DID YOU KNOW? At Home for Life® Sanctuary, we care for animals from all over the United States and also many foreign countries. Currently, about 10% of our animals come from other countries—we care for dogs and cats who have come to us from Thailand, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Mexico, Canada, China, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Iran, and even India!
Some ask why we would help animals from other countries, and wonder how these animals find their way to Home for Life® from thousands of miles away. We answered these questions in a blog post: "Home for Life's International Rescues" Home for Life® Animal Sanctuary: Home for Life's International Rescues (homeforlifesanctuary.blogspot.com)
Hilly, our first sanctuary dog from India (we now have three!) illustrates how committed people from around the world come together to help the most desperate animals.
Hilly is a paraplegic street dog who arrived at Home for Life® in 2016 from New Dehli, India after we were first contacted about her over a year before. It is presumed that Hilly was hit by a vehicle and the accident left her paraplegic at the age of only four months old. Over the months in India, she was not able to receive much rehabilitation, and when she arrived at Home for Life® was unable to walk or stand. Hilly is a very unusual looking dog with a short grey coat, large ears and large brown eyes and long legs. She almost looks like a little grey deer.
A British ex-pat contacted Home for Life® regarding Hilly back in the winter of 2015, when Hilly was just about 4 months old. Isobel has lived in New Delhi for nearly 11 years and had started helping the many desperate street dogs she encountered in 2008, after witnessing several upsetting incidents.
She fed and medicated the street dogs near her home and managed to get 14 sterilized,and with the help of a kind vet, funded and got 10 of them rehomed abroad through 2 international rescue agencies in the US: International Street Dog Foundation and Rescue Without Borders, and 2 agencies in Holland: DK and Stitching AAI. Isobel has also helped to fund the costs of rehoming some 'dumped' dogs which have been left outside a medicare boarding centre in New Delhi (Happy Paws Medicare Boarding Centre) where she volunteered and where she boarded sick or injured colony dogs while they recovered. Where possible, all healed dogs are returned back to their street (TNR except for dogs!) to be looked after by their caregiver/feeder. Happy Paws is a boarding kennel in India which also has medical services and often cares for injured street dogs rescued by ex-pats and locals who try to help the dogs by providing veterinary care and then trying to find them homes.
Unfortunately, some rescued dogs did not have a feeder/caretaker and for these dogs, Isobel worked hard to try and find homes for them, although this was a challenge in her adopted country.
In India, sadly, the local indigenous 'desi' dog is not popular with local people—they prefer foreign breed dogs such as Pugs, Labradors, German Shepherds, Boxers, St Bernards, Huskies and any other foreign breeds considered exotic in India. The preference for foreign breeds makes it extremely hard to find homes for the former street dogs within India, and hence the reason Isobel and a few other people she worked with have used international rehoming agencies.
Hilly was abandoned by her rescuer when she only about 4 months old. She was left at Happy Paws, a boarding kennel in New Dehli. Aarti the owner of Happy Paws did all she could for Hilly, but Isobel wrote that looking after paralyzed dogs is especially hard work requiring a lot of time and with all the other sick and injured dogs at Happy Paws it was difficult to give Hilly the kind of intensive care she needed, especially in a developing country. Still Hilly is alive due to the efforts of Isobel and of Aarti (her rescuer, had requested that she be euthanized when he dumped her at Happy Paws) but Aarti saw that Hilly wasn't ready to give up, and did all she could to save her life. Hilly's life was spared but with the stretched resources, she didn't receive the care required for a paralyzed puppy. As a result, she is quite disabled, unable to stand or move much at all and has never had the opportunity to use a cart. Isobel wrote of the desperate challenges faced to get street dogs like Hilly rehomed due to their paralysis and wrote that certainly there were no opportunities for a home for Hilly in India as a paralyzed dog, let alone as a paralyzed street dog. Isobel wrote "I was wondering whether you would consider offering a home for life for Hilly at the sanctuary or if you knew of any other organizations that would consider taking paralyzed dogs from abroad. Her flight costs, vaccinations and all paperwork would be taken care of, we just need to try and find them a safe and secure living environment where they could live out the rest of the lives peacefully, safe and secure and be looked after.
Hilly worked hard on her rehabilitation once she arrived at Home for Life®, swimming in the Apple River and short stints in her custom-made cart which had training wheels at first to help support her as Hilly could not hold herself up to stand or move. She was so young when injured and had healed with her little body twisted and contorted so standing straight on in her cart is still challenging, but Hilly has been working hard and can now support her weight, stand in her cart, and roll forward on her own. Still, among our disabled dogs, even our many 2-legged dogs, Hilly is our most fragile, and the least agile. Because of her vulnerability, we kept Hilly easily accessible for our staff to provide care. Hilly is the first of our dogs any visitor will meet as she is holds court right in the main entrance where she can keep track of all activity through the glass of the front door and greets all guests with a friendly and excited bark. Hilly has such a vibrant personality and radiant spirit that her paralysis and tragic start to life could never suppress.