Dharamsala Animal Rescue simply doesn’t exist without its wonderful staff team. Period.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again — DAR is only as good as its staff and volunteers. In previous posts, we’ve talked to some volunteers who have given their time generously to help all the furries in Dharamsala. Now it’s time to highlight some of our core staff members, who work tirelessly for one reason only: our beloved desi dogs!
On a recent trip to India, I managed to catch up with some of the DAR staff. Next up is Ankit, who is an Animal Welfare Assistant. We chatted about his childhood love of dogs, how street rescue is not just a job for him, and of course, his favourite desi dog!
Vaila: Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do at Dharamsala Animal Rescue.
Ankit: I’m Ankit Sharma and I come from Palampur. I’ve been working at DAR since early 2022 as an Animal Welfare Assistant. Before that I was working in an NGO that assists with natural disasters.
My daily routine at DAR involves going to check on the dogs first and making sure their blankets are dry etc, then doing the daily worming treatment, then perhaps taking part in a rescue if we get a call out. But each day is different and we have to deal with whatever comes up.
Vaila: Tell us about an event that sticks out in your mind/has stayed with you (whilst working for DAR), or heartwarming story…
Ankit: Wow – it’s so hard to choose a story about one dog; I love working with all of them. When I first started working here it took some time to get to know the dogs and get friendly with them. Now I’ve built up relationships with them and it has been such a good experience being here these last months.
Vaila: What do you love about working for DAR?
Ankit: I’ve been around dogs since childhood and that’s why I love working here, helping dogs. The dogs are friendly and easy to be with, easier than being with humans a lot of the time.
Vaila: Has working for DAR changed your perspective on stray dogs/how you think about strays?
Ankit: Adopting stray dogs is better than breed dogs – they only need love, food and some shelter. When I joined DAR and started doing rescues I realized just how many dogs were injured on the road or had broken bones and just needed help. I’ve learned how to do first aid for them and so wherever I go in my personal time, I carry my first aid kit so that I can help any dog in need. It’s not just a job for me to help stray dogs.
Vaila: What can local people in Dharamsala do to help stray dogs?
Ankit: If people see injured dogs or dogs who’ve been hit by a car they can call us on the helpline number. We have a protocol: we’ll always ask for videos and pictures if possible then we can better organise the rescue. They can also call us if any stray dogs or even adopted stray dogs need medical treatment for skin problems or any other issue and we’ll try to prescribe something.
Vaila: Who’s your favourite stray?
Ankit: All are favourites but there’s one new dog, a female dog without a name who’s friendly with me. Oh, also there’s Uno, a white dog who seems to like me!