Animal Internships Wiki

The following information was copied from the Vets Beyond Borders website:

Vets Beyond Borders Current Programs[]

VBB runs projects in Sikkim and Ladakh in India. These regions are fascinating areas to travel to and volunteering with VBB offers great opportunities for working with local people and making a contribution to the local community. In January 2009 Project Vet Train will commence to deliver training at the National Institute of Animal Welfare near Delhi. This initiative, will deliver clinical training on a wide range of topics to veterinarians and para-veterinarians .

VBB volunteers constitute a diverse spectrum of veterinary professionals from all over the world. We value our volunteers highly and realise that combining volunteering and a holiday is a great way to see another country and be there in a working capacity. The regions that we work in offer unique opportunities for traveling, from trekking to rafting, to visiting local monasteries and enjoying local cuisine.

VBB projects are supported by our generous sponsors the Foundation Brigitte Bardot and Marchig Animal Welfare Trust. Collaboration and donations from Blue Cross of India, Frendicoes SECA, Delhi and World Expeditions are greatly appreciated.

VBB Projects[]

Project Name Months of operation Volunteers Required
Sikkim, India February - June,
September - December
September to mid Dec
Ladakh, India June - September June - September

Ladakh Project, India[]

About the Ladakh Project[]

Download the project report VBB Ladakh 2007

The Leh Street Dog Sterilaisation programme is being run between June and September. If you are interested in volunteering for 2009 program please contact Ruth Pye. This programme is generously sponsored by Foundation Brigitte Bardot.

The Leh Street Dog Sterilisation Programme is a collaboration between a local non-government organisation, the Ladakh Animal Care Society and Vets Beyond Borders. The Ladakh Animal Care Society was founded in 2003 by Kunzang Namgyal, the society strives to promote compassion and has a special concern for the welfare of stray dogs. The organisation is opposed to culling which is the standard method employed by the local government to reduce dog numbers.

Beginning in June and working through until late September , volunteer vets from around the world work with local dog catchers, vet nurses and assistants to surgically sterilize dogs. Dogs are caught from Leh and surrounding villages and are brought to the LACS site for sterilization and post operative care. The LACS facilitiy is located in Sabu which is a small village 7 km by road, to the east of the capital Leh.

How the project works[]

Dogs were collected in the early morning by two dog catchers and a truck driver. These roles were filled by Ladakhi locals employed by VBB and partly funded by VBB and the local government. The dog catchers worked in specific areas with an aim to catch all the dogs in that area before moving onto the next area. The programme is thought to have made a significant impact on dog numbers mainly the south and east of Leh Choglmasar, Housing Colony, Main Bazaar and Airport Rd.

Volunteers would arrive at the clinic to find the first group of dogs brought by the dog catchers. A Ladakhi girl called Dolma was instructed in anaesthetic. The clinic would run with 2 tables operating and an average of 15 dogs would be sterialised per day. A priority of VBB is to train local veterinarians and lay staff in the procedures in order that the project can continue functioning without the need for western volunteers.

The story so far ....[]

  • Infrastructure has been built including 4 holding pens and the office was converted to a surgery with kitchen area.
  • The number of volunteers varied from 3 - 8 at any one time. Volunteers were veterinary surgeons and a vet nurse.
  • In 2006; 561 dogs - 310 females and 261 males - were sterilised and released.
  • In 2007; 911 dogs ( 468 female, 443 male) were sterilised and the training programme with the local government vets commenced.
  • In 2008; 901 dogs (412 female, 489 male) were sterilised and the training programme with the local government vets commenced.
  • In 2008; Foundation Brigitte Bardot started to fund the operation of Ladakh Animal Care through the cold hard winter months.

Sikkim Project, India[]

Sikkim Anti-Rabies and Animal Health Program[]

SARAH stands for Sikkim Anti-Rabies and Animal Health Programme. The state of Sikkim is nestled in the Himalayan foothills of North-Eastern India. Vets Beyond Borders works in partnership with the Government of Sikkim and the Brigitte Bardot Foundation to enable this project. This extensive state-wide ABC - AR programme is now fully funded however it requires the generous and dedicated work of volunteer veterinarians and veterinary nurses to continue. Since 2005 volunteer veterinarians and veterinary nurses, from Australia and overseas, have made the journey to Sikkim to participate in the program.

If you are interested in volunteering in 2009 please contact Helen Byrnes

How the project works[]

The local staff that VBB work with are invaluable, they are the team members who keep things running as volunteers come and go. They are out at first light catching dogs (the most important job) and then are kept busy all day, being trained in the skills required to prepare the animals for surgery and to clean and pack surgical kits prior to autoclaving.

There is a lot of other work to be done. Community education and public awareness campaigns are vital components of the project. The benefits of a successful, state-wide programme are not limited to the dogs alone. The reduction in the incidence of other zoonotic diseases, such as Scabies, Hookworm and Echinococcosis, also contributes greatly to public health.

Public welfare is improved through effective Rabies prevention, following the creation of a stable, vaccinated, street-dog population. The community attitude to street-dogs is improved as a result of the reduced numbers without the need for violent and distressing culls. The work holds the potential to be of great worth to dog and human populations alike.

VBB's goal is to be able to hand-over the operation of the project to local veterinarians in three-to-five years.


The programme continues to extend its activities over an ever larger area of the state. This has been made possible by the appointment of more Sikkimese veterinary personnel, an increased supply of veterinary volunteers provided by Vets Beyond Borders and the acquisition of more plant and equipment, thanks to the generosity of Fondation Brigitte Bardot.

Highlights*Funding for current financial year approved by programme sponsors, Fondation Brigitte Bardot and the Government of Sikkim

  • Administrative changes planned to ensure long-term future of the programme
  • Third unit due to commence work in the new Ravangla district street-dog clinic
  • Third unit due to commence work in the new Ravangla district street-dog clinic
  • Landmark meeting, hosted by Vets Beyond Borders in Gangtok, promises close collaboration between government departments, police, armed forces, local NGO's and media on animal welfare and public health issues

Karnataka Project, India[]

Come and join us on a unique South Indian trip[]

Volunteer to join a dedicated team of 2-3 vets and 1-2 vet nurses on a two week program in the forests of South India. This project is in partnership with the Brigitte Bardot Foundation and the Tibetan Volunteers for Animals. This is a unique opportunity to be part of the first dog health program in a restricted area of the South Indian highlands amongst a fascinating community of Tibetan Buddhist monks in one of the world’s largest monastic complexes. This pilot dog steralisation, health care and anti-rabies program will operate from 28th March- 5th April 2009. Accommodation and food will be provided in a comfortable guest house nearby.

Prerequisites: Previous experience working in field camps in developing communities preferred but not essential. Vets: at least 2 years experience in small animal practice and proficiency in canine steralisation surgeries. Vet Nurses: at least 1 year’s experience in small animal practice. Ability to general surgical and medical nursing tasks, place i.v. catheters, monitor and maintain i.v. anesthesia and training of local volunteers who will continue to provide basic animal care on our departure.

Ability to work in minimalist conditions and be adaptable. Good sense of humor and flexible, tolerant attitude to different cultural attitudes and beliefs. Cooperative attitude and good team work essential.

For more information please contact

About the Karnataka Project[]

Sera Datsang (Monastery) is one of the world’s largest teaching institutions for Buddhism. As well as providing comprehensive education, it houses and indirectly supports approximately 6000 Tibetan monks.

While a relatively small population of feral and semi-domestic or “community” dogs, live in the Monastery precinct (which could, in itself, be considered a self-contained town), many more live in the surrounding districts in approximately 32 Tibetan ‘camps’ and in the broader surrounds inhabited by the Indian population.

The potential for a pilot animal birth control anti-rabies (ABC-AR) program within the Sera Monastery environs is a practical and manageable strategy to create what may potentially become a much more wide-spread project with significant benefits on many social levels as well as those of a public health and animal welfare nature.

It is proposed that an efficient short-term pilot project be established to sterilise the current dog population within Sera Monastery. This would involve temporary surgical setups within the current human hospital and clinical facility on the edge of the extensive Monastery grounds. In any case, this facility would become the focus for the project in many respects.

This clinic – the H. Poiter Health Centre – is situated in a fairly large area of maintained grounds large enough to accommodate temporary shelters for dog recovery as well as a longer-term palliative care shelter should it be necessary. The facility has good access to external boundaries of the monastery and to main road links with major regional centres.

Partner Organisations[]

Brigitte Bardot Foundation (FBB) FBB is one of VBB’s long time and treasured funding bodies. They have again generously agreed to support this project and VBB’s work for animals in Asia. FBB’s vision in supporting pilot programs, which have the ability to develop into wide ranging and sustainable animal welfare efforts, is most evident by their long term support of the SARAH program in Sikkim.

Tibetan Volunteers for Animals (TVA) is a registered non-government and non-profit organization registered under Karnataka Societies Act 1960.

TVA will assist with logistical support, translation, community and school education campaigns and recruitment and management of local volunteers. It is anticipated that this pilot program will lead to wider scale animal/ public health programs throughout all the Tibetan refugee communities in India, managed by TVA and supported by VBB.