Dharamsala Animal Rescue https://dharamsalaanimalrescue.org a world of difference for animals and people Thu, 06 Aug 2020 12:32:07 +0000 en hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.4.2 https://dharamsalaanimalrescue.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/cropped-DAR_Favicon2-32x32.png Dharamsala Animal Rescue https://dharamsalaanimalrescue.org 32 32 Beasts Of Burden Get A Home They Deserve https://dharamsalaanimalrescue.org/beasts-of-burden-get-a-home-they-deserve/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=beasts-of-burden-get-a-home-they-deserve https://dharamsalaanimalrescue.org/beasts-of-burden-get-a-home-they-deserve/#respond Wed, 05 Aug 2020 19:56:07 +0000 https://dharamsalaanimalrescue.org/?p=214899 The post Beasts Of Burden Get A Home They Deserve appeared first on Dharamsala Animal Rescue.


How many of us have seen donkeys being overloaded — carrying bricks, mud, and sand at construction sites in and around Delhi day in day out and all we did was sigh?

We feel bad for a moment and say ”poor animals, I wish I could do something for them” but then just walk away, once again getting engrossed in our busy lives and soon forget these animals.

Hundreds of donkeys work incessantly in construction sites and brick kilns under unbearable conditions in soaring temperatures without food, water, or rest. Many suffer from open wounds due to harnesses. The owners beat or prod them with sticks to work faster. Most have eye injuries and bruises due to bricks and sand falling into their eyes on a daily basis. They endure a huge amount of suffering from their toil.


The Asswin Project


If it were not for Bob & Jean Harrison of the Asswin Project, some of these beasts of burden would continue to slog their whole life without any rest, and die a painful, lonely death. They left their home and children back in the UK many years back to come to India to help these animals and give them a life they deserve. They have spent their earnings, time, and energy to rescue, heal and nurture injured donkeys in Gurgaon, Haryana. They persevered despite a lack of funding and managed to rescue dogs, buffaloes, and cows along the way. 

The Asswin Project is a UK registered charity which finances a healthcare programme for the needy animals in and around Delhi. The name reflects the work of ‘Aswins’ — physicians in Hindu Mythology who were said to attend the needs of the sick and reduce their pain and suffering. The extra ‘s’ of course is a play on words to link it to asses or donkeys. Every penny they get goes directly towards the rescue, treatment and care of animals.


A Day in the Life


Every morning the team transforms the couple’s Maruti car into a mobile hospital. They visit the brick kilns, construction sites, and slums. They are equipped with a first-aid box, fully prepared to heal hundreds of donkeys around Gurgaon — treating and cleaning infected feet, bruised eyes, cut ears, or maggot infested wounds amongst other ailments.

Most people living in these areas know them. You can often hear the ‘jhuggi walas’ (slum dwellers) saying “yeh hamare janwaron ke liye bhagwan hai”, which means ‘they are God for the animals’. They have an arrangement with vegetable vendors to keep the previous day’s damaged fruits and vegetables for them — bruised bananas, cabbage heads, and carrots which donkeys love to nibble on. Sometimes they even get mangoes for their dessert — a special treat! 

“They are God for the animals”

Their sanctuary is heaven on earth for these animals and is home to some 190 creatures, including 25 dogs. There they receive the love, care and safety they deserve after all the hard work they do for us. Remember that most of the houses we live in and buildings we construct exist thanks to the tedious work of these beasts of burden.


A Special Kind Of Joy


You can tell how attached Bob and Jean are by the way they talk about their animals: “Aah, this one’s Jack,” Bob tells me while giving me a tour.

“He’s our oldest resident. We found him blind one November two or three years ago. The poor fellow has all those bumps on his nose from banging into doors.”

Jean expresses more using gestures, and gives a perfect rendition of the rustic “Oye! Oye! Oye!” to a donkey trying to pick a fight with an ass.

The couple is now in their 70s. Was this their plan for retirement? Well, they just wanted the donkeys to lead better lives. What will happen to the donkeys when they’re gone? They need to find a successor, or two — someone with the same strength, dedication, and love for animals. Someone who knows where Bob is coming from when he says, “I get satisfaction from cleaning hooves and knowing I’ve made a donkey comfortable.”

Ultimately, if it had not been for this wonderful, inspiring couple, the donkeys of Gurgaon would have continued working endlessly under tough conditions and died a lonely painful deaths. Us city dwellers owe a lot to this couple and I would encourage anyone to come forward to help them out in any way they can to support this noble cause — for the benefit and health of our delightful donkeys!

Once again a big thanks to the Harrisons, you are indeed God’s Angels on Earth


Editor: Vaila Erin Bhaumick

Featured Image: Asswin Project




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About the author

Bhavani Sundaram is and animal lover and activist from Himachal Pradesh in India.

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Crusty’s Story: How DAR Saved My Skin https://dharamsalaanimalrescue.org/crustys-story-how-dar-saved-my-skin/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=crustys-story-how-dar-saved-my-skin https://dharamsalaanimalrescue.org/crustys-story-how-dar-saved-my-skin/#respond Wed, 29 Jul 2020 15:01:41 +0000 https://dharamsalaanimalrescue.org/?p=214827 The post Crusty’s Story: How DAR Saved My Skin appeared first on Dharamsala Animal Rescue.



Namaste! My name is Crusty, and the amazing humans at Dharamsala Animal Rescue saved my life.

When they found me in January, I was so scared and worried. It was cold and wet, and I was hungry and thin. My skin was very dry and itchy, and I had lost most of my lovely fur which made me colder. Humans didn’t want to touch me because I looked strange and they thought I was dirty or infectious. I felt terrible, all itchy and uncomfortable. 


My Rescue


When the rescue van arrived and they picked me up I told myself ‘these humans are good and want to help me’. We drove to their clinic and I saw some really nice vets called Dr Nazneen and Dr Holly. They took skin scrapes to look at under a microscope to find out what was wrong with me. They did some blood work too, gave me my rabies vaccine and some parasite treatment. I got to sleep in a lovely warm kennel with a blanket, with a full tummy, and I finally felt safe. 

Rescue at Dharamsala Animal Rescue



My Diagnosis


I heard the humans saying that they had found something on my skin called ‘Demodex’. I wondered what this could be, and quickly found out. Demodex is a mite that lives in hair follicles. It’s not contagious to dogs or humans, which is great news. It’s very common in India as us street dogs have weak immune systems, and we don’t get medicines to prevent parasites because it’s expensive. Plus, we don’t have humans to care for us.

It spreads mostly over our legs and face and it needs quite intensive treatment, so I would be at DAR for a while. I had to have injections of a drug called Ivermectin to help. They gave me antibiotic tablets too, to get rid of any bacterial infections on my skin. They didn’t taste very nice but those nice humans hid them in some yummy meat for me (I hear protein is also important to heal from Demodex — a bonus for me!).



Learning To Trust


For the first week I was very nervous, even though these very special humans were caring for me. I was scared because sometimes humans aren’t nice to dogs and I find it hard to trust them. But when my skin started to get less itchy and moving didn’t feel so uncomfortable anymore, I knew I was getting better and the way they treated me helped me to trust more. I also felt stronger because they gave me plenty of food and I was warm and safe. 

Day by day my trust in them grew.

I liked Dr Holly especially, because she spent lots of time with me giving me gentle cuddles and helping me feel more confident.  Now we’re friends and I think she loves me. I made very good friends with the other dogs too, especially Champak who is a really fun puppy with only 3 legs. When it rained we snuggled together to keep warm. 



My Road To Recovery At DAR


One day I got to have a bath, which was a bit chilly but refreshing, and made my skin feel good. They used some special shampoo which smelt funny, and afterwards they put some coconut oil all over me. Yuk! I looked all greasy, but the humans told me it’s very good for dry skin so I let it slide. 

These humans are so amazing and I was very happy at DAR with my new friends. They monitor the Demodex infestation and see if it’s going away, which it is and they say I’m getting better. Apparently I need two negative skin scrapes before they know it’s definitely gone. 

I heard the humans saying they thought I once had a home with a family because I was so sweet, and that maybe they got rid of me because I have bad skin and no fur. But I don’t dwell on that now that I have a new temporary home and friends at DAR. 

In the end I had to stay at DAR for a few weeks until I finally got better. I heard that Dr Holly was leaving soon and one thing is certain — I would miss her a lot! The day she left we had a special kiss and cuddle. She was very sad and I was too, but I know she’ll remember me. A new nurse called Amber came who was very nice to me too and kept in touch with Dr Holly about me.

It’s very important for us dogs to be loved, feel safe and have humans we can trust because if we’re happy, we can heal. 



Back To The Stray Life


I knew I couldn’t stay at DAR forever because they have to rescue lots of dogs like me who need help. It was time to go back to my street home. I was scared because it’s hard to find food sometimes, and the cars and bikes go zooming around. But on the bright side, some humans put out chapatis and rice for us, and now I have my rabies vaccine so I don’t have to be scared of that anymore. I’ll be able to tell my story to all the dogs in my area  — I can let them know that if they ever get sick or injured, they can go to DAR too. I’ll be braver now because I learnt how to be confident and how to trust.

I’m so grateful to DAR for how they helped me and I’ll never forget my special friends there. It’s such an incredible place with incredible humans who just love dogs and want to help all of us. When you’re a stray dog on the streets in India, it can be a very dangerous, vulnerable, painful life. It’s like a tiny miracle that places like DAR exist  — one that makes a huge difference to the lives of street dogs like me.


Editor: Vaila Erin Bhaumick

Images: Author’s Own 

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Holly Anne Hills is a veterinarian who was feeling lost and dissatisfied. So, she decided to go to India and volunteer to see if she could rediscover why she chose her career path. After her first stop at Dharamsala Animal Rescue, her love and motivation for being a vet had been reignited.Volunteer at Dharamsala Animal Rescue

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International Animal Rescue Launches Product Line to Save Dogs https://dharamsalaanimalrescue.org/international-animal-rescue-launches-product-line-to-save-dogs/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=international-animal-rescue-launches-product-line-to-save-dogs https://dharamsalaanimalrescue.org/international-animal-rescue-launches-product-line-to-save-dogs/#respond Mon, 20 Jul 2020 19:51:43 +0000 https://dharamsalaanimalrescue.org/?p=214787 The post International Animal Rescue Launches Product Line to Save Dogs appeared first on Dharamsala Animal Rescue.


Dharamsala Animal Rescue Offers Dharma Dogs Line

Providence, Rhode Island – July 18, 2020 – International animal rescue organization Dharamsala Animal Rescue has launched a line of products featuring their popular ‘Dharma Dog’ theme. The product line offers tees, tanks, totes and mugs featuring the Dharma Dog.

Profits from the sale each item supports the organization’s work in Dharamsala, India, where they focus on four core areas of humanely improving the lives of the thousands of suffering street dogs – spay/neuter/vaccination, rescue, adoption and education. The proceeds from the new product line provides direct benefits to the people of Dharamsala as well by working to eradicate rabies and alleviating human/street dog conflict.

DAR founder Deb Jarrett explained that she initially moved to Dharamsala in 2008, and lived there until 2019. While there, her passion to create DAR ignited when she would witness the heartbreaking conditions of dogs in the city, and how little the people seemed to care.

“It broke my heart to watch the dogs suffer, and I was saddened by the reactions, and felt helpless,” Jarrett explained. “Incredibly, my path crossed with a local man who knew someone who could help. Miraculously, my actions and concern sparked a change. Upon returning home to the United States, I knew I needed to do everything in my power to improve the lives of the street animals. I created Dharamsala Animal Rescue to raise awareness about the animals of Dharamsala and fund local projects.”

Dharamsala partnered with Bonfire to take the orders, produce, and ship, and international orders are welcome. https://www.bonfire.com/store/dharma-dogs/

About Dharamsala Animal Rescue

Founded in 2009 by executive director Deb Jarrett, Dharamsala Animal Rescue aims to seek a humane and sustainable environment for animals with direct benefits to the people of Dharamsala, India. Since 2009, DAR has cared for more than 16,000 animals and have had hundreds adopted to loving homes. Always seeking volunteers, donors and adopters, more information can be accessed at www.DharamsalaAnimalRescue.org.


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Meet Sarthak Dogra: He Helps the Strays https://dharamsalaanimalrescue.org/meet-sarthak-dogra-he-helps-the-strays/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=meet-sarthak-dogra-he-helps-the-strays https://dharamsalaanimalrescue.org/meet-sarthak-dogra-he-helps-the-strays/#comments Wed, 24 Jun 2020 23:00:40 +0000 https://dharamsalaanimalrescue.org/?p=214700 The post Meet Sarthak Dogra: He Helps the Strays appeared first on Dharamsala Animal Rescue.


I first met Sarthak Dogra and his sister Surbhi back in 2017. 

They were both teenagers and wanted to collect funds from their family and neighbors to support Dharamsala Animal Rescue (DAR). I remember being completely blown away by this gesture. 

After years of working in the community, and struggling to get local donations, here was the youth of the town coming to the rescue! It gave me and the DAR team such hope for the future of stray dogs and other animals. 

Cut to today, Sarthak and his family have formed a local community feeder group called, We Help The Strays. The purpose is to keep homeless dogs, cows, and even some people from starving during COVID 19 lockdown in India. The lockdown shut off all local food sources – shops, hotels, restaurants, and businesses were closed – meaning there were no handouts or scraps of waste available since everyone was home. 

“We Help the Strays” has decided to continue the project even as lockdown is lifted, and I could not be happier about this. “We Help the Strays” has become a true local partner of DAR. I wanted to learn more about the why and the how behind the project, so I decided to ask Sarthak a few questions. Here are excerpts from that conversation:

Deb: How old were you when you first realized you loved street dogs and they needed your care.

Sarthak: It was in the year 2013 when I was 15, when we gave shelter to a female stray dog who used to roam around in our locality. We started feeding her with the leftover food from our house. Strangely before all this, my family wasn’t really fond of animals in general but that female stray dog instilled in us love and compassion for the strays.

Soon enough, she gave birth to 8 pups in our house and that’s when we decided to find forever homes for each one of them. We slowly realized that it’s not  easy to find homes for the stray pups because people prefer buying specific breeds rather than adopting –  despite there being no difference in how loving all of them are. But somehow we managed to get 7 of them adopted and ended up adopting one of them ourselves. 

We then wanted to get the mom sterilized. Luckily, we met DAR’s vet at the time, Dr. Nyzil Massey, who told us what DAR was and what amazing work they do each day to save so many stray lives.

We decided as a family that we needed to help save as many stray lives as possible. In the next 3-4 years we sheltered over 25 stray pups and eventually found them their forever homes.


Successful Adoptions

Deb: That is amazing! What did your neighbors and other family members think about this?

Sarthak: Most people were against this and considered our work a nuisance, but there were a few people willing to help. Unfortunately, many people living around our place have tried all possible ways to keep us away from helping the strays. In the year 2018, a meeting was called for the entire neighbourhood against our work. We were threatened that an FIR (police complaint) would be lodged against us if we didn’t stop. This incident left us more determined than ever.

We also sought help from Dharamshala Animal Rescue, who assured us that they’ll always stand by our side in such situations and that what we were doing wasn’t violating any law. We have faced a lot of backlash from our neighbours that still continues till this day, but this has never stopped us and we’re sure this won’t stop anyone who’s motivated towards this cause.

Stray mom and her pups

Deb: It can be so discouraging, but at DAR we definitely have seen change happen. Have you noticed attitudes changing over time?

Sarthak: Throughout our time spent working for this cause, we have realized that the majority of the community doesn’t really consider the health and well-being of stray animals as their responsibility. Mostly, they consider strays a menace. But, throughout the years we have seen more and more people coming forward and trying to do their part. Most of the positive shift in the mindsets of people is because of the work that organisations like Dharamsala Animal Rescue have been doing for so many years. They’re the driving force behind what we have been doing. We really hope that more people come forward and take the responsibility to help these strays. 

Deb: That is so nice of you to say. What made you start “We Help the Strays?”

Sarthak: We have always been feeding the stray animals in and around our place. But, due to the sudden outbreak of Covid-19 and the lockdown being imposed in India, we witnessed so many stray animals starving because their main source of food was gone: eateries, hotels, restaurants etc. They had absolutely no food to sustain themselves. Seeing this motivated us to do what we had already been doing for several years but on a much larger scale. My family and a few friends decided to come together. We started covering around 8 areas in and around Dharamsala, feeding over 150+ stray animals every day.

Our main focus is to improve the current state of the stray animals. The strays already go through so much, be it car accidents, diseases, animal cruelty, starvation and much more. We firmly believe that hunger should be the last reason for any living creature to die. Our message to the community is that we as humans, need to realize that these animals are dependent on us for their survival and that we as humans owe them little love and compassion.

Deb: AMAZING. Truly. I am so happy to hear that you have decided to continue this work even as the country starts opening back up. It is such a huge help to DAR. What was your reasoning behind continuing the mass food program? I am sure the pups are the happiest!

Happy pup

Sarthak: We decided to continue feeding the strays of Dharamshala because throughout the past 3 months, we have witnessed that hunger has been a major problem faced by the strays even before the outbreak of corona. Even though many restrictions have been removed, we now have started considering it our responsibility. These animals have become dependent on us.

Also by feeding them regularly, we are able to develop a bond with them which in turn makes it easier to catch them for DAR’s sterilization and rabies vaccination campaigns, as well as rescue program to treat maggot and skin infections. This helps us to control the massive stray population and protect them from various kinds of diseases. 

What’s been a great surprise is that people who’ve never interacted with a dog before have joined us on feeding drives and seen how affectionate these animals can be if given a little food and love. This improves the human-animal relations and helps in shifting the mindset of the people in a positive direction.Together we can work for a better and kinder society.


We Help the Strays is run on local community donations, the family’s income, and some DAR contributions. If you would like to contribute to help them continue this very important work, you can follow them on Instagram or donate HERE. 

All Images courtesy of We Help The Strays.


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About the author

Deb Jarrett, at age 40, decided her life needed some shaking up. In fact, she needed to rattle her brains a bit. She was done climbing the corporate ladder, paying mortgages and internet dating—so she quit her job and moved to India to help animals. Not to be confused with Elizabeth Gilbert, at this point in her life, Deb had done just about all of the self discovery she so desired on therapist couches, yoga retreats, and spiritual workshops. In fact, she Eats very carefully, due to the risk of bacteria and parasites. She no longer Prays after experiencing the harsh reality of the developing world on a day-to-day basis and believes compassionate action is the answer. However, she did find Love with an Indian man. She started Dharamsala Animal Rescue in 2008 after her first trip to India.

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How a Trip to India re-inspired a Veterinarian https://dharamsalaanimalrescue.org/how-a-trip-to-india-re-inspired-a-veterinarian/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=how-a-trip-to-india-re-inspired-a-veterinarian https://dharamsalaanimalrescue.org/how-a-trip-to-india-re-inspired-a-veterinarian/#respond Wed, 10 Jun 2020 18:11:27 +0000 https://dharamsalaanimalrescue.org/?p=214507 The post How a Trip to India re-inspired a Veterinarian appeared first on Dharamsala Animal Rescue.


Days at Dharamsala Animal Rescue (DAR) are varied, and the clinic is always full of activity. For a burnt out veterinarian, I was so happy I came to volunteer.

There are always puppies to be cuddled, recovered dogs to be released, and new rescues arriving. I loved working in such a dynamic environment where you never know what’s going to happen next! 

Puppies at Dharamsala Animal Rescue

Puppies Needing Cuddles

Every day starts with feeding the dogs, administering daily medications, and assessing the patients to monitor their progress and recovery. Then it’s onto my favourite part of the day – walking the dogs through the beautiful countryside with the backdrop of the snowy Himalayas. Just another reason why visiting DAR is so captivating. After that, the rescues start to arrive as well as many pets brought in by their owners for essential vaccinations and treatment for illness or injuries.

Volunteer at Dharamsala Animal Rescue

Dog hike at DAR

Surgery days were my favourite. It’s crucial that the dogs are neutered to prevent further pregnancies and maintain a healthy street dog population. I came to DAR with limited experience in surgery, but with the help and support of the team and the experience I gained, I left feeling confident. It’s a bit different to surgery at home with resources being very limited. Over the course of my trip to India, I learnt to appreciate the facilities we have in the UK, and admire what can be achieved without them when you put in hard work, dedication and care to doing the very best you can. I learnt to be creative and resourceful, and incredibly grateful for the facilities and procedures we can offer to patients at home.

As a vet, you don’t often get to be a part of every step of a patient’s journey. From going out into the community to rescue dogs, through assessment, diagnosis and treatment as well as feeding, playing and walking, you can give these dogs the holistic approach they need. Seeing the dogs slowly gain confidence, learn to trust again, and heal from their traumas as a result of the remarkable care and time the staff give was a pleasure to witness and be a part of. The joy and satisfaction I felt is something I had previously lost and my time at DAR was a strong reminder of why I love my job!

Heading out in the van with the team to rescue dogs after receiving calls from the local community meant I was able to see and explore areas that I would never have otherwise as a regular tourist. I got to see places not in the travel guides and engage with the local community to learn more about the lives of the street dogs and the challenges they face. My heart was warmed by the many people who feed and care for the dogs, but I was also frustrated and angered at the condition of them. The injuries inflicted by humans and the state of the environment many of them are forced to live in was hard to see.

Rescue at Dharamsala Animal Rescue

Rescued Dog with Mange

Many of the rescued dogs had been involved in accidents on India’s treacherous roads, leaving them with broken bones, head, and spinal injuries. We also saw numerous dogs with skin conditions, tick fever, TVT (transmissible venereal tumours) and wire trap injuries to name but a few. Many of these are conditions we see infrequently or less severely in the UK, so my skills were challenged every day but I was motivated and determined to work with the team to help every single one. My heart broke for every dog we rescued, but the unconditional love they were still able to show is something that will remain with me forever. All the dogs have a very special place in my heart!

By the time I left DAR, my love and motivation for being a vet had been reignited. Those of us who work with animals do so because we love them, and I felt I had made a difference to the lives of the dogs I met. It was a pleasure to work with likeminded people and it is a clear objective at DAR to create a better future for India’s street dogs. Without people like them, these dogs have no voice. The way the team works together and their shared passion for what they do is unfaltering. I can’t thank the team enough for everything and I can’t wait to visit again in the future and to continue to support the incredible work they do. 

I found peace and happiness in the mountains, and enjoyed so many moments of calm, as well as plenty of laughs and conversations over a few cups of chai! There is plenty to explore on days off, in the local villages and in the larger towns with intriguing markets, restaurants, yoga, meditation and beautiful walks. I cannot recommend the volunteering experience at DAR enough – you will smile, gain four legged forever friends, and have the adventure of a lifetime!


Images: Author’s own

Click HERE to learn more about volunteering.


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Holly Anne Hills is a veterinarian who was feeling lost and dissatisfied. So, she decided to go to India and volunteer to see if she could rediscover why she chose her career path. After her first stop at Dharamsala Animal Rescue, her love and motivation for being a vet had been reignited.

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7 Ways to help your Dog with CBD Oil https://dharamsalaanimalrescue.org/7-ways-to-help-your-dog-with-cbd-oil/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=7-ways-to-help-your-dog-with-cbd-oil https://dharamsalaanimalrescue.org/7-ways-to-help-your-dog-with-cbd-oil/#respond Fri, 05 Jun 2020 16:56:12 +0000 https://dharamsalaanimalrescue.org/?p=214479 The post 7 Ways to help your Dog with CBD Oil appeared first on Dharamsala Animal Rescue.


CBD oil, also known as cannabidiol oil, is widely known for its many health benefits.

There is practically no part of the body that it can’t help. And, what’s more, it is also very safe and beneficial for animals. 

Now, if your dog is suffering from an ailment and you are wondering if CBD oil can assuage the pain or discomfort they’re feeling, here are seven ways CBD oil may be able to help them:

It Alleviates Pain CBD oil is widely famed for its ability to relieve chronic pains. Research supports the use of CBD for relieving all types of pain in both animals and humans. CBD is useful for reducing pain, and treating osteoarthritis, a common type of arthritis in dogs pancreatitis in dogs. So, if your dog is suffering from intense pain, CBD oil can be of help to your furry friend.

 It Is Not Psychoactive One of the fears that some dog owners have when it comes to using CBD oil for their fur babies is the possibility of intoxication. However, such a claim is highly unfounded because, ideally, CBD oil only has traces (not more than 0.3%) of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This substance causes the feeling of being “high” and is usually more concentrated than marijuana. However, studies show that dogs react well to CBD.

 It is the presence of THC in marijuana hemp oil for dogs that leads to its psychoactive tendencies. But, with CBD oil, dog owners can rest, knowing fully well that their dogs are safe and won’t get intoxicated.

 It Reduces Anxiety

One of the things that can make a dog owner extremely worried is to discover that their dog is unnecessarily anxious. However, the good news is that CBD oil is handy for treating anxiety issues in humans and possibly dogs. A review shows that CBD offers a safer alternative to treat anxiety and other stress-related issues in both humans and animals. 

 Reduces the Growth of Cancerous Cells

Tumor-related growth signifying the presence of cancerous cells in your dog is a serious cause of concern. One of the likely benefits your dog can get from CBD is preventing and limiting tumor growth. Recent research shows that CBD oil can be useful in limiting the spread of cancerous cells and tumors in humans and animals.

Also, because CBD oil works so well for alleviating pain, it can also reduce the pain associated with such growth. It also strengthens the immunity of your dog and further aids and increases the success chances of conventional cancer treatment.

It Acts As An Appetite Booster

As a dog owner, it is only natural for you to enjoy feeding your dog and watching them eat. However, it can become disconcerting when the dog only sniffs the food and doesn’t eat. In a situation where your dog has lost their appetite or is vomiting, CBD oil may help. Research says that the use of CBD oil can help restore appetite and vomiting associated with food or drug irritation in cancer patients. Besides, there are several anecdotal evidence from dog owners that supports the use of CBD to improve appetite in dogs.

 It Secures The Nervous System

CBD gives preventive as well as protective benefits. CBD oil not only safeguards your dog from several health problems, but it also protects your dog’s nervous system. CBD helps prevent brain cell death and also protects the brain from toxins and free radicals. Using CBD oil in acute doses may protect your dog from degenerative myelopathy and some other related nerve and spine problems.

 It Can Be Used As A Treatment For Epilepsy

It is no news that most dogs battle with seizures and epilepsy, and having an episode is one of the worst things that can happen to your furry friend. To treat this condition in dogs, some fur parents may resort to using drugs, such as phenobarbital and potassium bromide. However, these drugs can be dangerous for the health of your dog.

While it may be effective in treating seizures, it could also result in other health problems, and you don’t want that for your dog. Research agrees that CBD shows a lot of potential in treating seizures in dogs. Although the study concludes that there is a need for more clinical trials, it nonetheless offers an alternative treatment option with less severe effects.

CBD oil has, over the years, proven to be helpful to a lot of dogs and their parents. It can serve as an appetite booster and a pain reliever, plus it can boost the immune and nervous systems. It can also help in treating epilepsy and tumor growth.  So, if your dog is experiencing any of the health issues mentioned above, and you are wondering if CBD oil would be helpful to your fur-baby, it is advisable to go ahead and give it a try. Anyway, there is absolutely nothing to lose!


Images: Feature

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Diane Bryant as a pet owner for more than twenty years, she has gained a lot of experience on how to handle pets. Diane has fostered different breeds and types of pets and is now making use of her experience by writing pet-related articles online. 


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Meet Melissa Toni: Pets Bring out the Positive https://dharamsalaanimalrescue.org/meet-melissa-toni-pets-bring-out-the-positive/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=meet-melissa-toni-pets-bring-out-the-positive https://dharamsalaanimalrescue.org/meet-melissa-toni-pets-bring-out-the-positive/#respond Wed, 03 Jun 2020 17:57:54 +0000 https://dharamsalaanimalrescue.org/?p=214432 The post Meet Melissa Toni: Pets Bring out the Positive appeared first on Dharamsala Animal Rescue.


I first met Melissa when she was referred to me as a potential petsitter/dog walker for my desi pups.

It was love at first sight for Ruby and Jack (my dogs) who ran right up to her as if they had known her for years – Jack even smothering her face with kisses.

After an hour of sipping tea and chatting, I realized that this 28-year old was much wiser than her age would have me assume. I came to find that not only had she been pet sitting/dog walking since she was 13, she had just completed her first memoir, had her own inspiring blog called Project Positive People— where she hopes to help people through hard times with love and support — and was putting an offer in on her first home.

After having to rush back from India before the borders closed on March 22 due to COVID 19, Melissa became the only human I saw for weeks. I needed to quarantine due to my travel but my dogs still needed daily walks. Like many single folks during Stay at Home orders, my only view to the outside world where other humans lived was via Zoom and FaceTime. If it was not for the ray of sunshine and hope that Melissa brought me and my dogs daily, (from more than six feet away) I may have lost it altogether.

I decided to interview her to get some insight into how she stays positive, and because she loves dogs (and cats) how these creatures have impacted her life. Here are some excerpts from our conversation:

Deb: Let’s start of easy. When did you first know you loved dogs?

MelissaI have always loved animals, but I didn’t truly connect with dogs until college. My parents didn’t allow cats/dogs growing up, but my sister and I were always bringing home turtles, snakes, frogs, salamanders—all kinds of creatures from the pond down the road from our house.

In college, I started overnight pet sitting for the first time, and that’s when I really began to connect with dogs. While studying at URI in Kingston, I applied for an overnight pet sitting job with two Bernese Mountain dogs and two cats. The owners, who I am still very close with today, took a chance and hired me. Those Bernese dogs saved my life. At the time, I was in the trenches of one of my darkest periods: an ex-boyfriend of mine had just died in a car accident, my family was rapidly falling apart, and I was living with an emotionally controlling and abusive boyfriend off campus. The Bernese dogs showed me what love truly is and how a home is supposed to feel. From then on, I knew my path. I knew I needed to break up with my boyfriend, leave my family behind, and work with animals.

Deb: I love your honesty. You have now been dog walking and pet sitting for 15 years! How did you start and how did you know it could be a full time job?

Melissa: I started pet sitting (just visits, no overnights) when I was thirteen. The first job I had was with my neighbor’s cat, Katrina. I have always LOVED cats. I connected with cats first because another one of my neighbors had an outdoor cat named Midnight who would come over and play with my sister and I regularly when we were young. She was like our nanny.


Melissa and Midnight

Melissa and Midnight

While pet sitting Katrina, I ended up becoming friends with the owner, which I never expected. She started inviting me over for creative craft sessions where we would make collages and she would teach me about art supplies. As a thirteen-year-old, I thought this was a novel experience. As I progressed through high school and college, I continued pet sitting on the side, believing pet sitting to be a hobby not a “real” job.

After pet sitting the Bernese Mountain dogs in college and realizing that I wanted to work with animals, I moved to Rhode Island and secured myself a job at the Newport Animal Hospital. However, I quickly became depressed, but was not sure why this time. All I knew was I had to quit my structured 9AM-5PM job and start pet sitting again.

Against my entire family’s beliefs, I left the animal hospital and started working at Starbucks in Middletown, RI while pet sitting on the side and trying my luck at dog walking as well. After six months of doing this, I realized I could quit Starbucks and work full-time as a dog walker/pet sitter. Again, my family did not support this decision. In fact, my dad strongly urged me to reconsider, so instead of listening to them or waiting for their approval, I decided to take a risk and go with my gut. 

It paid off. Time and time again, I have learned through this business and from the animals that gut instincts are always the way to go. I have returned to the beautiful life I dipped my toes into when I was thirteen. Turns out, connecting genuinely with animals and their loving people is not a rare occurrence. 

Melissa Toni

Melissa and her cat Sashimi

Deb: Well I am glad you pursued it. I know my dogs are better off for it. I just read your memoir .. you’ve definitely had your struggles. How has working with dogs/cats helped you in your journey?

Melissa: The animals absolutely saved my life (and I’m going to quote Titanic here lol) “in every way that a person can be saved.” They are a HUGE part of my memoir, and of course my life. Growing up, I was the black sheep in the family. I was also ostracized by most of my classmates during my teen years for reasons I go into in my memoir. The messages from all around me for years said that I was the problem. I thought I was crazy, hopeless, and destined to perish in a world I didn’t belong.

But then I connected deeply with a couple of Bernese Mountain dogs and they said, “Hey. You’re cool as fuck and we love you just as you are. We don’t think you’re crazy for being angry and we don’t think the light inside of you has died. We think you’re simply surrounded by people who don’t understand you and won’t let that light shine.

Deb: The unconditional love we get from dogs is like no other. You are one of the most positive people I know, which is also the purpose of your blog, Project Positive People. What was your inspiration to start it?

Melissa: Thank you! As a person who has been through A LOT and has cleaned off my internal mirror several times to allow the light to shine inward and outward, I know how much work that takes. I also know, as a person who has been labelled mentally ill and judged as such, how much harder that work is to do when you have a community of judgments, fear, and to be quite honest, ignorance swirling around you (and I don’t say “ignorance” with anger. I say it with understanding and love, because I know now, having been through this process a couple times and having studied psychology, that most people in the U.S. are programmed to believe in mental illness. But most people have not been exposed to the idea of healing, and if they have, they don’t really understand what that means.

My goal with Project Positive People is to support all the fierce, passionate, positive warriors out there, working hard to make a positive impact on the world. I have learned that we cannot achieve our big and radical dreams without each other. I need to help others in their positive goals just as much as I need them to help me achieve mine. My goal is to wake people up to the possibility of healing and do away with the judgmental, traumatic, and limited mental health system currently in place. My memoir is my sword and Project Positive People is my army where I work hard every day to build a platform of resources and support for all the beautiful people fighting their own “good fights”.

Deb: I just wanted to say thank you. I completely admire you for putting your heart and soul out there to help others heal. The world needs more people like you.


Images: Melissa Toni’s own.



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Deb Jarrett

Deb Jarrett

Deb Jarrett, at age 40, decided her life needed some shaking up. In fact, she needed to rattle her brains a bit. She was done climbing the corporate ladder, paying mortgages and internet dating—so she quit her job and moved to India to help animals. Not to be confused with Elizabeth Gilbert, at this point in her life, Deb had done just about all of the self discovery she so desired on therapist couches, yoga retreats, and spiritual workshops. In fact, she Eats very carefully, due to the risk of bacteria and parasites. She no longer Prays after experiencing the harsh reality of the developing world on a day-to-day basis and believes compassionate action is the answer. However, she did find Love with an Indian man. She started Dharamsala Animal Rescue in 2008 after her first trip to India.

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What is Causing the Doom of the Native Indian Dog https://dharamsalaanimalrescue.org/what-is-causing-the-doom-of-the-native-indian-dog/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=what-is-causing-the-doom-of-the-native-indian-dog https://dharamsalaanimalrescue.org/what-is-causing-the-doom-of-the-native-indian-dog/#respond Thu, 21 May 2020 00:26:23 +0000 https://dharamsalaanimalrescue.org/?p=214355 The post What is Causing the Doom of the Native Indian Dog appeared first on Dharamsala Animal Rescue.


Did you know many of the dogs living on the street are native Indian breeds?

Do you know their breed names or have you tried to learn more about them? It is the harsh reality that many Indian dog breeds aren’t popular among the pet owners. This has led to the downfall of such native breeds and placed them on the doorstep of extinction.

Often mistaken for stray dogs, some of these breeds are registered in the Kennel Club of India. In fact, their pedigree is well maintained by many breeders. These dogs have the history that reaches back to the ancient times, from monarchies & nomadic tribes to the stories of Mahabharata.

History of native dog breeds

Around three centuries ago, these dogs were exported to countries like Babylon, Egypt, and even Rome due to their excessive demand. These pups were famous worldwide for their hunting skills, making them sacred for many native hunting tribes. Even the aristocracies from ancient India, known for their enthusiasm for hunting games, seemed to be fond of such breeds.

Most of these breeds are ‘Sight-hounds’ just like the famous Afghan hound. ‘Sight-hound’ is a type of dog breed who instead of sniffing out their prey uses sight. Their sharp sight, quick reaction, high speed, and scissor-like jaws help them to hunt – even big cats like tiger and cheetahs. In addition to this, shorter and shinier coats help them cope with humid environments, where most of the dog breeds fail.

In his book, ‘The book of Indian dogs’, Mr. S. Theodore Baskaran elaborates about the history of how these dogs received special social status during ancient India. According to Mr. Baskaran, during the colonial period, around 50 breeds were recognized. But, as they were shunned by the British for European breeds, these dogs were left for crossbreeding. This resulted in the extinction of around half of these native breeds, leaving only around 25 dog breeds today – most not recognized by the Kennel Club of India.


However, some sheepdogs from Himalayan regions raised curiosities among the colonials. These were large and furry dogs, suitable for the colder temperatures. Having Tibetan Mastiffs for their ancestors, a lion-like look makes them exquisite. Their guarding nature and the strength to repulse attacks from bigger cats made them the first choice for a guard dog. Breeds like Kumaon Mastiff, Bakharwal, etc. are considered ‘Himalayan’ dogs.

What are we dealing with in present?

In today’s world, breeds like Bakharwal, Kumaon Mastiff, etc. suffer terribly due to their non-professional breeding and less fame. Ever since foreign breeds were introduced in the country, these dogs lost their existence from event the biggest dog enthusiasts. People actively search for breeds like Labrador, German shepherd, Pug, etc. They even pay for these exotic breeds, but when it comes to adopting these native dogs, they have no interest.

Some dog lovers tend to think that these native breeds of dogs love freedom, need more exercise, and are not suitable for apartment living. Although we could accept the fact that smaller apartments are not suitable for hunting and guarding breeds, we could not deny their replacements for guard dogs and family dogs.
Just like other breeds, these dogs are pedigree maintained from ancient times and are well preserved by some dog lovers. Some villages in Southern India have taken up the responsibilities to preserve breeds like Chippiparai, Kanni, Pandikona, Kaikadi, etc. While in rural parts of North India, breeds like Bully Kutta, Gull Terrier are still viewed as prestigious.

Kanni Breed

What are some initiatives in preserving these breeds?

Well, to be honest, there aren’t any bigger steps taken by the government for protecting these breeds. Being a developing country often leaves topics like these in the hand of society. But, there are some initiatives taken by the local government to preserve these breeds. The Animal Husbandry Department of Tamil Nadu has created awareness among the people by introducing them in dog shows.


Many dog enthusiasts and NGOs have come up with the awareness program in rural areas of Tamil Nadu & Karnataka to preserve these breeds. Villagers have accepted some of the breeds like Pandikona, Kaikadi, Jonangi, etc. as a perfect guard dog to protect their livestock and farms. In the northern part as well, many NGOs have worked to halt some of the dog fight organizations which include breeds like Bully Kutta & Gull Terrier. Dog fights are illegal in the country right now.

Gull Terrier

It is also interesting to know that to show respect to these native dog breeds, the Indian Department of Post had issued four postage stamps for breeds like Rajapalayam, Mudhol Hound, Himalayan sheepdog or Gaddi Kutta & Rampur Hound. Even the Indian army couldn’t resist their interest in these breeds, recruiting 6 Mudhol or Caravan Hound into the squad.

Gaddi Kutta


But despite these initiatives, the only thing that could stop their downfall is awareness about them. Not only the dog enthusiast, but other people should know about these native dog breeds. Social media could be the best way to promote these cuties. The love for these furry creatures could be guessed from the recent trend by Google where dogs and cats video are actively searched online during the lockdown period. There is a huge eye feast for dog video on various social media online.

So , if are you planning to adopt a dog, I would highly recommend you go through this list here and then decide which native Indian dog suits you instead of adopting from a breeder. I know you will find a loyal companion in your new dog; after all, they are ‘Man’s best friend’.


Watch How DAR Rescues an Injured Native Desi Dog

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Bhavesh Shah is a dog enthusiast and a blogger who loves to read and write about dog’s lifestyle, health & food. You can read more on his blog Being Dog.  

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Prior to COVID-19, most of us had obligations that kept us from being at home with our pets most of the time.

We worked full-time jobs outside the home and had social lives that took us where pets cannot go. That included going shopping, eating at restaurants, and visiting with friends. If you have children, you may have attended their extracurricular activities and taken them to the movies or the museum or all sorts of other events where pets are not allowed.

By the end of the day, it was hard to find time to cater to your pets. However, social distancing and self-quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic provide far more opportunities for quality time at home with your pets. Making the most of your time at home to get quality time with your pet can be a great way to find a silver lining in the midst of all the uncertainty.

Make Play Time a Daily Activity

Most young and middle-aged pets love to play. Many even carry this trait into their senior years. Picking up a rope to play tug of war, grabbing a ball to play fetch, and pulling a string in front of your cat are classic ways to get them excited. Playing fetch can be best done inside as well as in your yard. Since you know your pet best, you will be able to find the games they enjoy most for both indoors and outdoors. Even if you only get to play with them for 30 minutes a day while you work from home, they will look forward to this daily activity with you. Children love playtime with pets, so get the rest of your family involved, too! 

Pets Crave Exercise

Most pets spend the majority of their lives inside your home. They don’t get the opportunity to go shopping, travel, work, or go to school to break up the monotony. Giving your pet daily exercise outside of the home is the best way to keep them physically and mentally active. That means taking them for a walk. While you may have a fenced in yard for them to play in, that can get boring. Taking them for a walk around the neighborhood, at the park, or in the woods lets them smell new scents and see what’s going on outside your home. And in most places, exercise outdoors is still permitted as long as you observe social distancing measures! Walking your pet is also a great activity for bonding. Many pet associations recommend your pet gets an hour of exercise per day.

Give Them Pets 

When you’re kicking back after a busy day working from home, it can be easy to get sucked into your cell phone, computer, or television to relax. Luckily, you can still do these activities while paying attention to your pet. Encourage them to sit with you so you can pet them and give them affection. If your pets aren’t allowed on the couch, sit on the floor with them for some belly scratching time.

If you’re struggling with anxiety or stress during these unpredictable times, good news! Quality time with pets has been clinically shown to reduce stress and provide many other health benefits.

Give Treats as a Daily Reward  

Image Source: Wallpaper Flare

Every pet has some food that they go bonkers for. It may be store-bought treats, real jerky, peanut butter, or something else. When you give pets a daily treat, they come to look forward to it. Even overweight pets can enjoy treats, as there are many specially formulated low-fat, low-calorie options available. Some dogs love munching on vegetables like carrots, pumpkin, and green beans. Some treats, like those with CBD oil and other natural supplements, even have health benefits!

Enjoy Your Time With Your Pets Every Day

Owning a pet is a commitment that lasts for their entire life. They will always need attention, love, and exercise. But it’s not a chore or a burden; caring for pets offers so much more than you give to them. Though you may have a busy schedule and a lot on your mind, don’t forget to make time to show your pet how much you love them. Even the little things, like giving them extra pets and treats, make a big difference in their lives. Treat them as the important part of your family that they are, and include them in new activities whenever you can. Get your family involved in all aspects of taking care of your pets, and your life will be immeasurably enriched! 


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Have you ever wondered what it means to be lost? Or being….unfound? That’s what I felt before Akanksha took me in and said, “It’s ok.” 

You might be wondering who I am. I am Angel, a street dog, who roamed the streets of Dharamsala, India. The day I came to Akanksha’s dog shelter, I met a dog named Billee. I laughed when I heard her name. I hadn’t laughed in a long time. The reason I laughed was Billee means “cat” in Hindi. Billee was a brown dog with a short tail. Scars coated her fur, just like all other dogs. Seven of my scars had come from when I was pregnant and some drunk people attacked me with knives.


When weeks and months move slowly like this, I make tea. I don’t care much for the taste, but stirring the milk and doing that motion that my nani taught me, it takes me back to a peaceful place where the taxes don’t need to be paid, and I’m happy. 

No dogs have been adopted in a long time. Finally, the phone rang. I answered. The conversation that changed Angel’s life began. I don’t remember the details, but the main thing was that Angel had a home. A home. Only some dogs get to see that.

The ones who deserve it usually do. Angel deserved it. No doubt about it. But one thing had me concerned. Angel hates traveling, and her new home was far away – a sixteen hour flight! Talk about luck. Another thing is on my mind. Angel is like family now. She is like Billee, who has been here five years. It would hurt me if Angel left, but I always hurt when a dog leaves. Before Angel, I never thought about how the dog felt about leaving.


I’ve been friends with dogs before…But nothing like Angel. She’s like a sister to me. She’s always been there, trying to make me laugh even in the worst of times. I overheard Akanksha talking on the phone yesterday evening. I heard her talking about Angel leaving. I hope with all of my heart that I was dreaming. Which I wasn’t. I think. Hopefully I’m wrong. In my experience, hoping works. The belief that something will happen is usually enough to push someone to do something. Hoping works because it says to you, “you can do it.” But I’ve hoped for a home for five years.


I am with Billee, playing a game of tug-of-war with a stick. I won, which is weird because we’ve played thousands of times, and I haven’t ever won. Something is up with Billee. She used to play with me all the time, and now she either doesn’t want anything to do with me, or she’s all over me. 

I dropped the stick and looked Billee in the eye. “Billee, tell me.” 

“What?” asked Billee. I gave Billee the look and she sighed. “Fine. You win. I overheard Akanksha. She was…well, she was talking to a buyer. For you. In America.” 

I took this in, wondering what my response would be. “Why have you been acting this way Either really close to me or far away”” 

“I want to spend time with you Angel, but I don’t want to be too connected and then when you go away, I’ll be really sad. Sad isn’t even the right word.”


Angel’s last full day came. Tomorrow she’ll be on a plane to America. I kept thinking about all of her lasts. Last breakfast. Last first walk of the day. Last lunch. The last list grew and grew and grew. All the other dogs said goodbye to Angel. I thought about how they felt about this. Angel made a huge impact on everybody’s life in Dharamsala. I wished she could stay. 

The night came. Last night of sleeping in the crate. I snuck out of my crate at midnight and snuggled with Angel. I wondered if I would ever meet another dog like her. 

Day came. Angel’s last time in Dharamsala. I watched as Angel got out of her crate. I would never see her do that again. Never. I watched as she walked out the door. I said goodbye to her. She said goodbye to me. And then she left. I barked. She barked. We stopped barking when we couldn’t hear each other anymore. I never saw her again.


You must be thinking what a sad story this is. I am assuring you that it will be okay. For Akanksha. For Billee. For Angel. Let me tell you the story. Or, at least part of it. Angel got into the truck to go to Delhi so she could be at the airport where there was a plane that would take her to America. She was in the truck for a long time, when finally, it halted to a stop. 

She walked out with an itchy collar on her neck. 

She waited in a room. It was gray with paint peeling in places. The ground was hard concrete. There was a desk with an old woman sitting at it. She got up and walked Angel to the plane. Angel fell asleep and didn’t remember the plane ride.


I have a home. That’s what Akanksha said. In Punjab. I don’t feel bad about what happened to Angel. Sure, I miss her, but I feel happy for her. I don’t wish for her to be anywhere else. I’m not in Punjab yet, but tomorrow I will be. Angel is in America. My little Angel. Oh, Angel.


Angel and Billee are still friends, though they cannot see each other. 

They both have purpose. 

They both mean something. 

They both have forever homes. 

They have been found. 


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Isha is 9 years old and is in 4th grade. She lives in Connecticut with her Indian rescue dog Mirchi (aka Angel). The story won a prize in a local writing competition. Mirchi was adopted from Rescue without Borders. 

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