While we were in Nepal due to flooding our volunteer experience through Workaway didn’t work out. Our original volunteer site was in Chitwan, a city in southern Nepal. We were supposed to volunteer as teachers in a school and also help the kids and the surrounding village. It seemed very exciting as we would stay with our hosts. In addition to teaching at the school, we were eager to visit the jungle and possibly see wild rhinos and the majestic and fierce Bengal Tiger. Instead of Chitwan we ended up volunteering at the Kathmandu Animal Shelter (KAT).
Why We Didn’t Go To Chitwan
After being in India on the scariest roads of our lives, with sketchy bus drivers, and many near death experiences. Once, we saw the flooding in Chitwan on the news we said nuh-uh! We can’t go. We also had some other signs that lent themselves to supporting our decision. There were many newspaper headlines describing hundreds of tourists who got stranded in Chitwan, the same type of buses that we took in India had a huge accident due to landslides in India and all the passengers died, our hostel told us it was unsafe to go, and last but not least the road washed out to Chitwan. All of these reasons lead us to change course and stay in Pokhara for a few extra days and then return to Kathmandu.
As an aside Don’t stay in the Green Kiwi Hostel in Pokhara. The hostel has great reviews on Hostelworld but none of us were sure why. Their breakfast was really good and delicious, the beds are comfy. However, the bathrooms and dorm that we stayed at weren’t very clean there was mold everywhere and the staff had no idea which beds were clean or in use. We got asked numerous times if such and such bed was still being used as they were trying to find newcomers a bed! Maybe try this hostel a year from now after they have completed their renovations but as of now, it’s not very nice.
Back to the show…
We returned to Kathmandu and were really looking for something to do. After a few days there we’ve seen all of the temples and don’t have anything else to do but shop. We decided to try and find another Workaway, but our Workaway account was having some technical difficulties and we weren’t able to log in and send messages. 21st century women that we are we decided to take matters into our own hands. We googled animal shelter in Kathmandu, figuring that the one that popped up was the most likely the one on Workaway. We found their email address and emailed them. Low and behold they got back to us and we were on our way!
Taking a Microbus to Kathamandu Animal Shelter
Taylor got her wish as we traveled in a microbus from Kathmandu to an outskirt area where Kathamandu Animal Shelter KAT is located. It was soo cheap!!! 20 NPR for two people it was so sweet! Microbuses for those who don’t know are these mini vans that get crammed full of people. I mean crammed we saw microbuses where people were laying a top one another to fit inside this tiny bus. It was nuts and incredibly unsafe..but exhilarating. Definitely not something to tell your mum and dad back home about.
Anyways we get off at our stop and found the shelter. It looked like either a haunted house or a cozy, large, endearing house from Harry Potter or the movie Up. Kathmandu Animal Shelter’s building was made out of brick and had three stories with a small scraggly, it looked like a look out tower or crows nest, the miniture fourth floor I guess you could say. The crows nest was a small empty room way on top of the house.
At Kathamandu Animal Shelter
We get inside Kathmandu Animal Shelter and meet our volunteer coordinator. He asked us very insistently how we found Kathmandu Animal Shelter (KAT). We kept telling him on Workaway and were perplexed that he didn’t seem to understand that. Many of you may have already guessed what had happened, but we didn’t put two and two together until much later that evening. After we helped to feed the dogs and watched some spays and neuters all of a sudden everyone started to pack up and leave. We were wondering why dinner wasn’t provided like it said in the ad and where everyone was going. Fortunately, there was an English speaker who explained more clearly what was happening. It was then we realized that we had wound up at the wrong animal shelter. It wasn’t the one on Workaway.
Now that I explained how we got there. Let’s talk about the Kathmandu Animal Shelter (KAT).
Kathmandu Animal Shelter (KAT) is the largest dog shelter in Kathmandu, it has great SEO. They have been around the community for numerous years, apart from the two years that they had to close due to funding issues. Kathmandu Animal Shelter has been performing roughly 200 spays and neuters a month. They typically focus on spaying female dogs instead of castratating male dogs. This practice is based on many studies which find this to be more effective for population control. However, there are many studies that have found that neutering males are very effective in reducing aggression in street dogs. KAT also has a rabies vaccination program and vaccinates all dogs that they bring into the shelter. This is important to helping to prevent the spread of rabies in Nepal. Rabies is a big problem in this country.
Daily Schedule of Kathmandu Animal Shelter
A typical day at this shelter looked like this:
Is feeding time! We fed the dogs rice and cooked chicken. They made these huge vats of it. We fed the dogs that were in kennels and cages first along with the puppies and then fed the rest of the free roaming dogs in the compound. Food bowls were promptly collected and washed right away. This helped to make cleaning them easier.
This was tea time followed by medication and wound care time. During this time we walked around with the resident surgeon and his assistant. The one thing that stood out to me was how much effort and attention they had to expend to prevent wounds from being infested with maggots. They had this stinky cream they put on all wounds to prevent flies from landing on the wounds and leaving maggot eggs. Coming from Washington state, I was surprised at how much of a problem this was. The most common injury we saw was foot wounds and mange.
was lunch time and break time.
13:00 – 16:00
This was the time that they performed surgeries. We watched them perform castrations and spays. The majority of the dogs they performed birth control on were sweet female dogs. It appeared to me that they only neutered dogs after they had spayed all the females. Kind of like okay we have time to neuter let’s neuter type deal. I was surprised at the level of efficiency and care that was displayed as they performed these spays. All dogs received pain meds and antibiotics. They also cleansed and sterilized the surgery site. I was very impressed too because the spays were performed with as minimally invasive techniques as possible. It was performed from the side, not the standard style of through the belly. It had a much shorter recovery time of three days and seemed, on the whole, to be less painful.
Dinner time for the dogs! Then everyone would pack up and go home.
Possible changes to the schedule
On days when dogs were released back onto the street they would release them in the morning back to their original street. I expected this to be a sad time, but instead I was very surprised as the dogs were extremely happy to return home and often had a human there who was excited to see them. It actually made me feel really happy. KAT also has an extremely good reputation among the populace who guided us to all of the street dogs we were picking up that day who were sick and needed help. During days they released and picked up dogs there weren’t any surgeries.
Conclusion of Kathmandu Animal Shelter
Overall I think that this a great shelter which definitely deserves financial assistance and support. To find out more about KAT you can always visit their website. There a many low-cost ways that you can help support a dog in need, whether it is sponsoring them and paying for their food and treatment, adopting, or becoming a donation member.
If you have any questions about volunteering here or donating and you would like to ask my opinion or experience. Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out some cheap flights to Nepal! Have you volunteered in another animal shelter elsewhere throughout the world please feel free to tell us about it or by leaving a comment below! We can’t wait to hear from you!