[Monday Motivation] Engineer turned social entrepreneur has saved more than 65,000 animals over the past 15 years

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Mini Vasudevan and her husband Madhu Ganesh were in the United States for 13 years and returned to Coimbatore in 2004.

“I was shocked to see the number of street dogs in the city and there was no organization to take care of them,” says Mini.

An engineer by profession, Mini decided to form a group of like-minded people to help injured dogs, feed stray dogs, and conduct similar small-scale activities.

Mini with a resident cat

“I love animals and I don’t see them suffering,” says Mini, who trained the Humane Animal Society (HAS), an NGO, with her husband in Coimbatore in 2006.

Over the past 15 years, Mini helped save, vaccinate and rehabilitate over 65,000 animals, including dogs, cats, ponies and cows.

Love for animals

Mini, who grew up in a family without animals, loved animals since childhood. She became a vegetarian at the age of 11 after seeing a chicken get killed while playing with her cousins ​​on a farm.

“Although I have loved animals my whole life, it wasn’t until I was in the United States that I learned how an animal is supposed to be treated. But I’ve also seen dogs get shot if they’re not adopted after a certain age, ”she says.

Volunteering in shelters in the United States has been an eye-opening experience. She was, however, very clear about what she wanted her foster home to look like after starting HAS.

To channel his helplessness and frustration in the right direction, Mini formed a shelter where the goal was not only to alleviate the suffering of animals, but also to introduce the concept of companionship and respect through awareness. Mini also hired a veterinarian and built an operating room for small and large surgeries.

Veterinarians in the HAS operating room

Start-up

A key milestone for HAS was in November 2006, when Mini was volunteering at a location where the Coimbatore Municipal Corporation (CMC) was doing the Animal birth control (ABC) program.

She saw dogs tied with chains and were inside the cage, sitting in their own urine and feces. “We realized that while the intention to launch the program was good, the Company did not have the required expertise,” Mini recalls.

Appalled at the conditions, she wrote an email, attached some photos and sent them to an animal rights activist. Maneka gandhi. However, Menaka returned with a stern response upon learning that Mini had just returned from the United States.

“She told me to stop complaining and start working. His words haunted me for a few days, so I decided to go back to CMC – this time with a clear schedule, ”says Mini.

Meanwhile, Menaka berated the CMC for their actions and asked them to cooperate with Mini. A few days later, Mini approached the company with a proposal to run the program. Ultimately, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between HAS and CMC in November 2006. HAS ran the program and also established a shelter on the ground provided by the company.

After managing the ABC program, HAS eventually ventured into vaccination, birth control programs, and rescuing and rehabilitating abandoned animals. He also began to educate people on what to do with injured or distressed animals. HAS has also launched adoption services.

Get support

What started with Mini, her husband and two other directors, is now a large family with 21 full-time employees, including veterinarians, caretakers, animal groomers, an ambulance driver, hospital staff. refuge and sanctuary.

The HAS, which treats around 100 animals a day, also has an outpatient service for people who cannot afford to care for their animals. It has a 1.5 acre shrine, about 25 km from the city of Coimbatore, in Valukkuparai, on the way to Pollachi.

The HAS team

“We have around 70 animals – dogs, cats, ponies and cows for adoption. If you can’t adopt, you can also sponsor the maintenance of an animal, ”explains Mini.

Speaking of funding, Mini says that initially she funded the organization with her own money. After two or three years, she started to fundraise and was surprised to receive support from many people. Eventually, independent donors, clubs and businesses began to take an interest in funding HAS. Today, Mini says the organization receives over 1 crore rupees each year.

Although she is happy with the support her organization has received, she wants to minimize the growing number of foster homes in the country.

She says, “If you care and empathize with animals, there shouldn’t be any shelters needed.”


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