In the United States, people work extremely hard during their career, and so when it comes time to finally retire, it’s no surprise that many flock to faraway places to spend the rest of their days relaxing. Some go to Florida, some go back to their home countries, and some go to lands they’ve never visited for a new experience. When Leslie Robinson was about to turn 70, he decided his retirement destination would be the Himalayas, but first, he would stop in Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu, India for about 10 days. Little did he know that he would find out information that would inspire him to stay there for the next 10 years. 

Being an animal lover, Robinson simply couldn’t leave the town where he was staying when he found out that local authorities had plans to kill street dogs in a few days, as a means of population control. Hundreds of phone calls later, Robinson was able to delay the plan with one contingence: an alternate population control program had to be set into place. Knowing that nobody would rise to the occasion, (since no one had for the last 40 years) he decided to ditch his plan to escape to the Himalayas to instead start the Arunachala Animal Sanctuary and Rescue Shelter.

Now 80-years-old, Robinson works with a team of 23 to help as many stray dogs as possible, and given how many homeless animals there are on the streets of India, the work never seems to run out. 

People either bring injured stray animals to the shelter, or Robinson’s team coaxes them until they feel safe and are willing to return to the sanctuary with them. 

At the sanctuary, the dogs are provided with water and food, space to roam, veterinary care, and plenty of cuddles! Arunachala’s clinic gets up to 800 patients every month.

While they mostly work with pups, other animals are also given shelter and care, if needed. 

The fact that they will help any animal shows just how compassionate the center is towards all living creatures. 

Leslie Robinson’s choice to enter the animal rescue world – one that is often disheartening and taxing – is truly inspiring. Thousands of animals in India owe their lives to his kindness. 



Robinson’s determination to help animals is truly admirable. In a world where so many people turn away in the face of difficulty, especially when it has to do with animals and not humans, Robinson decided to rearrange his life to help others. When Robinson first founded the shelter, he used his savings and then was later supported by private donors. However, the shelter never has more than enough money for the next 3-6 months while the volume of animals in need of help continually rises. If you were inspired by Robinson’s story and would like to help keep the shelter running you can help them by donation here.

All image source: Arunachala Animal Sanctuary and Rescue Shelter/Facebook