Compassionate Paws International
Meet Sarah Iyer: Founder of MARS, India
Two years ago, Sarah Iyer created MARS - but her passion to help animals began when she was a child growing up in Bombay, India.
She said: "I was brought up by three kind and strong women - my mother, grandmother and aunt. I watched all of them be kind to animals and go to any lengths to help them, it left a deep impression on me.
"If my mother saw a starving dog, she would stop her car and search for a restaurant or shop to buy food. It was her dream to start a dog shelter.
"There is a strong need in me to nurture, partly because I lost both my mother and aunt within one year. My grief has kept me hooked on elevating the suffering of animals and making their lives better easing my pain. Giving animals love, joy and happiness and keeping them safe makes my life worth living."
Remembering the rescue which spurred her to pursue her mother's dream, Sarah said: "It all started on the first day of 2014 when we rescued puppy called PK who was hit by a car and suffered broken legs and a fractured spine. After treatment and plenty of love, he fully recovered within a month."
Sarah, who has experience in psychology, working with children with additional needs and counselling brain trauma patients, said she is particularly passionate about helping disabled and paraplegic dogs.
She said: "The next step for MARS is to build a shelter with a focus of rehabilitating paraplegic animals. We also plan to build a hospital which will give free treatment to street animals, have access to a 24/7 animal ambulance and provide awareness programmes in schools and universities.
"My goal is to see every street dog not only in Chennai, but all of India to be vaccinated and neutered."
MARS was created in 2019 and provides vaccinations, neutering, re-homing and animal health programmes in Chennai, India. So far the charity has rescued 500 dogs and financed 200 sterilisations.
Find out more about our programs in India, and how to become a donor to help support this work.