Erika Abrams, co-founder & president of Animal Aid Unlimited

Erika Abrams—co-founder and president of Animal Aid Unlimited, a rescue operation, hospital, and sanctuary in Udaipur, India—recalls the circumstances under which she, her husband, Jim, and daughter, Claire, began traveling to India in the late 1980s. While noting she wasn’t (and still isn’t) well-traveled, and that her initial interest in the country was rooted in superficial facets, she fell instantly, and hard, for India. Living at the time in Seattle, Abrams recounts how the family continued to make trips to India, then spurred, in part, by her daughter’s growing antipathy to the traveling, decided to move to Udaipur. They were bothered by the large number of injured and ill animals on the street, and that there was no veterinary hospital or other care available for them, Abrams explains. Despite no background in animal rescue or other sorts of animal organizations—but, she says, she and Jim did have considerable experience in fundraising, strategic planning, and various kinds of other work for nonprofits—they launched Animal Aid Unlimited in 2002. Undeterred by the lack of experience in the animal realm, they forged ahead, figuring things out along the way, hiring veterinarians when they could, seeking guidance from whatever experts they could speak with, and so on. In the initial years, Abrams observed, one notable obstacle was that the area lacked cell phones and landlines—so Animal Aid Unlimited might be contacted three times per week for animal rescue help; in 2005, cell phones were introduced, and changed everything: Abrams says they might receive 60 calls a day for assistance, explaining that the chief recurring issues prompting phone calls to the hospital are car accidents, the impact of a poor diet &/or consuming plastic products, and lack of medical treatment. There was also some discussion of Animal Aid Unlimited’s healing, often-transformative impact on staff and volunteers, including travelers who visit Udaipur and are invited to volunteer at the organization’s facilities. Animal Aid Unlimited is funded largely through donations. (https://animalaidunlimited.org, https://www.facebook.com/AnimalAidUnlimited)

ALSO: I spoke with our “greyhound correspondent,” Don Goldstein, who updated us on where things stand with Prop 67, the constitutional amendment that could spell the end of greyhound racing in Florida. He noted that until about April 16, there’s still an important, open window to express support to the Commissioners, via email or phone call (http://www.flcrc.gov/Commissioners) for this amendment.

 

COMEDY CORNER: Maria Bamford’s “Raccoon, Horseback Riding” (http://www.mariabamford.com)

MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” instrumentals

NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE: We didn’t play Name That Animal Tune today.

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About the author
Duncan Strauss is the producer-host of “Talking Animals,” which he launched at KUCI in California in 2003, combining his passions for animals, radio, journalism, music and comedy. The show has aired since late 2005 on Tampa’s WMNF. Strauss lives in Jupiter Farms, FL with his family, including four cats, two horses and one dog. He spends each day talking to those animals, and maintains they talk right back to him, an as yet unverified claim.

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