Veterinarians play several roles everyday – ER doctor, surgeon, animal welfare activist, trainer of apprentices and of course, clairvoyant, since their patients can't talk to describe their symptoms.

Dr. Shiela Rao is a veterinarian and trustee of CUPA (Compassion Unlimited Plus Action), an NGO that she co-founded to take animal welfare to the next level. A turning point in her life was starting CUPA with like-minded people. Over the years, she and her colleagues have rescued many animals from extreme abuse and abandonment and have been instrumental in advocating adoption of Indian dogs rather than buying them. With a growing community of people with companion animals, qualified doctors with a welfare outlook are the need of the hour. Dr. Shiela has this advice for aspiring vets: “Check the Vet Council of India (VCI) website. Internship is very comprehensive and the students get a chance to work in different places, so overall exposure is good”.

While veterinary medicine is challenging and involves great skill and confidence, Dr. Shiela reveals that it also has its lighter moments. “I remember, as a student, we were all crowding around a bullock which had been made to lie down for treatment, when it suddenly got to its feet and took off down the corridors of the clinic. I wish I could have taken a video of all of us scrambling to get out of its way!”

Hero of the week

Venkatesh is our hero this week. When he saw an ownerless bull unable to walk because of a severely infected wound in leg, he contacted CUPA and informed the local police station, waited for CUPA's ambulance to pick up the animal and contributed towards its treatment too. The bull is now recovering at the CUPA Hebbal shelter. Know of a hero who has performed of an act of kindness to animals? Write to