June 14, 2007
Dr. Jack Reece: A Dedicated Veterinarian Finds His Calling in India
He had only planned on a one-year volunteer experience with Help in Suffering (HIS) in Jaipur, India, but nearly 10 years later, Dr. Jack Reece calls India home. Dr. Reece has become a well-loved and integral part of the HIS family and is dedicated to his work and the HIS staff. His vast veterinary knowledge, conscientiousness, and strong sense of integrity have all contributed to the growth and success of HIS and its work over the years.
Jaipur can be a difficult place to live and work, with its hot, dry climate and lack of what many people would call "necessary" amenities. The living conditions at HIS are very simple, but Dr. Reece has asked for little more during his tenure. For a time, he struggled to decide whether to stay with HIS in India or return to the United Kingdom. After years of volunteering, Dr. Reece needed to earn a salary, but he always found himself longing to return to India during his visits home. Making a difference in the lives of animals and people seemed more important than any veterinary career he could build in the UK.
In 2001, Dr. Reece attended the Asia for Animals Conference in Manila, Philippines. During a meeting between HIS and Humane Society International (HSI), the two groups discussed the veterinarian's future. HIS explained the desperate need for an Animal Birth Control extension program to teach and train vets, managers and compounders from other shelters in India. A small salary was required to keep Dr. Reece on board.
HSI agreed to support the ABC extension program, and four years later this has proven to be a successful relationship. In 2006, a research paper by Dr. Reece and Dr. Sunil Chawla, detailing the results of the HIS ABC program, was published in the British Veterinary Association's Veterinary Record. Believed to be the first scientific report on the effects of an ABC program on street dog populations and rabies to appear in a peer-review journal, this paper is already being used to illustrate the benefits of ABC programs in other countries, including China.
The British Veterinary Association presented Dr. Reece with the first Trevor Blackburn Award in 2006 for his work in the field of animal health and welfare in a developing country. He has also been granted a travel scholarship to speak about his work at the British Veterinary Congress in the UK in September 2007.
Christine Townend, Chair of Trustees of HIS, said, "Imagine our great joy when HSI offered to fund the project and Jack agreed to stay and to run it. Slowly, we grew to know him and to love him more and more. We are desperately proud of Jack's achievements, which might never have come to fruition if he had not been heading the HSI/HIS ABC Extension Project."
Dr. Reece has also become an important part of the HSI family. His selfless commitment toward all animals and his years of his important, hard work with HIS and the ABC Extension Program are extraordinary. HSI presented him with the 2007 HSI Award for Extraordinary Commitment and Achievement in May.