Friends of IACC

This is a volunteer community project to fix, maintain and improve the "Integrated Animal Care Center, Auroville" so it can continue to care for stray dogs and other animals.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

What needs to be solved at IACC

Right now, IACC is acting as a safe space for strays protecting them from cruel treatment they might receive on the streets and ensuring that they get fed twice a day, but that's about it. These are the key small and big issues that need we have identified and will begin solving for the smooth function of current activities of IACC.

  1. There should be a way to separate the adult dogs in few different groups, keep the puppies separate, and the ability to isolate a dog who is a new arrival or has an infection that can spread to others. We have no way yet to isolate the dogs which is bad as they keep infecting each other, puppies get bullied by older dogs and at feeding they start fighting.
  2. There is a massive flea and tick infestation.
  3. There is no veterinarian on site and there is no medical care available for dogs unless Lorraine can schedule a house call with a local veterinarian which does not always happen.
  4. The evening feeding is done by the food delivery person, which means there is no food sorting and dogs don't get separated, which means some dogs might be not getting fed and there is a good chance of someone choking on a food item which should not have been present in the food.
  5. Dogs don't get any individual attention and the affection they need.
  6. Dish-washing happens in an un-shaded area, the procedure is clumsy un-necessarily difficult. Also, dogs always get into the soapy water which is not good for them.
  7. Food-sorting happens in an un-shaded area in the entryway and attracts a lot of scavengers.
  8. We think some of the dogs might have food related allergies but there is no way to confirm it.
  9. The clinic is sort of a dumping room.
  10. There is no adoption process and thus no outflow of dogs.
  11. There is no procedure to handle dog poop, food waste or garbage. Things are being burnt and dumped.
  12. There are no set schedules, procedures, documentation, lists, methods thus making it trickier for new people to get involved.
  13. There is no place outdoors apart from the double doors at the entry way where you can be without being swarmed by all the dogs, which can be a little too much at times.
  14. There is no means of transport for dogs available apart from booking a cab.
  15. There is no funding available.
  16. The property being ill-maintained in general. Wild grass is not being cut. There are wood piles which are unsightly and promote vermin. There are broken down and shabby structures. Even the current structures are  made without much thought and are in the way. Thatch roofs are great if maintained, but the way situation is, it is just promoting insect growth and definitely does not make sense in the clinic.
  17. There are no ready quarters for volunteers to settle and no communal space.
  18. There is no dedicated staff apart from Lorraine.
We have our work cut out for us!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The daily scoop - sort, feed, wash and pick up poop

Lorraine is so consumed by managing the daily process alone that she has no time to improve the processes or place or the clinic or to find good help. Every now and then a volunteer or two show up and she gets a breather. Sadly the Auroville Guest Services website form which volunteers fill up, never make it to her :(

So the process till date - The day begins with cleaning up the yard, aka poop pickup. Then the hand pump is used to fill up water buckets which are then used to water bowls spread across the yard.

Murthy, a part time worker being paid by Auroville fund brings left over food scraps and kitchen waste from the eatery at Auroville visitor center. This food needs to be sorted manually as it has many many things like onions, cooked chicken bones, raw dough, stale cheese, drumsticks, which are bad for dogs and big pieces of vegetables which need to be mashed as otherwise puppies can choke on them. Sometimes the food comes with a little kibble or chicken soup (We'd rather have these dogs stay vegan!) which is mixed in. Then a little spirulina is added and the dogs are fed with an attempt to spread them out so they don't fight each other.

After that the dishes are collected, washed and spread out in the sun for evening feeding. Some days Alessandra removes ticks from the dogs. In the evening the process is repeated, except the food is not sorted as there is no one present to sort it sadly :(

The whole process needs to be more organized and efficient. Then even a volunteer who is present for a day can participate. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Arrived and started!

It was last August when I'd first seen "Integrated Animal Care Center". I was in the eatery at Auroville's visitor center when I saw a handmade flier by previous volunteers Phill and Susie. I called the phone number listed and after a twisty paved road, an even twistier dirt road and following the sound of dogs barking I'd finally made it there and I knew it then that this place needs me and I need this place.

I had to turn back and go home to Arizona but I made a promise to myself and Lorraine, the person managing the place single handedly, that I will be back in February.

As luck had it, I met another dog lover in my short stay in Tucson who had years of experience working with dogs in humane society, in a vet's office and also walking and training dogs! I told her about my plans and she decided to join me in this adventure.

Finally, we reached here yesterday evening and set up camp (literally) in a thatch hut. Today we registered with financial services, got our Aurocards and have gotten our daily contribution (Rs. 150 per day, which every guest in Auroville has to pay) waived, rented bicycles, bought food in Kulapalayam (a neighboring village which serves to most common needs of residents and travelers in Auroville).

Tomorrow, we start work!

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