The child who saved his entire village

This is Palin.

At just 8 years old Palin was already a hero.

One December afternoon, Palin's dog Saroo got into a fight with another dog. Saroo was not badly hurt, but soon this loving dog began to act strangely, biting random objects and even trying to attack Palin's father.

Palin's parents had no idea what could have caused Saroo to act so out of character. But Palin knew his behaviour could mean only one thing.

Rabies.

Palin lives in India, where in many areas rabies is rife. Over 35 percent of global human rabies deaths occur in India; 99% of human deaths are caused by dog bites. Once symptoms start to show, rabies is 100% fatal. This cruel disease has a devastating impact in many countries, but people do not know the signs to look out for, or what to do if a dog or person has rabies.

But Palin did.

This is Palin

Just weeks before, Palin had been taught about rabies at his school, and he knew how dangerous this disease was, not just for Saroo, but for anyone Saroo might attack, including Palin's parents.

Palin knew what he had to do. He had written down the phone number for the rabies hotline from a poster at his school, and he called Mission Rabies.

The Mission Rabies team went straight to the house and could see that Saroo had been infected by rabies. They collected Saroo and took him with them, sadly he could not be saved as the infection has already passed the point where it could be stopped, but the expert veterinary team were able to make sure he was looked after and humanely put to sleep.

Palin's father had been scratched through his clothes, and Palin had correctly told him to wash the wound thoroughly for fifteen minutes. The Mission Rabies team advised him to get the anti-rabies vaccination straight away, before he showed any symptoms.

Palin's quick thinking not only saved his father's life, it stopped his whole community from being put at risk. Saroo was a free roaming dog and could easily have bitten other dogs or people, spreading this cruel disease further.

Around the world someone dies from rabies every nine minutes

Mission Rabies works tirelessly around the world to protect people and dogs from the threat of rabies. Because rabies is usually spread from dog to human it is easier, cheaper and more effective to vaccinate dogs against rabies. This approach is already working in Malawi, India, Uganda and many other countries. Now is the time to go further and end rabies for good.

Vaccination is only one part of the solution.

Education about rabies empowers children, their teachers and their families with the knowledge to protect themselves from bites, preventing rabies and saving lives.

If Palin had not learned about rabies during a class from Mission Rabies at his school, he would not have been able to protect his father and community.

Forty percent of reported rabies cases worldwide are children under the age of fifteen. Which is why it is so important we reach children in schools. Our classes show children how to behave around dogs, how to spot a rabid dog and what to do if anyone is bitten. It also explains to them how vaccination programs work so they know to get their dogs vaccinated. Saroo was roaming the day the Mission Rabies team came to vaccinate, showing how important it is to educate owners to vaccinate their dogs.

Palin will never know how many lives he has saved with his quick thinking. But an eight-year-old child should not have to bear that responsibility.

We know how to stop rabies. You can make sure Palin and his friends are the final generation to live in fear of rabies.

NB: Some details have been changed to protect the communities we serve.

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