October 31, 2007
A lovable local breed of 8 years. I got to meet her after SB informed me of her bad ear infection that has been going on for months already. Poor girl, she must be feeling real uncomfortable with all the build-up of wax that later became infected with bacteria, leading to yellow oozy pus flowing out of her ears at times. Her infection is prolonged and has gone down into her middle section of ear (otitis media). Such infections can get progressively worse if left untreated.
When I first met Do Do, I was just expecting to see her ear infection. But the minute I stepped into her home, I was more surprised not by her ear infection, but by how overweight she is! The photo above is flattering to Do Do but it doesn't show her true size. She is a very pudgy little lady, shorter than most local breeds, somewhat like Little Anne's size. But her weight is way different. I reckon Little Anne weights about 10 kg or so. Do Do here weighs a whooping 17kg!
Not a good size especially for a dog of 8 years to be bearing all that weight, so we have informed her owner to watch her diet carefully. Do Do's owner is doing all she can within her limited means to take care of Do Do. She has a good heart, adopting Do Do when she was given up at 1 year old. Food wise, she depends on donations from her friends, whatever they provide for Do Do which is usually packets of human food. And Do Do's heavy weight is due largely to a diet loaded with carbo - rice, bread, potato, papayas... We've strongly advised Do Do's owner to cut down on carbo, especially rice and bread in the mornings. She can lose a good 5 kg!
But I am glad to see how happy and close Do Do is with her owner. She is very attached, following her down to work downstairs everyday and going out with her every evening on her rounds. They are quite inseparable.
Not a good pix as she doesn't allow us to hold her ear like this for long.
She didn't allow us to get close to her ears, much less to wash them so we had to bring her to the vet to get a thorough cleaning done before the infection worsens. So off we went to bring Do Do to see Dr B last evening. It was quite a long ride with heavy traffic but Do Do was very well behaved. When we reached, she could probably sense she was about to encounter a vet cos she became restless, pacing here and there in the waiting area.
Her anxiety was more pronounced once we stepped into the room. We put her on the table, preparing to thoroughly wash out her ears, but she surely wasn't looking forward to this! She was struggling and whining especially when the solution was flushed into her ears to clean and disinfect. Her ears must have been very sore from the prolonged infection. It was painful for her but we had to do it. She was struggling, and causing quite a commotion that I totally forgot to take photos. It was only on our way back that I remembered.
On our way back
Do Do also has a yeast infection on her paw, made sore by her constant licking.
Well, at least now Do Do will be feeling much more comfortable after the first thorough ear cleaning at the clinic. She will need daily cleaning for the next 2 weeks, and maintenance weekly wash after that. We'll continue to monitor her for this period.
Do Do's treatment and medication will cost about $100. We appreciate your support. Donations can be made by bank transfer to DBS Savings Plus 050-5-017652. For cheque donations, pls email firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
We also welcome donation of good dog food for Do Do so that she will cut down on carbo-loaded human food given by people and reduce her weight for her own good. Pls email us too if you are able to provide.
October 26, 2007
Twenty-nine percent of all monkeys, apes and gorilla species are now in danger of going extinct, according to the report by the Swiss-based World Conservation Union (IUCN).
It highlighted 25 species it said were most endangered, including the Greater bamboo and white-collared lemurs in Madagascar, and the exotically-named Miss Waldron's red colobus monkey in West Africa.
"You could fit all the surviving members of these 25 species in a single football stadium; that's how few of them remain on Earth today," warned Russell Mittermeier, chairman of the IUCN's Primate Specialist Group.
The report, compiled by 60 experts from 21 countries, warned that failure to respond to these threats could lead to the first primate extinctions in over a century.
"Hunters kill primates for food and to sell the meat; traders capture them for live sale; and loggers, farmers, and land developers destroy their habitat," it said.
The Miss Waldron's species in Ivory Coast and Ghana is already feared extinct, while the golden-headed langur of Vietnam and China's Hainan gibbon are thought to number just a few dozen, it added.
The IUCN said deforestation was the main factor behind the declining number of primates.
It also produces 20 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change -- more than all the world's cars, trucks, trains and aeroplanes combined.
"By protecting the world's tropical forests, we save primates and other endangered species while preventing more carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere to warm the climate," Mittermeier said.
The research, presented at the International Primatological Society (IPS) on the Chinese tropical island of Hainan, was compiled by a team of 60 IUCN experts.
Meanwhile, a meeting on primate habitats, chaired by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) in Paris, concluded on Friday with an initiative to help the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, one of the last redoubts of the gorilla.
UNEP said it would provide 300,000 dollars (210,000 euros) to the three-million-dollar programme, aimed at helping sustainable livelihoods among people living around the park, the agency said in a press release.
The gorillas face loss of habitat from deforestation, as trees are chopped down from fuel, as well as from poaching.
A newspaper report presented objectively, but in and of itself, it presents very, very poignantly, how the world's primates are destined to be extinguished, one-by-one, species-by-species. And it surely raises a plethora of concerns, that questions how we go about our lives as consumers, as tourists, as inevitable contributors to pollution, to the death of the primates.
Our actions, sure, do not trigger butterfly effect-like phenomenons, but each bit of them build to a movement that is necessarily wasteful of nature, habitats and animals. Yes, there may be a growing animal movement across the world, but is it enough? Is the sheer number of grassroots efforts, NGOs' investment sufficient to compensate for animalkind wasting away? Or can we do more, can we spread an animal welfare consciousness far and wide enough that each and everyone of us -- corporations, communities, consumers -- practise an awareness that bears no ill effect on ANY animal?
I do not have definite answers to these questions, but I do know that there is no such thing as pointlessness is our ongoing efforts to educate and rescue. Keep going.
Whichever way you look at it, for me, it comes back to the same starting point. Always.
For there to be true sustaining change - we need to show compassion for human kind. First. And then, the fullness in human kind will overflow as compassion for the animals.
Start with each human being you encounter. Be kind. Compassionate. Seek to understand.
Only when mankind is not suffering, will he stop the suffering upon others.
We enter the earth as lords of the earth bearing strange powers of terror and mercy alike.
But human beings should love animals .. as the knowing love the innocent, and the strong love the vulnerable.
When we wince at the suffering of animals, that feeling speaks well of us even when we ignore it, and those who dismiss love for our fellow creatures as mere sentimentality, overlook a good and important part of our humanity.
But it takes nothing away from a human to be kind to an animal.
And it is actually within us. To grant them a long life ... and a happy one."
On the heath, King Lear asked Gloucester: :"How do you see the world?" And Gloucester, who is blind, answered, "I see it feelingly".
I see it feelingly.
After all, the victims of whatever it is that goes on in all these awful places - are not members of our own group.
It all comes down to pain and suffering.
Not intelligence. Not strength. Not social class or civil right.
Pain and suffering in itself should be prevented and minimised. Regardless of race, sex or species of the being that suffers.
We are all creatures. Non-human animals experience sensations just like we do. They too are strong, intelligent, industrious, mobile ... capable of growth and adaptation.
Like us, first and foremost, they are earthlings. And like us, they are surviving. Like us, they also seek their own comfort rather than discomfort. Like us, they express degrees of emotion.
In short, like us, THEY ARE ALIVE."
Sameness wears a different face.
In a world older and more complete than ours, they move finished and complete.
Gifted with the extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained.
Living by voices we shall never hear."
This video is painful to watch. Don't doubt that.
But it is powerful in its pain, poignancy and truth. Jolting in its plain blank reminder that whatever pain we feel as we are watching the scenes, that pain is but a shadow of the intensity we, as the human species, are inflicting on 'them'.
By feeling their pain, the sickening shudder in your heart, I guess it tells you so clearly that there is no 'them'.
WE are all in this together. And we all know it.
I normally would choose not to watch such videos. But today I chose otherwise.
Many scenes are heartrending. My heart turned cold at many screens.
But rather than let this painful reality shock us and merely make us cry, let it shock us into STANDING UP and LOOKING AT OUR WORLD -- TODAY -- in a different light.
Do NOT waste one more day in childish ignorance. One more day of keeping silent when you witness a wrong act on the streets. One more chance of re-aligning the thoughts of the ignorant who are making wrong choices cos they know no better. One more day of letting the media teach your children the wrong things when you should be the guiding light.
Be shocked by what you see. Be saddened. Be revolted. Those are normal reactions showing that you are still connected to our sentient beings sharing our earth.
Then, BE MOVED to make a change. In every little encounter in your day, YOU CAN MAKE A CHOICE. Show others a better way.
A KINDER choice.
And through that choice, you are changing lives for the better little by little. And it all comes full circle. Your heart will be at peace. Little by little.
But the question of sameness wears another face.
Granted these animals do not have all the desires that we humans have.
Granted that they do not comprehend everything we humans comprehend.
Nevertheless, we and they do have some of the same desires.
And do comprehend some of the same things.
Desires for food, water, shelter and companionship.
Freedom of movement.
And avoidance of pain.
These desires are shared by non-humans and human beings. Beneath the many differences, there is sameness.
Like us, they are not only in the world. They are aware of it."
This is a very poignant film that I have not decided to finish watching yet. For things I know I shall see which reside in my consciousness even without watching them. Thanks S for sharing this.
October 24, 2007
2 vans this time with 6 Malay dog catchers. The vans drove up into the farm and the dog catchers stepped out, ready with long cables to loop any unsuspecting dog.
Fortunately, one of the farm workers is there and he immediately called V and demanded the dogcatchers to stop and talk to V first. They kept silent and then decided to leave.
Mama Girl's pack are safe for one more day. Unfortunately, I am quite certain some others around the other farms are not.
* We have prepared the necessary paperwork for extra licences for Mama Girl's pack. Will make our appointment to seek approval.
October 23, 2007
October 22, 2007
Do contact us at email@example.com if you recognise this dog. Meanwhile we will arrange for him to have a medical check-up at the vet and also to scan for a microchip.
The rescuer can only keep this boy for a couple more days, after which they may have to bring him to SPCA. Malteses are easy. They are generally good tempered and easily trained. Do come forward if you can adopt this boy.
Being a vet is a longtime childhood dream that has been shelved for lack of direction, parental guidance and a submission to the belief that the sheer costs of financing a bachelor of veterinary science degree is out of my league. And thus, I left my dream on the shelf.
Till a few years back when the dust was slowly shaking off and that very same dream emerged. Stronger this time. And more persistent in my consciousness every day.
Looking back, I see many incidences, happenings, people and animals who come along my path - all of them there to remind me of this dream. People whom I have not even met, but who are so gracious and big-hearted to write me testimonials from what our project has accomplished for the animals, speaking up on behalf of me, one part of this project which they have come to support and trust.
My disadvantage is my lack of the required science background. I had taken the arts route, something I am good at but which doesn't add credit to my application. However, I went ahead to send in my applications with testimonials from people who believed in me and a portfolio of the animals we have treated/rescued over the past years.
Unfortunately, my application was just rejected by Melbourne Uni and Sydney Uni. On the Australian side, I am still awaiting replies from Murdoch Uni and Queensland Uni.
On the bright side, there is an open door! I have been accepted by Massey Uni, New Zealand for the pre-Vet semester starting February 2008.
This is a selection semester where I am given the chance to take papers in Biology, Chemistry and Physics for Life Sciences. If I do well enough and stand among the top 12 students after the semester, I qualify to continue into Vet Science proper for another 4 1/2 years. The Bachelor of Veterinary Science degree is a 5 years degree. If I am not among the top 12, I can use my grades to apply for a transfer to another Uni in Australia.
There - I have an open door to fulfil this dream. A dream that is bigger than myself.
It is quite daunting when I think about it sometimes. The 2 most pertinent questions people ask me: It's 5 years? How are you going to finance it?
But I know, if I want to contribute in a greater extent to the animal world, where I stand now is just insufficient. I am ill-equipped now for many things I would like to do. We are dependent on people more qualified. Hindered by lack of skills though full of heart.
I only ask for myself to be given the opportunity to EQUIP myself with the necessary knowledge and skills that will prepare me for all situations we encounter in future.
I just attended a 2-day conference by the Singapore Veterinary Association. Some of the talks fired within me the resolution to carry my dream to fruition, both for the truths and curious 'facts' I hear. Among it, a particular truism stuck with me: THE BODY HEALS ITSELF.
Doctors, vets ... some have veered off this truth and their actions for many cases have been to 'whack an already sick body' with strong and than stronger medicines when the first batch is not efficacious anymore, mostly masking the symptoms rather than healing the root cause of the disease. This is not healing. It is just targeting the symptoms. The root cause of the disease is still not addressed.
The body heals itself. What we do, as vets, is to provide the RIGHT ENVIRONMENT for the body to heal itself. And medications, when needed, should be prescribed from minute doses upwards, with emphasis placed on nutrition and holistic supplements to fortify the ailing body and help boost it and bring it closer to a level of balance. Homeostasis. We HELP the body heal itself.
I believe in this truism. And I will hold it close to my heart with each animal we encounter.
While waiting for Murdoch and Queensland Uni's replies, I am now seeking Sponsorships/Grants to fulfil my dream. A dream that is too big for me to fulfil on my own.
I would require a sum of about S$50,000 a year for 5 years for tuition fees and relocation expenses. This is a total of S$250,000.
I have faith. I believe God puts dreams in our hearts. And because it is Him who puts this dream in my heart, He will equip me, and provide for me, more than abundantly for my Vet degree. That all shall see it can only be through Him. Not me.
* When all goes well, I will take my first step when term starts in February 2008. Keep me in your prayers now as we watch how this matter unfolds.
October 19, 2007
And sure enough, the heavy rain dwindled down to drizzles and when we reached Goldie's home, it had stopped.
Goldie was hiding in some corner that she has discovered and did not come out for the 15secs or so as we stood calling her. Then from out of nowhere, round the corner of the house, she came dashing to us. Hmm...she must have found a nook to hide which is good, cos that will be her safe spot during thunderstorms which she is quite terrified of.
She is adorable - to display her joy in seeing you, she will dash towards you in speed but as she nears you, she will lower her body gradually and gradually till she brakes just before touching you, and by that time, her belly is already quite low down on the ground.
Another car ride to the vet
Getting her microchip
Got her chip. Got her vaccination. Goldie is all well and fine. And as I was wondering how she is settling down with her new family, she answered my thoughts in her very own way -- as I prepared to leave, this time, she chose to settle down in front of the house main door, one of her usual resting place, comfortably and confidently. Watching me quietly and without any display of anxiety as I walk down the driveway to the gate, got out and into the car. All the while, she sat there, making no attempts to come after me.
As we started to drive off, Goldie decided to get up and trot along the garden's fencing to say "see you!".
This is a good sign. A sign that Goldie is comfortable with her new grounds now. She has no great anxiety to follow us anymore.
The human ego would have liked it that the dog cannot let go of us. It gives a perverted sense of self-worth, of being so wanted by another animal that you are the only person who can give the animal assurance. Some human relationships are like this. Warped.
But true concern for the animal will always rejoice at the moment when the animal is confident and happy in his/her new stage of life. When meetings are treasured and remembered fondly, but never held in sickeningly sweet clutches that harms the animal and traps him/her in fearful insecurity.
Love sets free.
After seeing Goldie again today, I am happy. Happy for her.
* Have made full payment for Goldie too. I'll mail or email softcopy of the receipt to all of you kind hearts who have donated towards her. Once again, THANK YOU for making her path to recovery that much easier with your support. Goldie is one special girl. So much more special now because of all of you. Thank you.
October 17, 2007
This is the carcass of a 4-year-old ~4.66kg Jack Russell terrier dog in thin body condition and mild autolysis. There is focally extensive loss of skin around the entire right hind feet. There are multifocal to coalescing random reddish to white iregular areas within the parenchyma of the spleen, both kidneys and heart. There is evidence of several thromboses (blood clots) within the distal andominal aorta and both external iliac arteries. There is no gross evidence of spinal cord injury.
Gross & Final Diagnosis:
Vascular thromboses with tissue infarcts (clots in tissues), multiple organs.
The etiology of the thromboses is not readily apparent, a focal source of ongoing sustained infection coupled with a hypercoaguable state (conditions that lead to abnormal development of blood clots) is suspected.
* In my language: Jamie has many blood clots in his body. These blood clots block his circulation, killing off his tissues and organs. There is no tumour. No obvious spinal cord injury. No parasites found in his poo.
October 16, 2007
Let's not just think of what Mama Girl's new family can offer her. But also, what Mama Girl can offer them.
There could be a deeper purpose why, by a blessed chain of events, Mama Girl is now with this family. She could be their answered prayer. Fulfilling a need maybe they themselves do not know of yet.
At this time of her life, Mama Girl could be exactly where she is supposed to be now.
Just like each of us I guess. Think not always what we can get from people around us. But rather, what we can give to them.
Today, you could be someone's answered prayer.
October 15, 2007
We visited Mama Girl (still not used to calling her Goldie yet) on Sat and she had a good bath. She couldn't have it earlier cos of the stitches. That must be the second bath she had in her entire life. Amazingly, she is very clean by nature. No odour at all, as her new family realised and was pleasantly surprised with. I guess when you are at peace within, when you are joyful with life, when you are so intimate with nature you live as one with it, you can't help but exude a vibrant life plainly seen by others. Many home pets in contrast, are either facing health problems quite uncommon in nature, or have warped personalities from mishandling and under-socialisation by their human pack.
Girl, fresh from a good bath, lost in bliss....
For those unfamiliar with Girl's pack, here is Big Ben, the big boy of the family. Tall and sturdy he is but he has this goofy look about him that cracks me up each time we meet. And he seems somewhat clumsy at times. :) Anne on the other hand is so petite you won't guess she is Big Ben's sister. She is the 'gangster' of the pack, almost always leading a confrontation if any.
We had wanted to rehome Girl with one of her pack member, that was the best plan. However, for now Girl's new family is only prepared for her, for which we are already very grateful.
There are thoughts of bringing maybe Ben to visit her one of these days and see what happens, if the family may take to the idea of adopting Ben as well. But what if not? Will bringing Ben over just open floodgates of memories for Mama Girl all over again, when she is probably slowly getting used to her human pack? Which is kinder - helping Girl let go of her family pack by not reminding her anymore of her farm life? Or giving her that short moment of joy of reunion with her son and possibly taking it away from her again? What do you think?
This is why rehoming is not my favourite activity. I ponder too much.
But we all know why we have to do this sometimes.
Mama Girl's goofy son, Big Ben :)
He looks almost Oriental, doesn't he? :)
When Big Ben was just little
When Anne was little
Ben, Anne, Star (son, daughter, grandson)
Mom & son
October 12, 2007
to speak about Jane Goodall. A fresh reminder of a woman who has accomplished so much for the chimps with her big heart that embraces all of nature, all of us, all of them. Life is life, no matter what form it takes. And to embrace all life forms, we are embracing ourselves.
Now when I look at her, white with age at 73, she is not just pretty, she is beautiful. I guess you can't help but be beautiful when you are using your gift to make each day a better one.
Living fully is living beautifully.
I just might get to meet Jane Goodall very soon.
After a week at the clinic, Dog Dog gained 1 full kg. Not much by sight but it felt very different when you run your hands down his body. Now you don't get bumpy ridges that badly.
Found some time to visit him last Sat and was glad to see him as active and keen as before. He is looking well, with good appetite, eating just about anything offered. I believe his digestive system has improved after the course of treatment and he can now absorb and retain nutrients better. Thanks ML too forthe digestive enzymes. He can still put on some more weight, another kg is good. Advised and reminded family again on proper nutrition for Dog Dog before I left, trusting that they will uphold their responsibility to Dog Dog more sincerely now.
October 10, 2007
Girl was prancing around the garden, from front yard to back, disappearing behind the shrubs for a bit, as if showing me her new grounds. In rehoming dogs, it is not so much the place/house that matters but always the PEOPLE whom the dogs will be living with. This family assures me with their kind and gentle ways. I think Girl will soon embrace them as her new pack.
Goldie at front porch
The family is calling her Goldie now. And she is looking in good spirits! No one could tell that she just had a major operation 2 weeks ago, cos she is jumping up to greet you now and running pretty fast around the compound. But she still has to take it easy cos after a short run, you'll see her sitting down for a rest. And we also do not want her too active just yet.
Of cos, I won't say that she is all settled down already. That won't be true. Even us humans, when we relocate or even just go on a vacation, we need time to readjust, get used to the new people, new smells, new sights, new sounds, new food, maybe even the water tastes different.
Mama Girl is still peering beyond the gardens, checking out the scene as if wondering and thinking of her farm home and pack or just checking out her new neighbours. Girl is by nature so human-friendly that she will humbly submit to any human being. She will come when called. She will stay as you pat her. She will lie down when we needed to trim her fur off the bandage plaster just now.
I am glad to share that this is a very kindly and understanding family. Although they may not be able to adopt another one from Girl's pack, I am certain Girl has found a safe and good home with them.
She will curb her own wish just to fulfil yours. I am very touched by such a big heart of hers. She has taught me much.
October 9, 2007
On our way to remove her stitches
On the ride together with us are Flippy and Tressy. Flippy's wound has healed very well, shrinking and drying out very nicely. She's a pretty serious-looking young kid, just getting used and maybe even starting to enjoy human touch. Tressy right from day one doesn't want anything to do with us humans. Will share on their story in a later post.
Mama Girl is just so sweet and obliging to us humans. She willingly does what we requests without much of a grumble. We needed her to lie down to remove her stitches easily and with just a bit of coaxing, she calmly laid down and patiently stayed till the procedures were done.
Healing very well
So what has happened to Girl now?
Well, she is not back at the farm. She is now with a friend of V who years back adopted one of her strays as well. We brought Mama Girl over to their home to see how it goes. And upon meeting Girl and after some sharing from us, this family decided to adopt her over another dog they had earlier selected. A home with a big garden for her to run in. It looks well.
Thank you very much for all your concern for Girl's well-being. We all want the best for her.
I'm giving Girl and the family some time to settle down before we update further. Will visit her tomorrow.
October 8, 2007
However, in reality, Catch-Neuter-Release can be boldly undertaken if there is agreement from the authorities that dogs under the CNR programme will be set apart, that they will be safe. The situation now is they are not.
But this is not the only area of concern.
Project JK evolved to largely help one elderly stray feeder ease her burden of feeding these strays day after day after day. An elderly lady who has given up on her own personal life, creature comforts, a peaceful retirement ... just to tend to the many strays along her route. Everyday without fail.
As we got to know her more way back when we started, our main intention is to HELP HER by helping her animals, at least I find myself sometimes making some decisions largely for her, not exactly for the animals. The plan then was to relocate all the strays under her care, thereby alleviating her 'burden' of love, giving her back the days she has given to the animals.
However, the plan was a bit too naive and we stopped after relocating 18 dogs.
We need to ask ourselves at some points: WHAT ARE WE DOING HERE? WHO ARE WE HELPING? WHAT IS OUR ROLE IN THIS WHOLE SCHEME OF ANIMAL WELFARE?
There are lots of questions. Questions like: do we bring new big litters of pups to SPCA to be put down humanely? Or do we choose a no-kill principle and leave the pups there as they are? Or maybe just wait for someone else to take them to SPCA instead? And who is to watch what happens to them? Who is to take on the responsibility to get more food to feed them? Who is to watch them run over by large vehicles when they are old enough to emerge from the bushes but not old enough to be street smart? What about those who are taken by other people, one by one, and to where we won't know? Out of sight, out of mind?
We are beyond debating on the rights and wrongs of feeding the strays now. Feeding must be accompanied by sterilising. But being on the streets, we have seen that it is impossible to achieve good results without an organised effort, namely, without support from an entity like the authorities for manpower and resources. We will not be able to catch and sterilise as fast as the pups are being born. Not when litters can be as big as 9 pups from 1 mother.
1 elderly lady cannot work wonders. Neither can 2 or 3 who choose to help along the way. Many things can be started out with good intentions but at the end of the road, you will start to see the dilemmas.
My question now is: Who are we helping here?
October 6, 2007
We have till Tuesday to decide what happens to Mama Girl next.
Posting on behalf of the pups' rescuer.
Do contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you are able to help in any way.
October 5, 2007
Some of us feel that Mama Girl should be taken back to her pack for that is what she must be wanting. She was born free. To sleep on the cool dirt beneath the big big sky. Some of us feel that we are simply sending her back to potential dangers, then why bother to even treat and heal her in the first place.
I feel that no matter how close our dogs are to us, we will never be as close to them as they are to their own kind. Or maybe I am wrong about this. Maybe to them, they look at us also as their pack, regardless of how different we are. And they may have the capability and willingness to bond closer to us than their own kind. That's what WP shared when I caught up with her just now and it was a different insight for me.
I had this comical illustration in my mind while I was travelling on the road. As I passed by rows and rows of concrete buildings, man-made structures, people and more people on the streets...I just suddenly thought : how would I feel if the main inhabitants of this earth are not humans, but rather dogs and cats??
Just imagine, we are now on the other side. We are the other kind. The minority sharing earth with the Dogs & Cats on earth. Treading carefully on the limited space we are given. Everywhere we go, we see the Other Kind. They look so strange and different. They talk a strange language. They tower over us. They have strange, huge constructions where we are not allowed into if we are strays. If you are 'fortunate' to be some Dog's pet, they put a contraption around your neck, feed you at certain times with probably the same type of food day after day after day, and everytime you want to go out for some fresh air and fun activities, they pull you along on a leash.
The times when you see your own kind, you are so delighted and just want to dash forward to see Hi and speak with someone who talks your language. It is like seeing a familiar friend in a foreign country. A great relief! You are so happy to be with your kind. Your pack.
Well, I know the decision is very clear. If we look upon ourselves as Owners of Mama Girl, we will rehome her. Take her off the streets, never to see her pack again. Place her with a very good family who loves her dearly. Protect her from dangers lurking, protect her from being caught. Keep her safe in our version of a home.
What if our role is just that of Guardians? Where Mama Girl does not 'belong' to us, for us to decide where she will stay, how she will live, whether she lives long or dies prematurely? Where we come forward when she needs our help critically but other times, we set her free to live her life in the wild. Fending for herself if need be. Facing and learning to overcome dangers, to avoid 'bad people'.
I am undecided as you all can sense from all this sharing. But even though a firm decision is not made, we are still moving along with alternative, stand-by plans for Mama Girl. There are a few potential families for her, we'll see what surfaces in the next few days.
Mama Girl will have her stitches removed next Tuesday. That will also be her last day with L.
This was a speech made by Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Anna Quindlen at the graduation ceremony of an American university where she was awarded an Honorary PhD.
"I'm a novelist. My work is human nature. Real life is all I know. Don't ever confuse the two, your life and your work. You will walk out of here this afternoon with only one thing that no one else has. There will be hundreds of people out there with your same degree: there will be thousands of people doing what you want to do for a living. But you will be the only person alive who has sole custody of your life. Your particular life. Your entire life. Not just your life at a desk, or your life on a bus, or in a car, or at the computer. Not just the life of your mind, but the life of your heart. Not just your bank accounts but also your soul.
People don't talk about the soul very much anymore. It's so much easier to write a resume than to craft a spirit. But a resume is cold comfort on a winter's night, or when you're sad, or broke, or lonely, or when you've received your test results and they're not so good.
Here is my resume: I am a good mother to three children. I have tried never to let my work stand in the way of being a good parent. I no longer consider myself the centre of the universe. I show up. I listen. I try to laugh. I am a good friend to my husband. I have tried to make marriage vows mean what they say. I am a good friend to my friends and they to me. Without them, there would be nothing to say to you today, because I would be a cardboard cut out. But I call them on the phone, and I meet them for lunch. I would be rotten, at best mediocre at my job if those other things were not true.
You cannot be really first rate at your work if your work is all you are. So here's what I wanted to tell you today: Get a life. A real life, not a manic pursuit of the next promotion, the bigger pay cheque, the larger house. Do you think you'd care so very much about those things if you blew an aneurysm one afternoon, or found a lump in your breast?
Get a life in which you notice the smell of salt water pushing itself on a breeze at the seaside, a life in which you stop and watch how a red-tailed hawk circles over the water, or the way a baby scowls with concentration when she tries to pick up a sweet with her thumb and first finger.
Get a life in which you are not alone. Find people you love, and who love you. And remember that love is not leisure, it is work. Pick up the phone. Send an email. Write a letter. Get a life in which you are generous. And realize that life is the best thing ever, and that you have no business taking it for granted. Care so deeply about its goodness that you want to spread it around. Take money you would have spent on beer and give it to charity. Work in a soup kitchen. Be a big brother or sister. All of you want to do well. But if you do not do good too, then doing well will never be enough.
It is so easy to waste our lives, our days, our hours, and our minutes. It is so easy to take for granted the color of our kids' eyes, the way the melody in a symphony rises and falls and disappears and rises again. It is so easy to exist instead of to live.
I learned to live many years ago. I learned to love the journey, not the destination. I learned that it is not a dress rehearsal, and that today is the only guarantee you get. I learned to look at all the good in the world and try to give some of it back because I believed in it, completely and utterly. And I tried to do that, in part, by telling others what I had learned. By telling them this: Consider the lilies of the field. Look at the fuzz on a baby's ear. Read in the back yard with the sun on your face. Learn to be happy. And think of life as a terminal illness, because if you do, you will live it with joy and passion as it ought to be
October 4, 2007
To bring it further, do we do what we think OTHER PEOPLE think is good for the animals?
Find a quiet place - be just by yourself .... just yourself and the animal you are thinking to help -
... forget about people's comments and criticisms however well-intended, forget about professional advice, forget about even all the thoughts churning in your mind about what is right, what is wrong, forget about what other people may do which may harm the animal you are trying to save for you have no control of their intentions ....
.... and just be BOLD and see for yourself with the eyes of your heart, see the very animal you are wanting to help, NOT what we think is best for her, NOT what we think is safest, NOT what we think will prolong her life the longest, definitely NOT what will make US feel better...
...for this is not about us at all. Not about our selfish intentions and pretentiously noble heart.
...but solely about the animal. What Mama Girl wants. What she is thinking of right now that I know we are denying her. For her own good. Or so we think.
I know what Mama Girl wants. I already did. And so does L. Just sit close to her and look into her eyes and you will know too. The question is: Do we have the courage to give her what she wants? And not what we think is best for her.
The Wolf was born free. Born wild.
And so is Mama Girl.
But, are we bold to let go?
From L: Mama girl is doing fine and seems back to normal as far as I can tell... her appetite is good!! Definitely does not show a preference for rice but am mashing in the liver to coat the rice so she eats it all. Attached 2 pixs of her relaxing.
The newcomer is a very young pup from a litter near Mama Girl's farm found with a large open wound on her back. Suspected to be started out by birds pecking on her, which later developed into a deep and open wound, and when L brought her to the vet, it was already infested with so many maggots eating into her flesh.
L named her Flippy cos she's got one little ear tip that's flipped and won't stretch out like a regular ear tip. Poor gal, she must be in pain from the maggots eating into her.
Report from L - Day 1:
Spotted Flippy's wound as she was running round with her siblings. About a 5cm diameter patch of skin eaten away and raw flesh exposed. Maggot and pus filled and swelling with infection and foreign material from her living area in the undergrowth. Rushed to Dr T to have her wound cleaned and disinfected. Dust flea powder on Flippy as she's crawling with happy critters. She was really quiet and depressed with her head hanging down. Remember they were still afraid of everything as they had just recently emerged from the undergrowth being mobile enough to scamper around. I think she's about 2 to 2.5months. All quiet in the pet carrier where she sleeps for the night.
A big wound on such a small pup.
Maggot and pus-filled.
Quiet and apprehensive from the changes
With similar sentiments to Mama Girl, once you pick up a pup or dog from off the streets to treat their illness/wound/accident, it is tough to put them back on the streets again for various reasons. Will share more later.
October 3, 2007
Security and a full belly are not prized in the eyes of a free being. Life is so much more than that. Much more.
What do you think is best for Mama Girl now?
Discouraged after an unsuccessful day of hunting, a hungry Wolf came upon a well-fed Mastiff, the Wolf asked what the Dog had to do to earn his food.
"Very little,"replied the Dog, "Just protect my master's house and family and be obedient to his demands."
The Wolf pondered this quite carefully - for he had to risk his own life almost daily to earn his food, and then with little assurance of success.
The Wolf, who was tempted to adopt the Dog's mode of living, then happened to notice that the hair was rubbed bare from about the Dog's neck.
The Wolf asked what caused this affliction, the Dog replied that it was of no significance, "It's just the place where my collar and chain rub."
The Wolf abruptly stopped and exclaimed, "Your Chain! You mean you are not free to come and go as you please?"
"No," responded the Dog, "but what does that matter?"
"A great deal," replied the Wolf as he trotted away into the forest, "A great deal."
~ Aesop ~
* I believe our strays fully understand the wolf. But the very people looked upon to uphold animal welfare ... they don't quite yet ... and that is why they have declared that they do not have a Catch-Neuter-Release programme. And that is why their very first action, for the longest time now, is to catch and destroy.
From then -- last Thursday:
Mama Girl has received all your prayers, well wishes and encouragement and stands before us a testimony of faith and hope. From the night when Dr L thought she may not make it till now, I must say it is quite a miracle, isn't it?
Dr L has given her the OK to be discharged and yesterday morning, we went to pick her up to L's home for foster care till a permanent home surfaces for Mama Girl. L can only care for her till next Tuesday. That is also the day when Mama Girl's stitches will be removed. We really do not wish to leave her back at the farm where accidents and abuse may happen again. Help us look for a really good home for Girl.
On the car ride to L's home, Mama Girl was scanning the scene, not settling down much, think she is thinking of home, of her farm home with her kids and pack. However much we want her to reunite with her pack, the current AVA rulings are a great disadvantage and danger to strays like Mama Girl.
Regardless of whether she is sterilised, microchipped or licenced, the authorities ply the farm areas regularly. And to the dog catchers, I reckon they look at all dogs around the farms as just strays. And as they have done for Ah Boy and Xiao Bai, they will do the same to Mama Girl. They will catch her and bring her back to their pound if they see her 'straying' -- which in their terms mean anything from strolling along the streets to stepping out of a farm gate, which cannot be kept closed during the day for the simple reason that it is a working day.....
IF we bring Mama Girl back to her farm, and IF the AVA team patrols that area, and IF she happens to step beyond her gates to the lane outside her farm, Mama Girl will be caught. And we will then have to pay a fine to bail her out. Or else in a couple of days, Mama Girl will be destroyed by them.
How can we bring Mama Girl back to the farm with this present set of rules and regulations being practised??
Outside L's home, Mama Girl had a long, long pee .... for dogs who are very ill or recovering, any little signs like 'pee' or 'poo' are a great joy to see! :) Cos it shows that their bodies are healing and getting back to normal functions.
She checked out the garden, backyard and made a few attempts to enter the home to rest on the cool tiles. We think she has gotten too used to the clinic cool tiled floor! L prepared an area in the backyard for her to settle down and she was very obliging to these new changes.
Soon after, she eat a small meal and then ... yes she poo-ed! Finally after days of waiting, she finally had a smooth regular elimination of waste. A good sign indeed!
Although we know Mama Girl is well and good now, as I watch her and I see her photos and videos again and again, look at her face, her eyes ... I know that she is wanting to go home to her own pack. Of cos. And no matter how human-friendly she is, we will never be as close to her as she is to her pack. Never.
To see an animal, who is so used to freedom, walking on a leash, although happily and willingly, somehow it still stirs me up inside that we have taken away a little fraction of the FULL JOY OF FREEDOM that they are born with.
Freedom to roam the land. To roll in the dirt. To sleep under the huge gorgeous sky. Freedom of enjoying and enduring the varied weather. Freedom to love and mate and freedom even to fight if they need or choose to.
That complete, indescribable FREEDOM that many of us does not even understand, cos very few of us ever tasted it and even fewer have given another fellow being this gift of freedom wholeheartedly.
Which is why I think many of us love the great outdoors, love the rugged wilderness and the animals who live in it, love the thrill of diving the depths, trekking the high mountains, love our strays on the streets -- cos deep within, we are looking for a taste of this FREEDOM that is so clearly felt and seen among animals who live free.
Everything being done now to destroy nature, the environment, destroy animals without homes - all this merely takes away from himself the very gift of freedom that man so desire. And till man learns to respect the freedom each sentient being is born with, he himself will never have a taste of it.
If you want to live free, give others back to themselves. Loosen your grip on things, on people. Let go of the fear of getting hurt. No one can hurt you unless you permit them to. The Spirit of Freedom is yours, within you. Always has been.
And the more we awaken to the truth that we are free, the more we will be able to accord all living beings their freedom to live. In peace.
At this moment, Mama Girl is not free to live her life back at the farm for there are people out there who will destroy her free life. And for this reason, we cannot bring her back there.
October 2, 2007
SINGAPORE: A nature lover had a rude shock when he went on a trip to Pulau Ubin recently.
Ben Lee, founder of Nature Trekker a non—profit organisation dedicated to nature appreciation in Singapore took pictures of a trap that was more than 2 metres (7 feet) high and was set deep in the forest.
According to him, the cage was big enough to house 15 wild boars and could be used for illegal poaching.
He also saw a man walking out of the forest with a sharp sickle.
Mr Lee has reported the incident to the National Parks Board.
NParks said it is illegal to carry out poaching activities in Pulau Ubin, parks and nature reserves.
I was pleasantly surprised to hear that, especially when the reports were not that optimistic in the first few days, and even just last Thursday when Mama Girl vomited again, Dr L had thought she would not make it through that night.
Well, dear Mama Girl made it through that night and the night after and one more day and now, she is so soon to be discharged.
The only setback - we have no where to bring her to....
The farm is quite out of the question now, cos she still needs a relatively peaceful, stable environment to fully recuperate, and also away from any possibility of abuse from foreign workers around the farm.
L, JT and I were with Mama Girl noontime today. Again, she looked so lethargic and listless, just lying on her corner, not particularly interested in anything. And again, she had to be coaxed and carried to her fours and coaxed some more to step out of the clinic for a walk.
But once outside, she looks good as new! She was trotting pretty fast today.
I am somewhat puzzled by her behaviour - what's up with Mama Girl? If you say she is still feeling unwell, her actions out on a walk, ignoring her bandage, she looks well and good! But once she gets into the clinic, her whole being slows down again and she resumes her 'lazy dog' position in her corner.
L feels that she is not used to being confined in an artificial space, she's without her pack, andthe unfamiliar smells are frightening/stressful. I guess that's about right, and the way she copes with these foreign elements is to close up and retreat within herself. Maybe that is her way to pretend or make believe away these strange elements around her. Then once outside, with the familiar air, grass, concrete pathways, cars....she suddenly becomes alive. She is normal again cos her surroundings are normal again.
Watch how perky she is on her walk :
... and how she winds down again once she gets in the clinic.
I believe L is right.
"....having lived with pack dogs who free roam i can imagine what an impact it makes just merely keeping a dog enclosed and somewhat isolated from immediate contact with other dogs even if it is a caring environment......I do believe that because they are pack animals, that is where they will find their healing faster and in familiar surroundings unless it is deemed absolutely necessary to confine them for medical treatment. even more so- as in mama girl's case where she is a free-roaming dog and not a house pet."
We are still thinking through what is the next best step for Mama Girl. At this juncture, we are praying for her destined human family to step forward to offer Mama Girl her very own forever home. Pls email us at email@example.com if you are possibly her hope at this stage of her life.