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Healing Creatures Great and Small in India

By Michele C. Hollow of Pet News and Views

Dr. Jack Reece, an English veterinarian, quietly goes about his daily routine tending to a wide range of animals from cats and dogs to peacocks and camels. Based in Jaipur, India, Dr. Reece has been a volunteer veterinarian for Help In Suffering for the past 12 years.

Dr. Jack Reece in action.

Help in Suffering (HIS), an Indian charitable trust, has championed animal care and welfare in and around Jaipur for the past 30 years. HIS, the two-acre compound on the outskirts of Jaipur, provides shelter and medical treatment for injured and sick dogs, cats, cattle, donkeys, ponies, horses, camels, monkeys, and birds.

“Working to help animals in India is no more or less important than helping animals anywhere else on the planet,” he says. “The plight of animals is global and even in the more prosperous nations of the West there is still much to be done to improve their lot. The big difference is that India is a huge country with a rampant population of street, working, and wild animals and very few resources to help them. That’s why I chose to offer my services here.”

Dr. Reece, who is a recipient of the first Trevor Blackburn Award by the British Veterinary Association for work in the field of animal health and welfare in a developing country, runs the Animal Birth Control (ABC) and Immunization program for HIS along with a team of 35 workers and volunteers. He has helped set up ABC programs in various cities in India and neighboring countries.

Animal Birth Control and Immunization Program
With assistance from the World Society for the Protection of Animals for Animal Birth Control and Immunization programs, Dr. Reece has worked to create a rabies-free street dog population in Jaipur. To date over 68,000 dogs have passed through the program and the incidence of human rabies in Jaipur has been reduced to zero for the past four years.

According to Dr. Reece, 71 percent of the city’s female dogs are now sterilized and 72 percent of the entire street dog population has been vaccinated against rabies. “Visitors to Jaipur report that our street dogs look extremely healthy and friendly, sharply in contrast with other cities and towns of India where such programs are not yet in operation,” he says.

Animal Rescue
HIS also operates an Animal Rescue program that makes at least 10 rescues a day. This includes monkeys (often injured or burnt on power lines), peacocks and raptors, ponies and donkeys, pigs and camels, cattle, dogs, cats and even squirrels.

Timmie Kumar, HIS managing trustee says that caring for India’s animals is a never-ending endeavor. “We are making progress thanks to many dedicated and kind people who help fund and provide our medical supplies, food and equipment. However, having the resources to keep going and growing is always a challenge. Unfortunately, the only thing that is not in short supply is the number of animals in need.”

HIS receives funding from various government agencies in India as well as donations from groups such as Humane Society International of the USA, Animaux Secours of France, the Marchig Trust and ELSU Foundation of Switzerland, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), and Carpenter Trust of Great Britain.

HIS has organized an Adopt a Pet program, and also sells postcards of animals online as a means to raise funds. For more information, click here.

Volunteer Vets
HIS accepts experienced or newly qualified veterinary surgeons to assist with surgery, radiography, treatment or nursing care. The organization prefers a minimum stay of three months. Veterinary students are also welcome and will find plenty of opportunity for “hands on experience.”

Because of funding challenges, HIS requires volunteers to pay for their own transportation, accommodations, and meals. Veterinary surgeons and veterinary students interested in volunteering should e-mail Dr. Reece at jack@his-india.in. “At HIS we gladly share duties and responsibilities to look after the animals in this part of the world,” says Dr. Reece. “It is a labor of love. We get immense satisfaction from what we do, and enjoy a strong bond of friendship among ourselves in helping the animals of Jaipur.”

Here is a moving YouTube video of HIS:

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13 comments to Healing Creatures Great and Small in India

  • Fulvia

    What this guy does is AMAZING! He deserves respect and consideration! Sorry I’m not a vet and cannot volounteer… Thank you for posting, Michele!

  • Kathleen Basiewicz

    I thank God for unselfish people that can and are making a difference in this world for our animals. A little understanding can go a long way. Thanks.

  • Agreed. We need more people like Dr. Reece.–Michele

  • Roswitha

    Thank you Dr. Jack Reece.

  • Alicia

    I’ve just seen the blog by Michele Hollow. We are so lucky to have people like her spreading the word!

    Many thanks indeed.

  • Alicia

    Wonderful to see the article on Pet News and Views.

    Wonderful to already see the feed back from various animal lovers.

    I agree with our very modest vet Dr Jack Reece about the good team work HIS family puts together for the welfare of animals. No achievements or goals are reached without a committed and a dedicated team.

    On behalf of all the Trustees and the HIS team please thank Michele for the wonderful coverage.

    Thank you once again

    Kind Wishes

  • Thanks Alicia! HIS is a wonderful program, and I’m glad you shared the information about it with me. It’s programs and volunteers like this that drive me to keep blogging.–Best, Michele

  • Barbara Gruner

    It’s wonderful to know there are people like Dr. Reece in the world, when there is so much animal cruelty.

  • Jill

    Thanks so much for letting us all know about people like Dr Reece and HIS, it gives us a little bit of hope to read about things like this.

  • Barbara Porter

    So good of you to cover organizations like HIS. It really is so positive. Thank you.

  • Paula Miller

    Thanks for sharing this good news, feel good story about volunteers in India!

  • Pamela Priestly

    I love reading about heroes, and HIS is full of them. Thank you.

  • Kurt Connoley

    With all of the negative and depressing stories about animals on the Internet, it’s refreshing to learn about HIS. Thank you, Michele, for reporting on this.