Are you an animal-lover looking for an easy way to help suffering dogs and cats?

Kim Cooling, founder of Animal SOS Sri Lanka, is encouraging people to get involved with her work to save the lives of sick, starving and injured stray animals.

By volunteering for a few hours at the charity’s shops in Chingford and Woodford Green, people can be certain they have made a difference in the lives of animals thousands of miles away.

Founded in 2007 to offer a “lifeline” to some of the three million stray animals in Sri Lanka, every day the charity provides urgent care for animals on death’s doorstep and nurses them back to good health.

“I went there first as a tourist and saw the suffering of the animals and wanted to do something,” said Ms Cooling of South Woodford.

“Through our project we give them some hope.”

On the island, it’s a common sight to see paralysed animals dragging themselves around and boxes full of dumped pups left on main roads.

Ms Cooling has established a free-running sanctuary in the southern part of Sri Lanka where 80 cats and 1,400 dogs are fed and looked after every day, as well as an additional 1,000 in the area.

Many of the sanctuary animals are disabled, elderly or orphaned pups.

The charity also provides weekly outreach programs to offer free sterilizations, rabies vaccinations and treatments for pets belonging to poor villagers that are unable to afford vet care.

Ms Cooling said many of the animals rescued are in an appalling state and it can be touch-and-go for the first couple of days.

“We take in desperate cases like animals who have been injured in road traffic accidents and have severed limbs.

“We care for them, neuter them, vaccinate them and do our best to re-home them.

“The animals on the streets are living and reproducing and dying with no one to help them. Many die in absolute agony.

“We have neutered thousands of animals and we are trying to persuade people to neuter their dogs. A lot of people are poor and they don’t have the means to do it but others think it is a sin.

“We said to them that it is not a sin to neuter an animal but it is a sin to dump boxes of puppies on the side of the road to die.

“What we do is a drop in the ocean in Sri Lanka but we are a lifeline to these animals.”

One such puppy who was brought into the sanctuary was Pari, whose leg bone was protruding following an accident.

The dog has since recovered and volunteers named her after the tourist who had picked her up on the roadside.

“She had her leg hanging off, had tick fever and had maggots. It was very nasty,” remembers Ms Cooling.

“We amputated her leg and cared for her and now she’s happy.”

Animal SOS Sri Lanka has stores in Station Road, Chingford, and Snakes Lane, Woodford Green.

Anyone wishing to volunteer for a few hours at the shops should call Kate on 07962 393568.