Major expansion of veterinary clinic
International Animal Rescue’s veterinary clinic in Goa has been gradually expanding over the last four years.
IAR started this important work in Goa from very modest beginnings, literally operating on the kitchen table, we are now running a fully operational veterinary clinic employing 4 local vets and providing a facility for European and American vets to visit and experience the life in a front line field hospital. The evolution of the centre has been complex, it needed the far sighted vision of the trustees to continue the funding of the centre and the extraordinary hard work of the volunteers and staff in India to finally produce a centre that we are all proud of.
March 2001 saw major changes to the centre. The two main members of staff Nichola and Haley returned to the UK and handed over the control of the centre to John Hicks (The former Executive Director of IAR UK). John and Jo Hicks have decided to give up on the constant bad weather of the UK and head out to India on a permanent basis to keep a watchful eye on the clinic. March also saw major development at the clinic. New kennel buildings and a cattery were started. It seemed the months of negotiation with the local planning department had finally been worthwhile as the foundations for the buildings were finally being laid. Two months later and the buildings are nearly complete. John’s hair has turned three shades greyer as the constant battle with the planners continues to this day!
It is worth mentioning here that the good work of the clinic is only possible due to the huge amount of work that goes on behind the scenes to obtain the various planning consents and filling out the endless forms to secure part of the funding from the Government. A huge vote of thanks must go to John Hicks who tirelessly travels back and forth to the Government offices and finally gets the papers required.
We now have a brand new kennel block that houses 100 dogs at a time and a new cat block to house over 50 cats. These new buildings have been designed by John Hicks along with our Architect in India and for the first time we have a professional waste system that allows the units to be washed and disinfected and the waste water runs off into a lagoon to soak away harmlessly. These new buildings will be capable of being cleaned to a far higher standard, reducing the threat of infection which has been so high up till now.
Along with the new buildings we have new staff. We have been so delighted with the standard of care shown by Astrid, our first Indian Vet, we have made her ’Veterinary Director’ of the clinic and she now has three other Indian vets to look after. We have also employed an excellent administrator called Amar Heblar who was formerly employed by the Forestry Department of the Government who will bring a wealth of experience in accounts to the clinic, finally allowing John to follow his real passion, which of course is working with the dogs. Amar will be a liaison between IAR Goa and the Government forestry department to allow us to treat indigenous wildlife.
Under the watchful eye of John and the obvious experience of Astrid we will now be able to open a professional out patient clinic to deal with the hundreds of requests we have from the local population. Instead of offering consultations on the forecourt of the office we will now have a purpose built consulting room. We are also hoping to start the first orthopaedic surgery in Goa. We can then pin and plate broken limbs so that the animal can recover nearly all of its mobility. At present broken limbs are left to heal in the position they have been broken in, which can cause real suffering later in life. To do this we will need more advanced anaesthetics and we are hoping to introduce gas vapourisers soon. This is where volunteer vets from Europe can really help as these techniques are not even taught in Indian vet colleges. We desperately need an X-ray machine to give the vets up to the minute pictures of the injuries.
The last four years have been hard but we can now look at the centre and be truly proud of our achievements. We need to keep on expanding and even with the generous gifts from tourists, the public and the Government grants we still need to find £50,000 a year to run the clinic. Your generous donation is therefore urgently needed.