I stayed in Manali for almost 3 months in 2019, where I had so many experiences that were new to me, as I’d spent most of my time on the other side of the world. Manali is full of beautiful mountains, noisy shops, yummy food, and… loads of stray animals. I greeted multiple dogs on a daily basis, spending quality time hiking on the trails together, feeding them my leftover food from restaurants, and giving them thankfully received affection. But I wasn’t able to give all the dogs the attention many of them needed in order to be healthy and comfortable, as they required more medical knowledge and resources than I had available as an individual.
I’ll paint a picture for you with a true story. I found a dog on the side of a busy street who was no longer able to move, and did my very best to take care of him by feeding him, giving him water, moving him away from the unforgiving hurry of dangerous traffic, and protecting him from the hot sun and pestering flies. But he was suffering regardless; he was lying in his own waste and was barely able to move well enough to drink water from a bowl. Fortunately, I learned that another concerned community member had already contacted Manali Strays about this helpless canine angel. Both the animal’s suffering and my own stress were relieved the following day by the dedicated, humane efforts of Manali Strays. Although the encounter with that dog was immensely stressful, it was also gratifying to be part of a team that came together to serve an innocent being. This one was dubbed with the name “Scruffy”.
The story of “Scruffy” is just one example of an animal I witnessed who really required professional assistance in order to improve the agonizing situation. I also met animals who were suffering from the following conditions: an abandoned cat someone had sheltered as a baby but didn’t want to take responsibility for as an adult, which left her without any survival skills; a dog with warts covering his entire body; a dog with a tail injury so traumatic there was nothing left on the tail but bone; an elderly dog who was so arthritic she wasn’t able to cross the street to escape from her human abusers; and multiple dogs with infected tumors. I know my description of these misfortunes is distressing to read, but it’s also the reality of so many deserving beings.
India clearly lacks funds to serve so many animals desperate for medical attention. A large portion of the country’s general population do not have the means to provide assistance due to their preoccupation with fulfilling their own human needs to survive and because of a consensual fear of disease, since vaccinations are not affordable or frequently administered. However, at least Manali Strays is present in the area to do what they can to help our furry friends. On behalf of all the human and non-human species, “Thank you, Manali Strays. The world would be a sadder, more painful place without you. Keep up your amazing work.”
Written for Manali Strays by Sarah Smith – a compassionate advocate of both animals and children. She’s currently volunteering her time by recruiting other volunteers to educate the public about the personal and societal effects of child trauma and what we can each do to improve the situation. Learn how you can help be part of the solution by emailing her directly at: email@example.com