My Experience at Animal Aid Unlimited

April 23, 2012

By Kristie Mientka

Kristie and an Animal Aid Unlimited veterinarian treating a donkey.
Kristie Mientka

As a veterinary student at Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, I decided to make the most of the summer before starting my second year by volunteering with Animal Aid Unlimited to help ameliorate the devastating animal situation that plagues the streets of India.

Animal Aid Unlimited is a U.S.-based charitable organization that runs a busy animal hospital and shelter in Udaipur, Rajasthan India. Here, ownerless, injured and sick animals are rescued from the street, treated, healed, loved and returned to the neighborhoods from where they were found.

The shelter itself is home and sanctuary for around 50 dogs, 30 cows, 25 donkeys and 5 pigs who cannot be returned to the street due to debilitating injuries. The shelter resident animals have more than 3 acres of land to explore throughout the day. Animals who live here are never made to stay in a kennel or a cage except for short periods of time during treatment, recovery or extreme weather conditions (like rain).

My first day at the hospital was eye opening. I assisted the veterinarian and technicians in the dog ward treating injuries the likes of which I had never seen, from deep penetrating wounds to extensive lacerations. The veterinarian had minimal supplies—only one basket full of medications and bandage material—but somehow she was able to treat the 30 or so dogs that needed attention. Despite the oppressive heat and the relentless flies and ticks that swarmed around, the day flew by and I was excited to come back the next morning.

To my surprise, a lot of my time at the hospital was spent in the large animal ward, treating sick and injured cattle and donkeys. Some of the most common large animal emergency cases included broken legs after being hit by a car, injured legs from falling in a ditch or drain, wounds infested with maggots, illnesses from plastic consumption, and infant bull-calves orphaned on the street. I mainly cleaned wounds and splinted legs as many of the injuries to these animals were due to "hobbles" placed on their legs by owners to keep them from running away.

Kristie with the Animal Aid Unlimited team.
Kristie Mientka

I can honestly say I learned more from this experienced than I had planned. I learned about injuries. I learned how to treat wounds and splint legs. I learned how to be comfortable around large animals. I learned a different kind of medicine and how to work with minimal resources. I gained a new perspective on the world of veterinary medicine and I gained a new perspective on the concept of compassion.

For more information about Animal Aid Unlimited, please visit

For more stories from my time in India, visit my blog.



Kristie Mientka is in the class of 2014 at the Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine and is currently serving as the Tufts-HSVMA Student Chapter president.