Welcome to Charlie’s Animal Rescue Centre, Where Animals Are Free and Love Is Unconditional

Rescue, adoption, medical care and more – Charlie’s Animal Rescue Centre in Bengaluru is helping city residents open their hearts and homes for animals in need.

Rescue, adoption, medical care and more – Charlie’s Animal Rescue Centre in Bengaluru is helping city residents open their hearts and homes for animals in need.

“Love is in the air,” they say. Enter Charlie’s Animal Rescue Centre (CARE) at any given time and you will be able to experience what love being in the air actually looks like. Dogs wagging their tails here, cats purring there, and eyes so innocent they make you fall in love, everywhere you look – welcome to one of Bengaluru’s most loved animal shelters.

Thanks to a group of dedicated animal lovers, CARE was founded in early 2013.

Sudha with the shelter dogs.

Sudha Narayanan, one of the founders of CARE was working with Compassion Unlimited Plus Action (CUPA) as a trustee. It was running one the biggest animal shelters in the city at the time. But due to some unfortunate turn of events, the shelter had to be closed down around December 2012. “I sat and thought to myself that Bangalore doesn’t have a shelter anymore. It doesn’t have a place where an abandoned animal can go, stay, recover, get rehabilitated, return to good health, and find a new home,” she says.

Sudha then got together with five of her friends and decided to start another shelter. “We started on a hope and a prayer – with practically nothing,” she laughs. And this was how CARE came into existence with the accumulated savings of six good Samaritans.

This Valentine’s Day, The Better India & The Care Shelter have partnered together to bring an animal rescue van to Bangalore. If you #LovePawsitivity, support this campaign.

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Starting just with some land on lease, a compound wall, and a shed to shelter 10 dogs and three cats, CARE grew with every passing day. The organization is currently working on providing shelter to animals, rescue and treatment of injured strays, and pet adoptions. With the help of sponsors and volunteers, they now run a separate cattery, an isolated shelter for vaccinated pups that are given up for adoption, and a shelter for rescued animals that need medical care. They also have a rescue van and a helpline number on which people can call whenever they come across an animal that needs help (9483911110 / 69999372).

The van picks the animals up, and takes them to a vet before bringing them to the shelter.

Over 100 CARE volunteers help the shelter with socialising animals that have gone through trauma, so they can be rehabilitated into new homes. With a team of 22 people, the shelter has about 200 animals at any given time, including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, rabbits, pigs, ducks, and a calf. CARE has also started Humane Education talks in schools and colleges to inculcate the spirit of kindness towards animals among students.

Sudha recollects the heartwarming story behind the reason the shelter was named Charlie – a three-legged Indian dog who lost one leg in a car accident, when he was just a month old.

Charlie was the common factor that bonded all the founders. He was 15 years old at the time, and had been doing animal assisted therapy (AAT) for children suffering from Autism, with Sudha. AAT is a form of therapy that uses animals to improve a patient’s social, emotional, or cognitive functioning. Charlie was extremely friendly with kids, and was a pro at helping them feel at ease since the start.

He was a creator of miracles, so to speak. At a school for special children where Sudha was working on assisted therapy, Charlie helped one of the students speak his first words.

“In the nine years that he worked with kids, he helped over 200 special children move on in life, improve their motor mechanism, speech, etc. That was why we thought of naming the place after Charlie. It has been long since he is gone, but there is something about his life that has stayed with all of us,” she says.

Even today, CARE is involved in AAT or canine therapy in four special schools in the city. “Dogs love children irrespective of the condition they are living with and special children are able to relate with them at a much deeper level than they do with humans.”

The passion with which Sudha speaks about caring for animals is contagious.

She was a senior officer in the income tax department when she started working with CUPA, and it was there that she learned all about sheltering. Since then, she has been working in the field of animal welfare for 28 years. She also worked with the film censor board for two years to make sure animals are not hurt in movies.

“My love for animals came from my parents. There was nothing that was turned away from our home. There was always a cat coming in or a pup being looked after. And then I got the opportunity to channelize that love at CUPA and CARE.”

The other founders include Wing Commander Lingaraj, who retired from the air force and joined CUPA as a manager; Megha Vijay, a civil engineer by profession who has volunteered with several animal welfare organizations; Dr. H D Lohith, one of Bangalore’s famous veterinarians who was also taking care of Charlie; Mallika Menon, a compassionate human being who is always ready to go that extra mile to help a stray or abandoned animal; and M C Vijaya Lakshmi, the cat woman of CARE who has years of expertise in cat care.

One story of change created by CARE that Sudha always remembers is that of a dog, which used to live outside an apartment and was more like a family member for the residents there. One day, a gang of people allegedly came to rob the apartment. A brave soul, the dog chased them away, alerting security guards and residents. But the same group came the next day and dropped a huge granite stone on her. Both her hind legs were shattered.

“When the residents brought her to CARE, all they could say was ‘Help her come back to us. Do whatever you can, but help her recover.’ And she was a fighter. After surgeries, and two months of recovery, she went home walking,” Sudha recalls.

While the shelter is running a rescue van all through the day to help such animals in distress, it is not enough for a city of this size.

That’s Oliver

“With time, Bangalore has become an animal-friendly place. We have many rescuers and considerate animal-lovers. If there is one injured dog on a street, we get calls from three different people asking for help,” says Sudha.
On an average, CARE picks up over 5-6 animals every day. And this is followed by numerous calls after 5 pm when the van stops plying. This is why CARE is now raising funds to start a night ambulance that will be able to cater to the increasing number of calls.

This Valentine’s Day, The Better India & The Care Shelter have partnered together to bring an animal rescue van to Bangalore. If you #LovePawsitivity, support this campaign.

Unable to view the above button? Click here

George Eliot once said, “Animals are such agreeable friends―they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms.” So when it comes to helping these perfect furry pals, we shouldn’t leave any stone unturned. Because that’s what friends do, right?

Know more about CARE here.

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