I love animals and travelling in India can sometimes make your heart cry if you look at the state of some of the animals you see on the street. It makes you wonder if anyone cares at all about the fate of these poor creatures.
I was so happy to find out that in fact, some people do. I read about Animal Aid Unlimited Udaipur. They run an animal rescue center and hospital for ill and injured street animals. Tourists can come to visit the center or even volunteer for a day or two.
Animal Aid unlimited Udaipur
I took the local bus to the village of Badi, just outside Udaipur. This is where a family from Seattle settled down and founded the Animal Aid hospital. Just like me, they were heartbroken by the amount of ill and injured street animals.
When they tried to help the animals they found out there were no animal hospitals in Rajasthan. They decided to stay and start their own. In the last 15 years they rescued about 60,000 animals.
A visit to the hospital
When I arrived I was welcomed by a team of dedicated volunteers that cared deeply about the animals. There were different sections for dogs, cats, donkeys and cows. The aim is that once the animals are recovered they are released back from where they came from.
Some animals are too ill though and they become long term residents. I spent some time with the paralyzed dogs. The caretakers know their names and personalities and guided me to those that would appreciate some extra love and affection.
The more time I spent there the more impressed I was by their work. The local volunteers were passionate about what they were doing and managed to spread the word of the animal hospital. It turns out that most people in India care a lot about animals, but simply had no way to help them before.
Now they can call Animal Aid Unlimited in Udaipur and they do so often. Communities are getting more pro-active in helping injured animals and Animal Aid Unlimited receive frequent calls from local people about animals in need.
The sad truth about cows in India
What was most inspiring about my visit were the rescue stories the local volunteers shared with me. As cows are holy in India, you would think they have an amazing life, but nothing could be further from the truth.
Poverty means that cows are expensive to maintain for people. Male cows are often abandoned, because they don’t provide milk and as they get older no longer provide any benefits. They roam the streets and eat plastic that is slowly damaging their insides.
You can not kill a cow in India so many are destined a slow death. Animal Aid has a special section for dying cows to at least give them as much comfort as possible in their last days. They also take care of orphaned calves to prevent the same fate for them.
Rescue stories of Animal Aid Unlimited Udaipur
my visit to this center deeply touched my heart. I kept following their work once I was back home in the Netherlands. Their rescue stories on youtube left many tears and smiles on my face.
They reminded me that there are good and dedicated people out there that spent their time and energy towards improving the lives of these animals.
I hope that I will be able to come back one day and volunteer for some time as it as one of the few NGO’s in India that do truly amazing work. Below is one of the rescue stories that really lifted up my spirits.
Logistics: How to visit Animal Aid Unlimited in Badi
Animal Aid Unlimited welcomes visitors. You do not need to call in advance and you can just show up anytime, but the best time is between 9 and 12 am. Once you arrive you will receive a tour through the center. The tour is free, but donations are always welcome and you can buy some t-shirts. They are also looking for volunteers. You can volunteer from 1 day to as long as you want. There is no fee to volunteer, but you are responsible for your own accomodation and food. For more information about volunteering look here.
Badi is 8 kilometer northwest of Udaipur. By auto rickshaw it is about 30 minutes from the old city in Udaipur. From Chetak bus stand (15 minute walk from old city) there are frequent buses to Badi. From the bus stand in Badi it is a short walk to the animal rescue center.
If you want to know more about Animal Aid Unlimited I can recommend this general promo video made by them.
Ellis is a travelblogger from the Netherlands with over 20 years of experience as an independent budget traveller in more than 50 countries. She has a Master degree in Cultural Anthropology and Global Health with a specialization in South Asian cultures and the Caucasus.