Spotlight on Rishikesh Animal Care

posted in: General News | 2

Jackie Ratcliffe, ISDF friend and supporter, is actively involved with supporting and raising awareness on the Rishikesh Animal Care.  Jackie first met Grace (originally from Chicago) in 2012 in Rishikesh, a remote area near the Ganga…. a magical place filled with much spirituality but also much suffering.  Here thousands of street dogs wander the streets, facing life threatening perils on a daily basis.  Grace could not stand by and do nothing so she set out 8 years ago to make a difference and help the dogs.  Jackie visits Grace and her facility annually and brings much needed supplies and volunteers her time.  In the words of Jackie Radcliffe, below is the story of Grace and the dogs of Rishikesh. Jackie tells you how YOU can help TODAY.

Rishikesh is situated at the foothills of the Himalayas in northern India. The town is known for its rich spiritual energy and is blessed by the holy Ganga River which flows through it. It is also home to an abundance of street animals, as cities in India are.


I first visited Rishikesh for a yoga retreat in 2012. For much of my initial time there I adopted the habit of wincing or quickly turning my head if I spotted an injured or too-skinny dog. The street dogs of India face so many challenges just to survive – from wounds that become infected and full of maggots, skin conditions such as mange, injuries (or worse) from road accidents, lack of food, and more. It was hard for me to face.


One night the unimaginable happened. I was enjoying watching a group of puppies playing together on the side of the road. Out of no where a man on a pedal bike whizzed by, running right over the middle of one of the puppies. The puppy, yelping, scuttled off to hide. It was dark. I didn’t know where he went. Even worse, had I found him, I would have had no idea what to do. My heart sank. I couldn’t imagine his fate.

At this point I had fallen deeply in love with India, but was so jolted by what I had witnessed I knew I had to find a way to make a difference on my return, but what to do? After some online research I discovered Rishikesh Animal Care.

Grace, the founder of Rishikesh Animal Care, is originally from Chicago. She’s lived in Rishikesh for nearly eight years and is a tireless advocate for the street animals.  She is a strong believer in on-site care, meaning all medical treatment and feeding happens on the street during daily rounds, with the local community learning to offer support. A typical day consists of treating up to 100 street dogs for mange, de-worming, feeding, critical care – and so much more. She does have occasional volunteer support, but is mainly out on her own.

I’ve traveled to Rishikesh twice to volunteer with Rishikesh Animal Care and continue to be inspired by Grace’s selfless service. It has also been a very unique and enjoyable way to meet local people! One of the most wonderful results of on-street care is how the local community sees, shows interest, and becomes involved in the care of animals in their area. Once people begin to interact with friendly, healthy, and social dogs, they take pride in them and are happy to advocate for them. A man bringing a litter of puppies food. A shop keeper offering fresh water daily. Children building puppy houses and teaching their friends the same kindness. An educated and involved community is growing due to the examples set by Rishikesh Animal Care. It was a joy to witness firsthand!

One dog I was particularly fond of was Kali, a sweet black dog with a severe maggot wound on her ear. During the dampness of monsoon season it wasn’t healing and caused her a lot of pain and distress. Grace pulled out all the maggots, cleaned the wound and changed her bandages every day for several weeks, eventually soliciting the help of the local government vet to crop her ear. She is now healed and happy, something that would have not been possible without intervention.

There is always a need for supplies to carry on the vital work that Grace does. I save plenty of room in my suitcase for bandages, gauze, and other supplies when I travel there and bring funds to purchase food and medicine locally. I recently set up a crowdfunding page  to provide a way to offer support. Please visit the site to read stories of some of the dogs whose lives have been touched. Kindly consider donating and sharing the page, encouraging your friends to donate and share as well.

It’s amazing what a difference one dedicated individual can make to an entire community. A little goes such a long way in India – any support is greatly appreciated!

Rishikesh Animal Care on Facebook

2 Responses

  1. vikas chandel

    #Adoption #Rishikesh Hello wonderful people. Me & my gf live in Canada..currently my gf is in North India Rishikesh for yoga teacher training for few weeks. She rescued a female dog with a puppy..( pup is about few weeks old). The female mom dog was very weak & injured with maggot wound..she treated them with medicines & now she is doing well with the help of nearby vet. She wants the Mom to get sterilized & wants her to get them adopted…currently both Mom & pup are living in the ashram where my gf is living ..My gf stay in the ashram is limited till her course duration which she will finish in two weeks.
    After the course my Gf has to go back to Canada..hence requesting a post here for Adoption. Please help !

    Address : AYM YOGA SCHOOL
    Upper Tapovan, Baba Balaknath Temple Street
    Tapovan, Near Laxman Jhulla
    Tehri Garwal, Rishikesh
    Ahu Trust Uttarakhand
    Pin Code : 249192
    Ask for Zeinab Sadek as she doesn’t have her own cell phone there..but she is a student.

    Mob: +91 – 7500277709
    Tel: 0135 – 2442655

    • Hi Vikas,

      The best chance that the dog has is if your girlfriend can fly her back to Canada with her when she leaves Rishikesh. There are no shelter facilities that take in homeless dogs (they are everywhere). Even if the dog found a home which is unlikely it would still most likely live a hard life as the concept of pet ownership is very different in India for most people. They typically don’t provide vet care or welcome them in their homes like we do in the west. If she can get the dog to Canada I can help to find the dog a home either in Canada or in the Chicago area. The cost to transport a dog with a passenger is very cheap compared with the cost to transport a dog via cargo unaccompanied. Please let me know if this is an option.

      Dawn Trimmel