Living Your Dreams – Story #4 

Our today’s story is about a dreamer who has a heart of gold. It is one thing to love animals, keep them as pets and treat them as your own. But it is quite different when you life’s mission and dream is to rescue animals, find them a shelter and when they don’t find a shelter, bring them home. This is Varsha Karnik’s story in her own words. 

Varsha with Apple and Misha. 

I have always loved animals. I never had pets growing up though I always wanted to have one. As with most animal loving children, I wanted to become a vet when I grew up, and even got into vet school in Melbourne, but things didn’t go as planned. I did my BA in journalism, psychology and English. During this time, I was finally allowed to get myself a dog. This is when my first dog Misha came into my life. After my BA, I did my masters in psychological counseling. During this time, I got my second dog, Apple.

When I graduated from college, I looked for a job for a little while. Most options that I had were to work in schools, to be a teacher. I was not too keen on that career path. I had never envisioned myself in that role. At around the same time, I found out that a pet boarding facility called “PetStepin” was looking for a new manager. I applied, got selected and started working there immediately. It didn’t pay too much but it was the perfect job (dream job) and it made me very happy.
Working with animals let me see and understand a different side of things. I saw a lot of animals being given up by their families for very trivial reasons. It was the first time I got to understand the situation for strays in the city. During my time there, I realized that I would be moving to Muscat after I got married. So I decided to do a pet-grooming course to give me a way to work with animals after I left India.
I trained under Ashita Mathew who owns and runs “Wags and Wiggles”. A very generous woman with whom I did a lot of rescue, animal grooming and feeding stray dogs.
I moved to Muscat with my 2 dogs thereafter. There is no animal welfare here and the government does not want to do anything for them. Strays animals are shot and left to die on the streets. I had seen cops shooting stray dogs when I used to walk my dogs and didn’t know what to do. There are some unregistered groups working to help and I was following them on Facebook. One day, 5 puppies were found in a bin and I saw that they were looking for foster homes to bottle feed them. I went to pick up a puppy and met another crazy animal loving person that day.
Nada Al Moosa is an Omani woman who has been working for animals for a few years. We together decided that we should start a rescue organization.
Omani Paws was born in November 2013. I have been involved with the group from the vet start. I go out to rescue animals, take them to her neutered, participate in fundraisers and also foster a lot. I now work at a veterinary clinic, and do animal adoption for them. I also board dogs in my house, cat sit when people travel and groom animals. I love to take care and work with cats and dogs. I now have 10 dogs of my own. I have a wonderful husband who is very supportive and as crazy as I am.

My favorite rescue story so far is of Orca and Maya. Orca and Maya are sisters who had been in my neighborhood for a long time. One day, for some reason, they came running up to me and were very friendly. Maya was heavily pregnant. I gave them some food and put collars on them, so that they wouldn’t get shot. That night, I got a call from a neighbor to tell me that she had delivered in a construction site where they had just laid the foundation. My husband and I went right away to move her and her puppies. She let me take her babies and they followed me to my house. I knew that they were my responsibility right then. A friend adopted the female pup and one of the boys is in the UK. I still have the third pup with me. Orca and Maya live in my yard because they love their freedom. They come with me for walks and have become friends with people in the neighborhood. I wish they could find homes where they would get lots of individual love and attention, but I do love them all and will do everything I can to look after them.

This is my story. Yes, to many it may all seem very crazy but this is my dream and I am living it.  I am very happy that I have a dream job and that I get to do what I love to do.

Written by and Pictures By : Varsha Karnik, an animal lover and rescuer.