Month Long Rishikesh Animal Rescue Project Organized at Parmarth

Service of All Living Beings not just Human Beings is the Service of God and Humanity: Says Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, President of Parmarth Niketan (Rishikesh)

The Rishikesh Animal Rescue Project is being carried out at Parmarth Niketan (Rishikesh), from 8 December-30 January, bringing together trained veterinarians from Russia, hosted and supported by the Divine Shakti Foundation (DSF) and coordinated by Animal Liberty organization based in Siberia, with involvement of volunteers from Parmarth and the local community.

Dr Oleg Levechenko and his assistant Kate Polyokovo, led by Ms. Sofie Oshochenko, have served more than 30 stray dogs since the camp began. The Siberian vets from Russia have provided “ABC” (Animal Birth Control) or “family planning” options – spaying and neutering – to the dogs in the Rishikesh area. Other dogs they have treated and operated on, dependent on their condition and need, range from various health conditions including skin diseases, parasites, mange, worms, flea infestation, and even cancer.

Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, President of Parmarth Niketan (Rishikesh), blessed and inspired the project by saying, “I am so proud that these doctors and volunteers are so passionate about helping animals, especially to improve the conditions of dogs in Rishikesh. Every day they start their services from 8am and it goes sometimes til 6pm, many days they have to miss the divine Ganga Aarti ceremony and even sometimes dinner. But to me this is the true Aarti, the true Prasad. To me they are living the true motto of Parmarth, to be of service to all LIVING beings not just HUMAN beings.”

Russian vet Dr. Oleg Levchenko, the surgeon at Siberia said, “Our doctors, who are from Russia and are performing seva (service) during their time here at ParmarthNiketan, are treating the dogs’ skin diseases and parasites plus vaccinating against rabies. They are also sterilizing the dogs to minimize the number of homeless animals in Rishikesh and to abate their suffering. Due to the sterilization, females will not be in heat thus male dogs will be calmer and there will be fewer dog fights, easing human and dog coexistence. ”

His assistant Kate Polyakova added, “Sterilization of the female dogs is very good for the dog’s health. If a dog frequently has many puppies it weakens the dog’s immune system and all possible diseases are more likely to impact the dog. They also more likely to suffer from mange, intestinal illnesses, ticks, fleas, and worms. People can control their procreation process consciously but animals cannot. This is why they have cubs twice a year, up to 5 years and they are absolutely exhausted, especially if they lack enough good nutrition.” She was very glad to return to Parmarth after having served last year for this project.

Sofi, the main coordinator of the project, requested the residents of Rishikesh to help these efforts by, “Assisting us to locate unsterilized female dogs. Also to bring in your domesticated dogs to have medical treatment and procedures.Dogs can be brought in from 10am-5pm. For stray dogs, all procedures are free. For those animals that have homes, the procedures will be provided for a donation of 300 rupees.”

This camp was held last year also at Parmarth Niketan and Parmarth’s Virpur campus. According to this year’s report the dogs which were treated last year are also in better and healthier condition.