is a local bus that comes near Animal Aid that goes to Chetak Circle which is about a 20 minute walk from the Old City. The bus costs almost nothing (Rs.20 or so) but it takes about an hour each way.
Q: What should I bring to the hospital?
A: Bring at least 2 liters of drinking water. If you are staying through lunch you can either walk to the corner (10 minute walk) for a simple rustic outside “dhaba” eatery, (about Rs 30 for 3 chapatis, dal and a veg) or bring your own.
Q: Does Animal Aid provide accommodations for volunteers?
A: No. Animal Aid does not have accommodations. Udaipur is a popular tourist town and famous for its sheer number of hotels in budget and luxury ranges. The part of Udaipur where the hotels are all located is called the Old City. That’s where the City Palace is. Animal Aid is about a 30 minute riksha drive from the old city.
Q: What will I be doing as a volunteer?
A: Please download our Volunteer Manual here, and enjoy imagining some of the best experiences of your life, just waiting for YOU!
Q: What vaccinations do I need to volunteer at Animal Aid?
A: We strongly recommend that you consult with your doctor and complete your anti-rabies vaccinations at least one month before volunteering. If you are not vaccinated you can still volunteer at Animal Aid but we will have to restrict some areas of the shelter for your safety. However, even with a few areas off-limits there will still be a huge amount of work and help that you can give and you probably won’t even notice the restriction.
For other vaccinations we recommend you consult your travel medicine specialist in your home country.
Q: How do I report an injured or sick animal in Udaipur?
A: Call our emergency help-line to report the injury or illness: 9829843726, 9784005989, 9001225333. If you have seen a critically injured or ill animal, please stay near the animal (but not too near so that she starts running away) until our ambulance reaches. When you have reported the emergency our dispatcher will tell you the approximate time it will take to reach and it’s vital that you stay there with the animal until we arrive in case she goes down a lane or under a car and we are unable to find her.
Q: How long does it take your ambulance to arrive?
A: Depending on the severity of the emergency, our ambulance arrives between 1-3 hours. If the animal is caught somewhere, fallen in a well or other dangerous place, bleeding, or at risk of further injury we make every effort to arrive within 30 minutes to an hour. For non-critical emergencies like mange, small wounds, mild illness etc we may take several hours and we appreciate your patience. We are Udaipur’s only emergency service for animals and receive 15-25 emergency cases every day and we do our best to reach as fast as possible those in most need.
Q: What should I do if I see cruelty against an animal?
A: If you see cruelty (or suspect it) the first thing to do is take photos and video while at the same time telling the abuser to stop (while you are filming). It’s very important to get the abuse captured on film to be shown later to the police. Without photos or film it can be difficult (though not impossible) to bring charges. After getting the photos/film and trying to stop the abuse, immediately call us to report the incident: 9829843726, 9001810241, 9829489296. It would also be very helpful if you could email the photos and details to us at email@example.com. You may request for your identity to remain anonymous.
Q: Does Animal Aid run centers in other parts of India?
A: No. Animal Aid only has one hospital/shelter address, located in Badi Village outside Udaipur. We partner with the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations in conducting veg outreach in other parts of India, presenting in colleges, leafleting, and showing videos about the good we can do for animals by going veg and staying veg.
Q: Does Animal Aid spay/neuter their rescued dogs?
A: Yes, if the condition of the dog is suitable for surgery all of our rescues are spayed/neutered.
Q: Does Animal Aid adopt dogs out of India?
A: In general, no. We discourage it because of the abundance of dogs desperately needing adoptive loving homes in every country. If you volunteer in your local shelter you we feel certain you will fall in love with a dog waiting for a home. However, Animal Aid is home to many dogs who have permanent disabilities and depending on the involvement of the prospective adopter, a sanctuary dog could be adopted.
Q: Why does Animal Aid return animals back to their neighborhoods once they are healed, spay/neutered and vaccinated?
A: Returning healed/recovered dogs to the street is an issue that for people outside of India can be hard to grapple with, at first at least. Here are the reasons in a nutshell: First, there are millions of dogs on the street throughout India. Around 10,000 in Udaipur alone. Trying to find homes for this vast number of animals or sanctuary is impossible and in our opinion not a strategically wise use of resources. Animal Aid’s mission is to help the greatest number of street animals (dogs, cows, donkeys and other animals) stay healthy and happy and get medical care when they need it. Secondly, it’s important to understand that the majority of the dogs on the street are actually doing very well. They are extremely well adapted to the street. The dogs are not abandoned, they were born there and live with a pack of street dogs (usually their mother and brothers and sisters). It helps to think of them a little bit like wild animals rather than fully domesticated dogs living in homes. They aren’t afraid of loud noises or large crowds, they know how to maneuver through traffic and people too. The majority of the animals we rescue need treatment for minor injuries and illnesses. Indeed, if those animals didn’t receive care they would be in danger of infection and many cases death, but because of our active community of local people, we are able to rescue most of the animals before it becomes serious of life-threatening. We bring them in to Animal Aid’s shelter, treat their wounds, vaccinate against rabies and other viruses (namely distemper and parvo which are big killers here) deworm, and spay/neuter, and on average they are ready to go within about month. The stories we share on Youtube and our website are in general the worst of the worst. They are the most extreme cases and not at all representative of most street animals, or the animals we rescue, in general. We have a huge network of local Indians who call on our helpline to report animals in need of medical care. Every year we receive over 5,000 calls from local Indians reporting mostly minor, but sometimes extremely severe cases who are in need of medical care.
Q: What time of year has the best weather for volunteering in Udaipur?
A: Every season is beautiful in Udaipur but many tourists prefer the cooler weather between September and February. The summer months can be very hot with temperatures getting up to 110° F (43° C). If you do not adapt well to very hot climates you should probably avoid coming during the summer.
Q: How do I get to Udaipur?
A: By air, tickets from Mumbai and Delhi tend to be about USD $150 (Rs 6000). Not every city flies direct to Udaipur but Mumbai and Delhi do. The airport is new, clean and pretty in Udaipur. It is not an international airport.
The train from Delhi to Udaipur is an overnight ride and very easy. We recommend getting your tickets booked in advanced by a travel agent as the seats often run full and you may have to wait several days to get a free seat.
Q: What is the difference between Animal Aid Unlimited and Animal Aid Charitable Trust?
A: Animal Aid Unlimited (AAU) was set up by the founding family (Erika, Jim and Claire) who also established Animal Aid Charitable Trust. Animal Aid Unlimited is a 501(c)3 charitable organisation. AAU is the funding arm for Animal Aid Charitable Trust, and is able to provide a tax credit to donors within the USA.
Donors may choose to donate to either Animal Aid Unlimited in USA, or Animal Aid Charitable Trust in India. In either case, 100 percent of the funds donate will be used only as you specify. If you do not specify, they will be used to fund the general operating costs, the rescue programs, the treatment and sanctuary in Udaipur, or humane education in Udaipur and elsewhere India.
When you donate through PayPal, your money is sent to the USA and routed to India through our special account which has permission to receive funds from outside India. Donors may also choose to donate directly into that account, but tax credit is only available through the USA account by US-based donors.