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International Animal Rescue Saving animals from suffering around the world

Volunteer gives glowing report of her time in Goa

Volunteer Gal Marwitz and puppy at our Goa centreGal Marwitz from Israel has given a glowing account of the time she spent volunteering at IAR’s clinic and rescue centre in Goa. In her own words she describes life at the centre and the role of volunteers in soothing new arrivals and giving each and every animal that comes in that extra attention and loving care to keep them happy and healthy.

Gal’s account is certain to encourage other potential volunteers to visit the centre and experience the joy of working hands-on to help the stray dogs in Goa.

"These are my last days at the IAR centre in Goa, after more than three months of volunteering here. It will be difficult to leave.

Of course - I’ll miss the centre - and the staff - and the other volunteers. But the true difficulty is losing the ability to help these dogs a bit, to give them some comfort (and biscuits!)

What I’ve been doing here is actually very minor – the centre works so great in the sense that it can function fully without the volunteers. I was imagining myself scrubbing cages before I got here, but the centre is very organised and has a professional staff. The animals are tended to on a schedule (feeding times, cleaning times, medical rounds) and all their needs are in fact taken care of by the staff.

But that doesn’t mean the volunteers are redundant – I found it very difficult to take a day off from the centre, thinking of the dogs I know are going through the day without some TLC, without their walk - and of course without their Tiger Biscuits. Or thinking of the dogs that only just arrived, scared in an unknown cage, doors slamming around them, other dogs barking, strangers putting bowls in and out, cleaning the cages, going through the day without having someone to spend some true quality time with and help them feel loved. I get carried away, I know, but I haven’t even mentioned the puppies yet – they’re twice as scared and confused. They’ve been taken off the streets where they have been dumped by humans to die and put into cages. They may have ticks hiding between their toes, fleas in their coat, worms in their bellies. Yes, I was the ‘mean tick lady’ as Tanja named me. I tried to remove the ticks from the puppies daily (most of them hate it!), armed with my surgery scissors and a jar. So that was more or less my daily routine, and I used to finish the days filthy and sweaty and full of scratches. Some times crying, and other times rushing to tell good news to the other volunteers.

I was always also very impressed by the fact that the staff never got annoyed with us (the volunteers) – we kept hanging around doing our own thing when the kennel staff were trying to get the work done, we kept bugging the vets with health issues of the dogs, sometimes minor, sometimes imaginary - but often very real. I’m very grateful to them for being so patient. It took me a long time to learn the names of the staff members, and the events we sometimes had outside the centre helped – we had parties, dinners, and even an afternoon at the beach with the kennel staff!

I don’t know if this is the place to tell about Fawn, and Boots, and Chief, and Tiger, and poor Hoody, and Mrs Siolim and Mr Mapusa (and Mousy and Monkey Boy and Black Muzzle, and Dianna and so many more) – these are all dogs and puppies with their different stories, I could go on forever, they all deserve mentioning, but I wouldn’t even start … So thanks again to the wonderful staff, and my admiration to the volunteers who are not there for a known period of time, but who simply do it every day as part of their lives here. I do hope to come back many times. And I especially hope to come back one day as a vet."

International Animal Rescue would like to thank Gal and all the other wonderful volunteers who support our work around the world and provide the animals in our care with that extra helping of kindness and attention to see them through.