How We Rehabilitate Dogs
At VOSD, we have rehabilitated dogs who have been turned away, abandoned and abused by their owners. When it comes to such animals, they often have lifelong physical and emotional scars and need to be dealt with a great deal of compassion and in-depth medical analysis and prolonged care .
VOSD is not a dog shelter, we pride ourselves on being a dog sanctuary where hundreds of rescued dogs live out the rest of their lives with dignity. We know it can be especially difficult to deal with abused or trauma-survivor dogs due to fear and feeling threatened. Here are the steps we use to successfully rehabilitate these dogs. If you’re the parent of an abused or abandoned dog, here’s how you can build trust with them.
Don’t rush it
If you’re operating a stray dog shelter, you must give these dogs time to settle in. Coming from a place where they have gone through physical/mental abuse, they must get enough time to adjust to your dog shelter and be comfortable with the surroundings. You need to gain their trust before they can be rehabilitated.
Delve into their past
If you’re trying to understand whether the dog was abused in the past or not, the best way to gauge it is their reactions. If the dog crouches in a corner in a defensive position, refusing to explore their surroundings, it can be a sign of abuse. Also if they flinch at the sight of a stick or rod it is highly likely that their previous owner or someone would have beaten them. Approach them gently and do not occupy their personal space. All beings need respect for their personal space. Gradually try to befriend the dog. Be patient. Ensure that you make them feel safe by keeping them well-fed and setting up a safe and clean space for them to rest.
Help them heal
The VOSD Dog Sanctuary is home to hundreds of rescued dogs who are unable to walk with one or all limbs. Triple-amputee Mama is one such dog that has made a remarkable recovery at the VOSD Sanctuary and Hospital. She has only one good leg but that does not stop her from living life like a normal dog. It took us months of treatment, physiotherapy, surgery, etc. to ensure her proper recovery and rehabilitation. Today she is a healthy and happy dog. We use different tools and devices to help dogs with orthopaedic problems recover well. These include use of dog wheelchairs, modified leashes, no-knuckling training socks etc. Local dog rescue shelters do reach out to us when they come across dogs they are not able to rehabilitate due to extensive orthopaedic injuries. VOSD admits such dogs for life long care and stay under our surrender process.
Abused Animal Rehabilitation: Your Questions Answered
What is ‘animal cruelty’?
Any form of physical/emotional/mental abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, beating, etc. is cruelty to animals. In such cases, any pet dogs are deprived of necessities like food, shelter, care, regular vaccination, etc., and this also amounts to cruelty to animals. Animal cruelty is legally punishable in India under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.
Do we have any restrictions on the kind of injured dogs we accept?
We understand that abuse in any form can be a traumatic experience for dogs. So, we give them enough time to recuperate in the new environment. We are the only dog sanctuary that accepts dogs who have suffered severe abuse. We never turn away any dog in need. We also take in retired service dogs (who have served the RPF, Indian Army, Police, Railways, etc). Dogs at VOSD are never chained and always have a caretaker or volunteer by their side.
What’s the tentative duration to rehabilitate an abused/injured dog?
In most cases, complete rehabilitation can take 3-6 months. However, if the dog is critically injured and the trauma is massive, then the duration can extend to many months depending on how much improvement is being observed in the dog’s condition.
How can you help?
If you would like to contribute your time to our rehabilitation efforts, you can sign up as a volunteer at VOSD by filling up the volunteer form on the VOSD website homepage. You may also donate. Donations above INR 500 qualifies for 80G tax exemption as per Indian tax laws.