The WECare Vet Hospital on Sri Lanka’s South Coast is a one-of-a-kind, desperately-needed facility around these parts and we really need your help to make the finished product a reality!
With next to no 24 hour veterinary inpatient facilities outside of Colombo and Kandy (3.5 hours away) and the equivalent of every single owned dog we have in the UK being out of the street (an estimated 1-3 million), our hospital is a crucial addition to the community here in the Southern Province.
With some amazing support, we have managed to complete 'Phase One' of our build but we are really struggling to get the momentum to finish Phase 2. We really need your help to finish it off and have a clinic that is fully-equipped to deal with anything that comes through the door (and there is a LOT that comes through the door- we may need to expand soon, eek!!!).
While we’re almost there, we need one more big push to get us across the line and that’s why we’re asking for your support, so that we can continue to help the street dogs of Sri Lanka to live the lives they deserve.
Who are we?
Started in 2014 by meeeee (UK vet Dr Janey Lowes), WECare aims to provide UK standard veterinary care for street animals in need around the world and we started operations in Sri Lanka due to the huge overpopulation of street dogs, often with extensive injuries or severe disease. Starting out as a one-woman band, I am now lucky enough to have a SERIOUSLY committed team on board who help me deliver not only international standard care but also provide buckets of love, sweat and tears in everything they do. Over the last four years, we have treated over 7,000 animals in need and we look to increase this number in a dramatic way in the near future (keeping everything crossed that we can push on!). Some of the cases we see are EXTREME and things you would only ever see in referral or university hospitals in the UK/Aus/US. Most would be put to sleep in the West but we believe in doing everything possible, as vets, to give the street dogs a second chance if there is a possibility that they can return to normal function and have a good quality of life afterwards. This means that we often end up conducting quite full on surgeries or throwing ourselves into very intensive medical cases but generally the results are good, usually due to the resilience of the Sri Lankan street dogs; they are unbelievable!
What’s the deal with the animal hospital?
We have been building our animal hospital since 2017. Like most things in Sri Lanka, the process has taken longer and been much harder than we ever anticipated! We have had to jump a huge number of hurdles and suck up to a lot of people to get to where we have. This means that the build has cost us more than we initially thought…. but… we are so close!
With your AMAZING support we have created a facility which most volunteers tell us is better than their practice at home (yayyy for jetlag goggles!). We have 2 consultation rooms, 2 offices, outpatient prep, outpatient theatre, inpatient prep, inpatient theatre, a fully equipped laboratory, isolation facilities, ICU, a cattery and 24 kennels. Nothing is flashy or excessive but one of our missions is to ensure that street dogs are not treated any differently to owned dogs and for us that means providing a facility that is up to international standards.
With your help, (I know a lot of you have helped so much already and we are so thankful!), we can put the finishing touches on the building, as well as install an ALL-TOO-CRUCIAL DIAGNOSTIC IMAGING SUITE. We are so so desperate to get our hands on x-ray and ultrasound; having these last vital pieces of equipment will allow our clinical team to perform at the top of their game, meaning we will be able to more accurately and efficiently diagnose and treat the dogs we see. X-ray and ultrasound will allow us to save so many more animals and we are considering selling all of our kidneys to fund this!! We see RTAs (road traffic accidents) every single day and it is horrible to feel like your hands are tied in terms of diagnostics/treatments.
We would also love to lay grass in the garden, instead of the concrete that the dogs currently lie on. We are really hoping to build a small visitors' centre too- we are situated in a very touristy area of Sri Lanka but often have to turn visitors (and potential donors) away as we are a functioning veterinary hospital and it just doesn't work to have people wandering around (especially if we have some gruesome emergencies kicking around). We would love to create a space where people can come and chill, do a little yoga, have a juice, meet the resident doggies and maybe buy some merchandise.
What else can we tell you?!
I realise we are babbling but there is just so much to say! We work our socks off and really do try to cover a lot of bases! If you would like to know a little more about our mission, please read on, but otherwise, if you could just shoot a teeny tiny donation our way to help us finish the hospital then we would be forever thankful!
We have three main areas of focus:
- CNVR programmes (catch, neuter, vaccinate, release)
- Treatment of sick and injured animals
- Education and training
CNVR is carried out as it is the most humane way to reduce roaming dog populations and reduce the number of unwanted puppies that are dumped on the streets at a very young age. It also allows the females that would inevitably spend their whole lives pregnant to only have to worry about number one when thinking about limited food resources and shelter options, which transforms their lives.
Vaccinating the dog population against Rabies is the most effective way to eliminate the disease in the human population. As an island nation, eradication of Rabies in the near future is a very real possibility and will change the future of both animals and humans here, allowing improved relationships between the two. CNVR is the backbone of everything we are trying to achieve in Sri Lanka.
Treating Sick and Injured Animals
Sick and injured animals are a very common occurrence here in Sri Lanka, with the most common injuries being those caused by road traffic accidents and dog fights (the small wounds turn into huge maggot wounds). With no one to care for these animals directly, they would die a slow and painful death as a result of injuries or illnesses that could have been treated successfully had they been caught in time. As vets, this is extremely frustrating and is one of the main reasons we decided to drop everything and move out to provide care and a lifeline for these dogs.
Skin disease is something we see very frequently and, although not usually a killer, does provide a huge amount of discomfort and upset for the dog. This is easily treatable using imported products and is essential in providing these animals with a good quality of life.
Images of most of the things we see here cannot be made public as they are too distressing but please head to www.facebook.com/WECareWorldwide to get an idea of the types of things we see. And fix!!
Education and Training
Education of the local communities is paramount and is the most important factor in changing mindsets in the future. Currently, dog ownership and responsibility is not something that many Sri Lankans have knowledge in so we intend to fill this gap and help them to see the benefits that taking responsibility for a dog, either at home or in the community, can have both for the dog and for themselves.
We also train local vets and technicians up to a high standard and promote compassion and care within the role. As veterinary professionals ourselves, we strive to improve standards of care here in the long-term as, currently, the options are very limited, with regards to both equipment and skillsets available. We provide all of our expertise and help for free but still have to cover medicine and food costs. We rely solely on the support of donations to fund the vital work that we do. Where the animal is owned, treatment is paid for, (with the exception of rabies vaccination and neutering). WECare in Sri Lanka is a clinic and not a shelter, so street dogs are released after treatment at the location where they were found, and puppies are rehomed where possible. We do have some resident animals where we have decided that it would be unsafe for the animal if they were released, for example if they are blind or a little unsteady on their legs.
- Sally Carruthers
- Nicola Turner
- Simon Hall
- Pamela De Zilva
#1 fundraising platform
More people start fundraisers on GoFundMe than on any other platform. Learn more
In the rare case something isn’t right, we will work with you to determine if misuse occurred. Learn more
Expert advice, 24/7
Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more