We are taking a look at some of our heroes on the frontline of animal welfare, the handlers who train tirelessly ready to catch the thousands of dogs on our rabies vaccination drives!
This month brought the monsoon season to Goa, giving the team much needed relief from the intense heat, but the rain brings its own challenges! However, undeterred, the handlers and vaccination teams set off to continue their vital work.
Recruiting experienced animal handlers has always been a challenge and with the increased number of vaccination teams there is a constant need for more staff. Therefore, Mission Rabies Goa has taken the initiative and is currently developing a training programme for dog catchers with a core Head Catching team to train new recruits. Since its implementation, five new catchers have been trained, ready to take on the dogs of Goa.
Footballs are used during the training activities to get the catchers practicing with speed and accuracy, how to catch and restrain the dogs using nets. Once they have been fully trained they head out into the communities to round up strays for vaccinating.
There have been some impressive catches already! In one instance, five dog catchers were in action at the same time, restraining five dogs in the same small area, and on another occasion two dogs were caught in the same net! This shows just how versatile and agile our catchers need to be, adapting for every situation.
Dr Manthana even managed to reach a dog without the need of a net, as the teams are prohibited from using them in certain areas such as rooftops.
It is clear our dog catchers are an amazing team, and without their help we would not be able to vaccinate as many dogs as we do! So far, Mission Rabies Goa has vaccinated over 168,000 dogs!! Wow!
To see the dog catchers in action, take a look at our video highlighting their work.