Our story unexpectedly began in 2012, in the south of India. Melody, our founder, travelled to India for a stay at an Ayurveda and yoga treatment centre for a month long program with Ayurvedic physicians. Her intentions were to heal herself after an invasive medical treatment in the west. During this trip she realized, as a yoga practitioner of 20 years, she needed to share her love of yoga and her passion for healing with others. Unknown to her at the time, this would be the beginning of a new path for not only herself, but some dogs in serious need.
Our founder tells the story…….
I was exiting the gates of our treatment centre as a female dog, not even a year old, approached us. Even though she was clearly suffering, she gifted us with that beautiful puppy joy and excitement. I could tell this pup recently gave birth to a litter but they were nowhere to be found. She looked like she was hit by a vehicle, more than once, had major skin issues, possibly mange, she was covered in ticks and fleas, and was extremely malnourished. She looked like a skeleton with bones protruding from her frail body.
One look at her pain and suffering brought silent tears to my face. She seemed so hopeful to have humans notice her without turning away. When was the last time someone noticed her and acknowledged her suffering? For the next hour and a half we walked together through the village. We were so hopeful she would take us to her puppies, our hearts broke for her when this didn’t happen. So we walked together with my tears and her excitement.
Arriving back at the treatment centre, we immediately started asking anybody and everybody to assist us in getting her help. Either they wanted nothing to do with it, or we were told that there are no vets or services that will deal with the street dogs. With no luck we persisted, searching for some way to get her help.
Every spare moment over the next 4 days were spent bringing her food and water, comfort, attention, and we continued to look for her puppies. She had no hesitations with us and seemed quite trusting so we assumed the litter did not survive. We pushed on with determination to find a way to help her and even bring her home with us, and then one day she was gone. Our best guess was she wandered off with a full belly to die alone among the coconut trees, maybe where her puppies laid to rest.
Little did I know that the suffering of this one dog would plant a seed so deep within my heart. It’s because of the suffering of this one dog that others will live their best lives.
On sequential trips the efforts to help evolved from feeding the street dogs, and horses, to raising money and awareness back in Vancouver, Canada. Below is a bit of how we have evolved to date.
A collaboration was formed with Rishikesh Animal Care (RAC) with the intention of helping the street animals by supporting vaccination drives, sterilizations, feeding, as well as on the basic medical care.
During this same trip Melody met with her guru several times to discuss helping the local street animals. After several meetings he generously lent a plot of land toward these efforts for a temporary shelter to be built. Here we would focus on emergency care and post-op recovery.
A shelter was build and local street dogs started receiving care. With the assistance of our Akhanda (Anand Prakash Ashram) volunteers and Rishikesh Animal Care, several dogs were saved from near death, a few were even adopted out both locally and internationally.
Unfortunately the presence of a rescue shelter wasn't welcomed by the locals. Our volunteers were getting harassed on a daily basis, a dog was even stolen from our shelter. After careful consideration the temporary shelter had to be shut down and rescue efforts needed to take on a new form.
Rescue efforts were redirected to international adoption and new collaborations were formed. Furthermore, a yoga inspired jewelry line was created in an effort to raise funds for rescue efforts. Materials used are purchased directly from merchants in India that are of like mind towards the street animals.
Through our founder’s efforts, close to 50 dogs were brought to Canada and the USA from April of 2018 to August 2019. All have continued to thrive and live their best lives with their forever families.
The decision was officially made to form Yogi Street Dog Rescue Society (YSDRS)
We currently have 90 dogs safely off the streets of India and in forever loving homes in Canada and America.
Our international adoption program was cancelled indefinitely due to complications caused by the global pandemic.
All efforts are now focused on ground work on the streets of India. Through collaborations throughout India we run different core programs and initiatives such as feeding, spay/neuter, emergency medical care, and life saving vaccinations.