Visit a street dog rescue centre – Colombo
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: As visitors to Sri Lanka quickly learn, the county has many street and community owned dogs. Although these dogs rarely pose a threat to humans, they are often in a poor physical state as a result of fighting with other dogs or falling victim to road traffic in the larger cities. Embark is the first animal welfare organisation of its kind in Sri Lanka. They have been dedicated to rescuing and rehabilitating street dogs since 2007. Through a combination of sterilization, vaccinations, rescues, adoption, education and campaigning for improvements in policy with regard to animal rights, Embark transform the lives of street dogs in Sri Lanka and make large improvements to the communities that they live in. Though its primary source of funding is a line of dog themed merchandise, Embark greatly depend on help from donors to be able to respond on the scale required. Without donations they would be unable to expand the work they do and the cost of operating such an organisation in Sri Lanka is relatively high. This is not an activity, but merely a way to help you get closer to the organisation itself so that you can decide if you would perhaps like to help out in some way. All donations are well received. You may even wish to simply help out by buying something from the Embark shop (locations are listed on their website www.embarkpassion.com), or you may even go as far as to sponsor or adopt a dog. It is up to you.
EXPERIENCE DESCRIPTION: You will drive around 1.5 hours out of Colombo to the Embark dog rescue centre. The centre is quite basic and can house only a limited amount of dogs, but they strive to take in as many dogs as they can given their resources and the availability of kennel space. Most of the dogs have sustained very substantial injuries and are being treated by vets within the hospital. This can be quite emotionally charged at first, however the staff are passionate and fueled by their love for animals. There are many sad stories to be learned about the dogs, but there are even more success stories and the dogs who have been living there for some time show clear improvements and are clearly happy and well looked after. You will be shown around the hospital by one of the staff members who will tell you the individual story of each dog. You may also like to bring treats or toys for the dogs, or even speak at length with the resident vet. Spending time with the dogs can be both a harrowing and extremely satisfying experience. We would recommend this only to serious animal lovers who are interested in giving something back during their stay in Sri Lanka. The whole visit can be as long or as short as you need it to be.
Includes: a guided visit around the hospital.
Duration: no set duration
Difficulty: hard – we classify this as hard because it can cause be quite shocking
Suitable for children: Younger children may be scared and not able to understand the situation. Older children with a passion for animal welfare should be fine.
Times: Mornings are usually better, although timings are dependent on staff availability and need to be decided on a more ad hoc basis. Tuesdays and Fridays preferred.
What to wear or bring along: clothes and shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty/covered in dog hair. Snacks and toys for dogs.
Important to know: Some dogs that have recently been brought to the hospital have very severe wounds which may be shocking to some people. Please bare in mind when you visit that you will very likely see some extremely difficult injuries, but that the dogs are in the best place to have their injuries treated.
Private or not? This experience is private.