January 31, 2009

I truly enjoy

our time out in the sun. In the fields. On the streets.

Just being with our dogs. Watching them run, play, sometimes fight. Watching them soak to coolness in the pool. Watching them relish the treats we bring. I like their smells. Their touch. Their kisses. Their hugs.

They seem to exist to help us know ourselves better.


Star

Big Ben

Jonah

Jordan

Tiger

Jamie

Tommy, outside enclosure

Tommy, for now, has to kennelled up cos of his frequent fights with the other resident dogs. But only for awhile longer cos a doghouse has been set up within the enclosure, big enough for 2 dogs (thanks SB!).



Soon a fence will be put up to segregate our enclosure into 2 compartments and Tommy can then be placed back with our pack - we just have to make sure he and Tiger are not within the same compartment at any one time - Tiger is still bitter with Tommy, for whatever reason he has!

January 24, 2009

Much as we wish

to see each and every dog in his/her very own safe and loving home, I have come to see, through our time on the streets with our strays (dogs and cats) that some are born with the streets so strong in their blood -- that to take them out, to place them in kennels, and even if eventually in a safe human-home, we would be taking away from them the very thing we're fighting for ... freedom.

Free. Freedom.

Been thinking of this word lately. FREE. And it's interesting how this one word holds many meanings, including the below.

Free: a very welcomed word - FOC. Free of charge. Free favours.
Free: having time on hand, as in "I am free".
F
ree: to set at liberty, to let loose from captivity, not confined/imprisoned, capable of voluntary activity, without restraint.

We want to offer to each animal, or rather to hold onto, the gift of freedom that each of us, human or animal, are born with.

Our free will. Free choice. Freedom from chains both physically and emotionally. Voluntary movement.

We want our animals to be free. To enjoy the land that they are born on. To have free choice in companionship. Most of all, in our current context, we want our animals to be free from the human intervention of animal control.

Culling. Arising partly or largely from the inability to give our animals the freedom of space. Because their freedom intrudes into our preferred lifestyle.

So, in order for us higher beings to be free, in our own choices of living, there are among us who make the authorised decision to take away the freedom of the lower beings. And they cannot fight back. They do not have the ability to.

In fact, this same pattern plays out in every social class of highs and lows. Fractions. Discriminations. Segregations. Actions of force and quick remedies seem to frame scenarios where one party has visibly greater powers over the other. Where retaliation is seldom if not impossible.

But as much as I want to protect all animals from the outcome of culling, as much as I want them to be free from this ongoing threat in the name of animal control, as much as we wish to rehome the many strays on our streets -- I have to stand still and see, and accept the truth that some of our strays are simply and totally born for the streets. They do not need our companionship. They have each other. And wide expanses of fields, jungles, sun, wind, rain. We should not feel slighted. But rather celebrate the fact that we are different.

Theirs is a freedom that understands not the touch of a leash upon their necks. A freedom that does not require clean bowls and freshly changed water each day. A freedom that smirks at nice-smelling doggy shampoo and being towelled dry. A freedom that turns its head on manmade crunchy treats and stringy rawhides. A freedom that squeals against car rides and riding lifts and trips to the vet. A freedom that dies if we put them behind the metal bars of a kennel. Freedom that will endure pain and blood to escape from captivity.

These are the animals who are born wild. Born free. Born not for us to keep.

And if we choose to take them off the streets and into the kennels or homes, to keep them SAFE, safe from a possible death by culling, we would be slowly killing them off as their full-blooded freedom slowly ebbs with the days.

So, as many caregivers have learnt and are learning - for some of the strays out there who choose their liberty anytime over human companionship, we respect them by not stealing the freedom they are born into. It could mean a shorter life on the streets, if they get caught, while we live with the practice of culling. But I believe - they are much happier living the way they choose.

Free.

Just my thoughts.

Davee: open wound

One of the few times I see the purity of a soul so discordant with the pain distorting the body in which it dwells.

And this is shown in Davee's condition. While most get ready for CNY festivities, I feel I need to post this. With some urgency and a hope that we can help poor Davee.


Side view: the gaping, crater-like wound on Davee's lower back can't be more obvious


A close-up of the wound



So friendly: Davee sniffed our hands and willingly took our treats with a welcoming wagging tail when we visited her at the shelter


Top view: a good part of Davee's coat is shaven off. Her crater-like wound is stark to the human eye

While I gather more information of Davee's situation and how her wound came about, just want to share, perhaps again, succintly what's affecting her:
  • Background: Davee is part of the five dogs residing in a home. Max and Zoe have been removed from the environment by a rescuer.
  • Tick fever plagues her and is suspected to be linked to the open wound. With low PVC, her wound is bleeding and this could lead to bacteria infection.
  • Still, Davee does not show any improvement from the tick fever treatment.
  • Vet's prognosis is not optimistic but treatment ensues.
  • Davee is a four-yr-old female who requires daily administration of medication, plus cleaning of wound 2x/day with simple bandaging.
  • Sits quietly to allow wound cleaning and gentle in spirit.

I'd like to ask if you could keep Davee in mind as most of us usher in the lunar new year. Davee resides in a shelter but we estimate that her treatment costs can reach hefty amounts. If you'd like to contribute to Davee's medical bills (any amount is appreciated!), please contact us at projectjkteam@yahoo.com.sg or joyeng1@gmail.com

For now, Davee needs help, so does this soulful dog's rescuer, in helping her tide over this. Thank you for sharing Davee's story with your pals.

Every age has a certain spirit or mood

or climate to it. Our is busyness. We're all running like lemmings from sunup to way past sundown. What's with all the energy drinks? There must be dozens now. RocketFuel. CrankYouUp. Not to mention the coffeehouses on every corner. Why do we need all this caffeine? And why do so many of us now need sleep aids to rest at night? Our grandparents didn't. We thought the age of technology would make life simpler, easier. It has us by the throat. We need to operate at the speed of computers. Seriously, I'm irritated that my e-mail takes four seconds to boot up now, when it used to take ten. I realize I'm not the first to put this down on paper. People have been making this observation for a long time. We are running around like ants do when you kick in their hill, like rats on a wheel, like Carroll's Mad Hatter.

And for some reason, we either believe we can't stop or we don't want to.


How true. Excerpt taken from J. Eldredge's "Walking with God" (2008)

January 22, 2009

Watching our dogs

at play yesterday, out in the mid-day sun - I'm reminded again of how real animals are. And how refreshing it is to meet a real person amidst much of the usual human 'niceness' out there.

Real. Fresh. Child-like.

We see the delight on Star's face as he was let out of the enclosure and the utter blissful expression as he immediately hopped into the pool and laid down flat on the first step, cool water over his body.

I'm overwhelmed by Ben's unabashed affection as he stand-hugs me with fullbodied closeness, unaware that his nails are giving me more than just his tenderness, and slurps wet doggy kisses whiningly all over my face. He must be my most ardent fan.

We smile at Jonah and Jamie's gladness that lights up their twin-boyish faces as they runs laps around the field, enjoying the sun and wind. Till they decided to pick fights with the neighbours. :)

We laugh (and sometimes sigh) at Jordan's mighty kangaroo hops that express his heightened joy at seeing again his human pals - he'll jump right in front of you and if you ignore him, he'll make sure he kangaroo hops you from the back, and yes, he is a tall fellow. He can floor you!

We brace ourselves as Tiger charges towards us, wiggling his 30+kg sumo-body that's so fleshly compact you can't help but give him big sounding pats on his tubby frame.

And Tommy ... our dear ol' Tommy ... who comes to us with a goofy grin on his face - and so happy to see his fav gal Junior -cos for now, he has to be kept in a separate kennel after his frequent quarrels with other resident dogs. Being the odd one out and constantly bullied by Tiger even as they were growing up together, his fights with other dogs seem to arise from the need to protect his turf which he claims over the field and pool area and shares with his good mate Junior. It is an unfortunate occurence as we have to be fair to all other resident dogs, cos Tommy was chasing and fighting many dogs out of his 'territory' and depriving many the use of the field and pool. So Tommy has to be kenneled for the safety of other dogs, especially the smaller ones who are not his match, and fairness to their rescuers.



Young Tommy - his days on the farm

Tommy now

But this will be for a short while only, as we're making plans to fence off a part of the enclosure just for Tommy. With his very own doghouse which will be moved in tomorrow. And steadily, with monitored interactions, we hope Tommy will realise that there is no need to fight anymore. That the field is to share. That he has his space in there. And no one will fight him out if he will only relax and live in harmony with the pack.

Watching our dogs and their canine dynamics among themselves and with us, the close friendship between dog and dog, and man and dog reminds me again so clearly - it takes courage to love. To open your heart and welcome a person or an animal into your world, not knowing where it will lead. How many of us have shunned close relationships cos of this fear to get close, the fear to know and be known.

Many fosterers/caregivers/guardians will share that in their care for an animal, many times the animal teaches them so much.

About unconditional love. Frank affection. No pretense nor excuses. No worries about later, tomorrow, next month, next year. The 'what if I get hurt'.

They live in the moment. Now. Just as they are.

They love without fear. What about you?

January 19, 2009

Speaking to those in power

On a note of thankfulness.

Last week, we drove to the centre in our attempt to catch the officer and explain what we've been doing all this while. And debunk any belief that our caregivers are doing nothing but feeding and feeding the dogs. Feeding them such that they're healthy enough to breed and add to the stray population.

It was to bring closure to Long Long's and Chocho's episode by bringing our points across to them. And thank goodness, they were receptive to us. They could've just shut their doors on us, like most government agencies. For them to cram in a good half hour just for us, it was graciousness beyond expectations.

And so we clarified the following:
  • Culling is no quick and effective method to solve the source of complaints, neither is it the way to control stray populations sustainably
  • Minusing Long Long and Chocho from the picture, the problem still persists
  • The area where Long Long and Chocho were from, it's a place of low population density. An industrial builtup made up of horticultures, agribusinesses and other independent farms; it's a sub-urban location with vast fields and secondary forests.
  • Dogs, monkeys, stray cats, monitor lizards and snakes are not uncommon to the area
  • An open perimeter surrounds the farm in question. Meaning, their fences are either fraught with unfixed holes or just distorted and in need of repair and replacement
  • Where bushes, trees and weeds have formed seamlessly with the farm's premises, dogs -- feral, semi-feral, industrial stray or newly abandoned/born -- can move in and out of the farm all the time (so what do you expect?)
  • Our ad-hoc group has been actively helping to control and manage the stray dogs in the area. In terms of figures: sterilising close to 10 of them, encouraging licensing in the area, constructing an enclosure to contain the dogs and removing litters of newborn pups from the area, lest they grow into adults and become too hard to handle

In any case, it was a weight off my heart and I am filled with all satisfaction that their team has been receptive enough to hear us out -- our perspectives, our work and recommendations. They opened their ears to us, so it's not all red tape in this respect.

To forge ahead, I learn again that a cool and composed discussion is necessary. Needless to go on a hunger strike, stage sit-outs or barge through the glass into the office. But handle those in power with tact. Speak confidently and calmly. Present your points well. There can't be a better way to communicate, from what I see.

So glad we talked.

'Dogs don't wear condoms,' says Baywatch star Anderson

19 Jan 2009, MUMBAI (AFP) - - US actress Pamela Anderson has appealed to the authorities in India's financial capital Mumbai not to put down nuisance stray dogs, instead calling for them to be sterilised.


An Indian labourer sits with a pair of dogs on a promenade on Mumbai's Marine Drive in 2007. US actress Pamela Anderson has appealed to the authorities in India's financial capital not to put down nuisance stray dogs, instead calling for them to be sterilised.

"It is well established that killing stray dogs is not a permanent solution to controlling their populations," the former "Baywatch" star said in a letter to the municipal commission of Greater Mumbai.

"Dogs cannot use condoms, but with the municipality's help, they can be 'fixed' -- painlessly, quickly and permanently," she added in the letter made public by activist group the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

There are thought to be some 70,000 stray dogs in India's financial and entertainment capital and there are widespread concerns about their role in spreading disease, including deadly rabies. Anderson's letter, which cited World Health Organisation and Animal Health Board of India support for mass sterilisation, comes after a legal ruling here to destroy nuisance dogs.

Expressing her concern at the court decision, the 41-year-old star called instead for civic authorities to promote a sterilisation programme for stray dogs as well as those adopted and bought from animal shelters and pet shops.

Anderson's stance was supported by the Mumbai-based charity Welfare of Stray Dogs, which has been carrying out mass sterilisation of stray dogs since 1989.

Its chief executive, Abodh Aras, told AFP: "It's not only Pamela Anderson but a lot of children have also been writing to the commission saying that one should have the policy of sterilisation rather than killing stray dogs.

"Killing has proved to be ineffective in terms of bringing down the stray dog population and human rabies death. It's not just from the dog point of view but also from the human point of view."

Mass killing of stray dogs was implemented by India's British colonial rulers in the 19th century. But by the early 1990s the policy was stopped as it was found to be ineffective in controlling the dog population and reducing human rabies deaths.

An attempt was made to revive the practice in 1998 but was rejected while the latest bid is currently subject to an Indian Supreme Court ruling due in the coming weeks.

India has so many dogs roaming its streets because of its high numbers of slum and street dwellers, who often keep the animals as pets, plus a large amount of garbage, which provides readily accessible food for scavenging mutts.

A joy to share

Even with the enclosure around, it is not a 100% guarantee that the dogs will go in at the farm and make it easier for us to catch for sterilisation. The jolly fellows that saunter in and out of the enclosure at the lure of boiled chicken meat are our already-sterilised males -- usually led by Buffalo, Nyo Nyo and gang. Of course at the quickest chance, we waste no time in getting our hands on the friendlier unsterilised ones, whisk them into the car and drive them for sterilisation.

But what is difficult is the wary few who elude our leashes, hands and carriers. We're no experts in dogs catching but if anything, we know the logic that smaller space means increased likelihood of catching our target dog.

A fortnight ago, the caregiver's "Patchy boy" (this newcomer male, white coat with big black patches) put our hearts in our throats when he escaped out of the enclosure with our leash still tight around his neck. Patchy was a tough one esp. since he struggled wildly and snapped at us when the leash was on him. No blaming, but that's the unsurprising nature of dogs under duress.

While we went on with stray matters on the streets, we were dogged by the nagging feeling the danger that could befall Patchy boy should the leash got stuck in the bush and caused strangulation.

Patchy returned to the farm in the evening -- leash gone -- during feeding time. Right on time, safe-looking. Man were we relieved, when the caregiver rang us to inform Patchy was alright.

And just over the weekend, before we decided to make plans to depart from the farm, this cream-coloured male pup (six months) in the family pack ambled into the enclosure for the pieces of chicken breast meat laid on the floor. Thanks to SL, who nimbly closed the doors before the boy could flee. So the caregiver and I put down whatever that were on our hands and gingerly but eagerly, we entered the enclosure with the carrier. Our boy (now newly named as Bobo) skirted out of our reach for a while.

While I stood from a distance as still the stranger to the pack, W, the caregiver, ducked towards Bobo and in a stance covering all spaces to escape, she steadily cornered the pup into one corner of the enclosure. Her hands stroking fully, perhaps for the first time, the blossoming body of the survivor pup out of all his siblings. I pushed the gate-opened carrier from behind -- another space 'blocked' to the now-terrified Bobo.

W cooed and coaxed "good boy har... good boy har...", very, very delicately yet firmly pushing Bobo's body into the carrier. A moment of resistance, a little shrug from Bobo, and then when his head finally entered the carrier, he surrendered to the caresses of W's cajoles and settled into the carrier. In one fluid motion, we closed the carrier's gate shut and there we had it: Bobo, the squirmy yet proficiently food-motivated male pup, in the carrier. The pup we had been yearning to bring for sterilisation.

A jubilant moment of achievement! How much this means to all of us who deeply believe sterilisation is what we need to control stray numbers, not culling. How all this unfolded in an almost effortless, non-time consuming and unexpected way.

One dog sterilised, one piece of joy. A joy to share with everyone.

Ok, time to pick Bobo up from the vet's!




Not too flattering pictures of Bobo, en route to the vet's.




End Nov 08. Bobo remaining out of reach -- peering at us from the dark respite spot under rows of racks

January 16, 2009

Fear and terror

Fear in their hearts. Fear in their minds. Fear shown in their eyes.

That was Chocho, when we saw her at the pound. Her eyes bloodshot and popped out. Veins of stark mahogany-red against her chocolate coat. The rays of the morning sun shone on her.

The wire noose tied around her neck. She froze whenever she felt a tug and could only straighten her limbs against the floor to resist being pulled anywhere else, with the fear of the unknown. Where are they going to take me this time?

The officer helped us swap the wire noose with our regular blue leash. Less stressful on the neck.
When he was walking her out of the premises into the carpark, she flung herself around wildly. Her medium-sized body writhed and wrung in mid air with her neck anchored to the pivot of the leash. She darted clumsily left and right, her eyes scanning for the nearest spot of escape or hiding. When the car door opened, our girl dove straight underneath the car seat.

Squished herself in as uncomfortable and compromising a position. Her head in the front and her bottom sticking out. Fear of the unknown. Disoriented. Flustered. Traumatized. Nothing but fear.

For Long Long... it was mere acts of surrender. Shutting the world out of his vision and touch by cowering in a corner behind a cage. He wasn't even shivering. Maybe back then, fear didn't matter anymore and if he was going to die, a mode of submission would have made his death less painful. Soullessness. Resignation. No need to put up a fight, thrown in the towel.

******************************************************************

These are the consequences of culling. Immaterial consequences -- what it does to a perfectly healthy living mammal. Utterly reductive. This is the fear, paranoia, madness, resignation all combined, for animals waiting on deathrow.

For strays taken out of their zones of comfort and familiarity and negated to a state bordering between life and death. These are the horrors of culling.

And it's just the tip of the iceberg.

January 15, 2009

Thank you for

your support towards Cho Cho and Long Long. Your belief that their life is worth saving.

For now, it's 2. We are sure more lives will be kept safe, as our animal welfare and control legislations and the hearts of our people, move higher in line with our claim of a gracious society - as we share and highlight on present state of matters with room for growth and improvements.

All the way down to the very starting block of breeding farms and the legislations backing the welfare of the many breeding female dogs and other animals, many of whom are kept forever behind locked doors, behind steel bars, cages stacked one upon the other, and when old age or sickness catch up with them, they are speedily destroyed or dumped onto the streets.

There is a huge, vastly gross chasm of difference between that jumpy ball of fur you see behind glass panels in that petshop, and the dark, danky, lifeless shed of whimpering mother-dogs back at the breeding farms. Ever wonder what happen to puppies who are born, but fall short in the looks department or the cuteness quotient or disabled or deformed ... due to all the inbreeding done? They can't possibly be kept alive cos it would cost the breeders too much time and effort. And theirs is one of business and profits. So it is a sad day when you are born, not fitting to the standard that people would open their wallets and pay for. If no one would buy you, why should you be kept alive? If you are born such a puppy - deformed, not cute enough, weak - your breeder (if he is one purely driven by profits) will simply destroy you and discard you away. Just another product who fails the QC (quality check).

So, be aware. Make good choices. Show people a more gracious alternative whenever there is one.

What does it mean to have grace? To be gracious? -- Having or showing kindness. Kindly consideration. Merciful. Compassionate. Generosity of spirit.

Let us live graciously. For the earth is not just our own.


Cho Cho

Long Long

A trip to the vet yesterday. Cho Cho is a shy girl who'll blossom with the right guardian, while Long Long is a free-spirited boy with the streets and forests in his blood.

Good permanent homes they each are awaiting for now. Keep them in mind if you know of good families who are keen to adopt now. Email us at projectjkteam@yahoo.com.sg. Thank you.

January 13, 2009

DAVEE needs a foster


From a fellow supporter active on the animal welfare front:

"We are urgently seeking for a foster for Davee, a 4 year old female local breed dog who needs daily administration of medication, plus cleaning of her wound twice a day with simple bandaging.

The big wound is likely caused by a dirty and inadequate environment she is currently living in. To help with her recovery, it will be impossible to send her back to the current place. However, if we could not find a foster within the next 2 days, she will have to be sent back to her current place and her treatment would be wasted and her wound may even worsen. :-(

Feedback from the vet assistant – "Davee is a good girl, she will sit quietly for you to clean her wound."

Davee has a cheerful and gentle spirit. She is inquisitive and good natured. She deserves a second chance to enjoy life to the fullest. However, before we could put her up for adoption, she needs our help to bring her back to good health.

If you could help Davee & give her the opportunity to live her life, please write to joyeng1@gmail.com. Thanks."
A: How to fight for a cause when there are no laws that govern it?

B: But there are laws.

A: Yes there are, but are they sufficient?

January 12, 2009

For a noteworthy purpose


Dear all -

I understand we're well into motion of 2009 and that all of you, if not most, I'm sure, have equipped yourselves with your own diaries and calendars of all sorts.

We're helping out Animal Lovers League, which is a non-profit animal welfare organisation, sell its leftover 2009 calendars. My pals and I have about 20 odd in our hands.

For its smooth-textured sheets, radiant animal images, 12 perforated message cards and more importantly for a very good cause in the upkeep of the organisation's shelter constantly in need of volunteers, I would like to appeal to you and those around you if you'd be so kind to purchase one.

Each calendar only costs $10 for a year's worth of enriching events and future memories to keep, so if you'd like to do your bit, we will gladly send them to you or your doorstep.

You may click here for a preview of the useful merchandise. Please email us projectjkteam@yahoo.com.sg if you'd like to have one for such a noteworthy purpose and a meaningful cause.

Thank you.

http://www.animalloversleague.com/events.htm

January 10, 2009

Keep on highlighting

issues faced in the current state of our world.

In animal welfare and control. Abuse. Neglect. In wildlife trade. Animal experimentation. Unmonitored petfarm breeding and practices in farming animals for food, in what is called 'factory farming'. In human rights and issues. In terrorism. Racism. Indigenous people. The destitutes, child labour, discriminated handicapped, rape victims. For the gross inequality in distribution of food. In nature conservation, pollution, consumerism. In any areas you have a heart for.

Highlight. Share. Do what needs to be done. Influence people.

And rest assure that the situation WILL change for the better.

January 9, 2009

The price tag on Long Long?

$446.00

He costs $16.50 more than Cho Cho cos he stayed 1 more day at the pound.

To C: We did try to appeal for a more lenient fine, but was rejected. In the end, we paid what was required - $446 - to get Long Long out of that place asap.

$93 - impoundment fee
$100 - for straying
$200 - for not having a licence
$16.50 - boarding each day
$20 - microchipping

When Long Long came out, his immediate way of shutting out the strange experiences is to turn away from us humans and lie down low on the ground, mentally escaping from the trauma the way he knows how.



So we waited for him to calm down, loosen up abit before walking him out to the car. Even then, it was a struggle as he attempted to bite through our leash to escape. A few minutes of stressful struggling later, he finally was firmly put into the car. Same immediate reaction as Cho Cho, he aimed straight for under the front seat, but we managed to block it so he could settle better on the back seat.

Restless and confused over the whole affair, he fidgeted and climbed onto the back panel. We let him be, anything to have him more at ease.

Soon, he settled to peer out the window and finally rested on the seat.


video

He's now safe and sound with Cho Cho at the kennels.

To many, Long Long is not a handsome dog. He has cuts and bite wounds from squabbles on the streets. There is a fresh cut on his muzzle which we're not sure of the cause. He has skin problems, ticks, fleas from his days on the streets. He does not score high in the looks department and would not be the first choice for an adopting family who has shallow tastes.

But a life is a life. And Long Long has a LIFE ahead of him which should not be ended in a pound.

With your moral support, today we bought back a life. Not as a trophy deed to talk about, not as a frivolous use of money, but to make clear a point that yes, a life is worth saving. When we know we can.

That many will see the value of saving 1 life - not merely to keep this 1 animal from death, but to gradually change the mindset of our people - so that many more will be allowed to live in dignity in future. That culling will cease to be the cheaper and convenient way to deal with situations where more humane options are already available.

And fewer unknown ones will be left behind the metal gates.

* We will board Cho Cho and Long Long for 1 month at the kennels while we sort out their future plans. Do email us at projectjkteam@yahoo.com.sg to support them in this 2nd chance in life, towards their bail-out fees and boarding expenses. THANK YOU so much for the kind donors who have come forth so far.

What happened to the 2nd dog,

someone asked?

Cho Cho is safe now at the kennels, after we bailed her out yesterday. What we did not share is this: We left the authorities yesterday without taking Cho Cho's brother, Long Long, out. He was also caught on Wed.

The honest reason that stopped us yesterday? The bail out fee of $429.50.

And so, we hardened our hearts and turned away from Long Long, and left the pound with only Cho Cho.

This is us being real with you.

The dilemma rescuers always face, the question of "Is it worth it at all to save 1 life?" The comments we would receive from some people who disagree with our choices.

It was painful to see them pulled out of the pound with wire cables so tight around their necks that their eyes were stunned wide. Long Long was petrified and tried to hide himself behind a metal cage trap. Refusing to budge nor look at us.

After settling Cho Cho in a kennel, and calmed down by an encouraged heart that anything is possible, we wake up to the meaning of the value of LIFE. And it is not measured in dollars and cents. But if some people has put a price tag on a life - $429.50 - we would choose to buy it back. $429.50 - an amount some of us had willingly spent on lifeless gadgets that we junk away after a few years. $429.50 to buy back HOPE of a 2nd chance for Long Long.

We had already paid $429.50 to buy back Cho Cho from the authorities. And in a few hours time, we are going to do the very same for Long Long. Cos we believe there are people who share our values, and will support us now. When we are clear about the priorities on our hand, money will always be available for a right cause.

One thing at a time. Now, we will get Long Long out. Away from a death sentence, simply cos he was born a stray. And he is less than 1 year old.

Do email us your support which we need. Every little bit adds up and will make this possible.

We cannot save all,

but at the very least, we can save those we know.

Don't walk away.

Yes, Cho Cho is out.

She was scared stiff. But chose to be tolerant of all the strange human handling by controlling her immense fear and withholding probably an urge to defend herself by one of the main ways animals know how - bite.

Instead, she bore all the traumatic experience with a silent acceptance, waiting for it all to end soon so she can resume her normal life.

She was so stressed that the moment she stepped into the car, she aimed right to hide herself under the front car seat. Once there, she collapsed into a panting heap. And pee-ed 3 times along the way.


video

Initial part of the car-ride out, she was panting heavily from stress. Soon, she relaxed and moved into somewhat a hypnotic stance, where she was lying very still, unmoving, till the point we reached the boarding kennel, she was still a stunned motionless heap under the car seat. And had to be coaxed firmly to get up and out into the safe kennel where she will stay for 1 month, till we find a good alternative for her life.

How much to bail her out? -- $429.50.

Worth every dollar. Not just because she is a good girl. But more vitally, why should her LIFE be taken from her, just because 'someone complained'. And just cos she was an easy target. Whatever the complaint was, Cho Cho is never the cause of it as she is always silently on her own, in her corner, minding her own business, never approaching the people coming and going from that area.

Keep your eye open for a home for Cho Cho. She's just about 8 months young and smaller-bone than many local breeds. Initially shy, we are certain she will blossom under the care of a good family who will give her a chance in life.

Many dogs are destroyed everyday. Maybe the rescuers could not afford the $429.50 that could buy back a life. Maybe they see no way of supporting the boarding fees of a dog for the next 15 years in the kennels. Maybe they have no hope of the dog finding a good permanent home.

$429.50 to buy back a life.

In the universal scheme of things, how cheap a life has become. $429.50. Some of you had gladly spent this amount on a lifeless handphone. And likely do not use many of the functions you paid for. An object. A life. Where have our priorities been confused?

$429.50 to allow a living being to continue the breath she was given. That no one should have the assumed right to take away. $429.50 to buy a HOPE that Cho Cho can have her very own happy ending.

If you see the value in this, we appreciate your support in her bail-out fee. Every little bit will be encouraging to us and all those around - who hope to uplift the belief that a life is worth saving. If we were all not willing to come up with $429.50, Cho Cho would have been scheduled to be destroyed tomorrow morning. And we would then have to learn to walk with a scar on our hearts that we had turned away and chose to ignore our privilege to help.

You can email us at projectjkteam@yahoo.com.sg to show your support for Cho Cho's redeemed life. Thank you.

January 8, 2009

Bailing a dog out

is not just simply about 1 dog.

It's about making clear a point of the value of life. And the entire structure of our present state of animal welfare and control.

Of the methods practised in catching. The treatment given while the animals are still alive. The means adopted in putting the animals to sleep.

The public needs to be assured of the humane-ness of each step if we are to leave the issue of animal welfare and control in the hands of the ones given the responsibility.

"You can focus on your problems,

or you can focus on your purposes..."

"We need to ask ourselves: Am I going to live for possessions? Popularity? Am I going to be driven by pressures? Guilt? Bitterness? Materialism? Or am I going to be driven by God's purposes (for my life)?

When I get up in the morning, I sit on the side of my bed and say, God, if I don't get anything else done today, I want to know You more and love You better. God didn't put me on earth just to fulfill a to-do list. He's more interested in
what I am than what I do. That's why we're called human beings, not human doings."


"Think of ways to encourage one another to outbursts of love and good deeds. Hebrews 10:24"

Thanks GL for sharing this.


***********************************************
This verse especially speaks to me in light of an incident yesterday where we were 'tested' in our character on how we help others in their times of need. When I let impatience and a sense of 'fed-up-ness' get the better of me. Where I probably see the person as the problem.

It's important that we encourage one another in our walk of life. And in the animal welfare scene, where there is almost always a person behind the animal we're helping, we have to learn how to get along together. How to encourage one another, lift them up in trying times, give them a hand, a kind word. Keep them going on strong in their purposes in Life.

The incident?

The dreaded scene of the authorities coming down to catch the dogs at one area. Again. Despite the majority of the dogs there being sterilised with our efforts and your donated funds (there are just 5 more wary ones that we have arranged for more help in catching). Despite a discussed compromise with the management. Despite an enclosure constructed to house the dogs during the daytime. Despite a discussion with the authorities to give the caregiver more time to condition the dogs to enter the enclosure each morning (unless we settle for the option to encage the dogs 24/7 and never letting them out at all).

It is a balance. Of responsibilities, authority, welfare, freedom. As said by my counterpart, volunteers are already helping the authorities to control the stray population by catching and sterilising the many strays along the routes. Without which, the population would be even booming. Puppies born had to be surrendered to the SPCA where the situation calls for. And for those who disagree, disagree only if you can take in the puppies and care for them permanently yourself. Else, the reality of street life and sacrifice plays out everyday.

That is the very reason for this situation. Cos a batch of puppies were not removed from the plot at an age when they were 'so cute' and manageable. And a caregiver could not bear to surrender them. Fast forward 6 months into the picture, you have full grown dogs roaming the plot 'freely' but never truly free to live.

Cos there are only 2 choices in fact:

- If the caregiver wants to keep them safe from being caught and culled, the dogs have to be kept in the enclosure 24/7. Cos once let off in the evening, it has been difficult to get them back into the enclosure in the mornings.
- If the caregiver wants to give the dogs freedom, then we have to be prepared for that freedom to be taken away too, for the authorities can come and nab the dogs by their wire nooses anytime without warning.

We were informed that the authorities may have caught 2 dogs from that area yesterday morning. If the information was right, they had caught Cho Cho. A lovely girl who was sadly ostracized by the pack and taken to stay on her own away from the others. She has been a most good girl - never disturbing the people, but rather, too shy to come to people mostly. Such a dog like her could never be labeled as a 'disturbance'. In fact, the dogs at that area do not disturb the people coming in and out at all. But we accept the fact that people who are afraid of dogs will always look at them in fear, despite the fact that the dogs do not even approach them at all. Like Cho Cho, they are contented to just have a little piece of space to rest, sleep, eat. Live. That was all they wanted from us humans.

But cos she was outside nearer the main road, and with no pack to offer protection in numbers, she was an easier target for the 3 men from the authorities who came with wire nooses that were flung to tightly pull onto the dogs' necks and dragged into their van.

I often wonder, if the authorities know that the dogs they catch are from the streets, that do not belong to anyone, that no one is gonna come bail out - when these dogs arrive at the pound and are rushed into the kennels - do the authorities there provide the basic needs of food and water? Before they destroy them? And what is the actual method of destroying all these strays caught off the streets?

Does anyone out there know for sure?

January 7, 2009

Who plays the bad guy?


A matter of the economics of population. A matter of resources. A matter of population control.

Many caregivers on the streets with their strays have fedback that surrendering dogs to the SPCA is an inevitable part of their work.

Pups in boxes on their doorstep or along the route people know they feed. Friendly dogs leashed to the trunk of trees. Or dogs that are simply let loose in the vicinity of shelters.

At times, while feeding, the caregiver is caught unawares by a wailing litter of puppies. What should he/she do with them: Let them be to join other feral packs or risked being run over by cars or bitten to death by dominant, aggressive dogs?

Hurl them into the bush and turn a blind eye? Continue to feed them in the hope to integrate them into existing pack, and sterilise them when they're six months old? Board them at shelters until an adopter comes along -- out of their own pocket money when they're trying to make ends meet?

And when you leave them be, if they're culled, let them be culled? If you leave them be, what if these additional dogs become the trigger for people to ring up culling forces and endanger the lives of other exisiting dogs?

So what does this mean to our many caregivers who are already so stretched? Many of whom I know can barely get by with donations and their seriously limited financial resources. While they tend to those on the streets, many also have to pay for other dogs put at shelters.

No choice but to surrender a clean litter of pups to the SPCA.

But then again, who bears the sin of sending them for likely euthanasia? Is one who dumps his dogs to be picked up by the caregiver absolved from the 'sin' of killing? Why should the caregiver play the bad guy? Why should he/she bear the pain and guilt of walking out of the premises with afterthoughts that these pups will eventually, probably die?

Questions, questions and more questions. It's so much ache.

January 6, 2009

Balance on the mend

We just visited Balance at the foster's. Delight is ours to see that the wound at the crook of his hind leg has improved. Much better than you see in the pictures below, for now, his wound looks like a rough, dry scab. Plus, he's walking more steadily, albeit gingerly.

Out of the cage now and freed from the e-collar, he spars with other resident cats with his white sock of a paw. You'll be surprised that even though there's a slight limp to it, he is able to jump many times his height on the window ledge, scurry under cages and tables -- all the time exuding adolescent curiosity and inborn confidence. This is Balance. On the mend.


Balance held by his ex-feeder during a visit. Right watery eye, but this is ok now.


November 08: Lumpy moist wound when the vet peeled off his bandage.

2 weeks ago. Scab is better but looks peelable if he's not careful or licks his wound roughly

All thanks to the caregiver. What unconditional, amazing love for all cats under her wing.

January 5, 2009

"Sometimes, we analyze, analyze until we paralyze."

January 2, 2009

Appeal: An artist and his dog

"hi, my name is Ben, a full time artist. i am at a desperate end and seeking possible ways to save my dog with very little time left.

history: i took in the mongrel dog on the street, out of pity..the poor stray fate she is in at that time, i found her nearby my art studio by chance when i was walking, following me. i don't have regular income but to share my food with my dog all the while or getting cheap dry food which i put aside $30 a month for the food, which is abit tight for me but im still can pull through. life is not really easy for artist financially which is a fact, but i live with my passion in heart and i belive my work will pay off in long run, a belief with my love forart.

all the while i also did my part to try rehome her...as she will need a better owner that have a normal income,mean a very basic normal working class will still win an artist myself constantly living in insecurity. but frankly no one wana take in mongrel as pet and so i got to keep it as i still got a studio to hold it.


at the period is still ok as everything is still manageable for me with just supporting the dog food which monthly round up is just ok. Then 5-6 years had passed, till in 2007 (property boom period) the landlord demand me and others to leave as he is selling the place when lease expired. this situation happen so suddenly and i really hope it won't bring to spca as it will surely won't able to survive, and put to sleep. and at that time, i found mutts and mittens (at pasi ris farmway) which i put her in long term boarding which i know it be very hard for me to handle even at a discounted rates of $260+ per month, as $30 a month previously i already need to livespend carefully.

i thanks God that im able to pay off the first few months and after then, i owe 5 months which is very hard for me which i need to cancel the boarding today Dec 30 and take my dog away as the boarding fee debts will sum up more and more as months passed by, and i know it be impossible for me to pay off the fees.

And i still owe ten thousand plus dollars debts with a friend on my expenses at present. a friend told me why no just put her there and no bothered the boarding fees but i couldn;t do it as this is very bad and not good impression to others,cos i know i am unable to pay the monthly boarding fees at all.


if u can read me, i am now in a very stress state and i know if nothing workout,i will have to bring her to spca this week. today i brought her back to my parents hdb place and they werer so angry and after lots pleading with my parents, i can only keep her 2 nites in the flat balcony locked and don;tcare whatever i say, go send to spca on this coming thursday if i got no options. i also ask myslef why did i pick her up...but it do look in a pityful poorstate and can;t shut my eyes off,and i then got myself in a pityful financial debts state..i blame myself my dog got a wrong owner that can't support her as an artist.

a fate for us to meet but i can't keep her well as i don;t even have my own place to keep it. hope you understand what i said above is not win your pity on my state, i understand many mongrels are out there and daily many of them are put to sleep by spca.

i just want to know if you got space to put my dog, i will begrateful or suggest me a way out. i will be willing at least to pay $50 amonth to help the dog food for the keeper within my ability as i am not finding a easy way too.

i feel i have no way out now with only till up this thursday. please contac me asap when u read my email,and advise me. i really feel very bad...as i pray i could do my art and also still enable her to survive in avery basic way but sadly i can;t even afford to. my mobile is 90612076 please call me if can assist me. many thanks blessings, Ben"

Quoted from:
http://www.petschannel.com/forum/?page=topic&topicID=12265&start=1

January 1, 2009

We are

sorry if the visuals of the dog meat trade shock you. They still shock me though it's not the first time I see them.

Such pictures are not what many of us wish to see.

Maybe cos we fear to face a truth so brutal? To be jolted out of our nice little life where our minds can conveniently tune out the injustice happening right this moment? Or maybe cos we feel the frustration of not knowing how to help, and thus we rather not know too much?

The very first thing is to be aware of what is happening. After which, be ready and willing to speak up to another person about the rights of animals when a chance occurs. To share, inform, educate, change their point of view.

Opinions not shared will not change a thing.

Conversely, truth imparted will surely, even if slowly, direct a change of mind in our fellow people. Such that, we walk closer to the day where animal rights are acknowledged if not embraced. And mankind progresses in heart and mind, in widening that spaciousness of our soul to welcome life in all forms.

And where an animal's life is needed for food, to show respect for the dignity and right to live by offering a kind and speedy death.

Some words from a book I'm reading

bring me comfort and light. And I hope they bring you comfort when you come to a time of loss with your faithful companions.

Words about living life. And not just getting things done. Words about not wasting our pain. About being intentional about our joy. Words of reminder to not look only at what God is not giving, but what He is giving. Words that urge me to make room in my life for Him. To come to a place where there is a spaciousness in my soul. Room for God.

Words that remind me that "the sorrows in our lives are in great part His weaning process. We give our hearts over to so many things other than God. We look to so many other things for life. Especially the gifts that He Himself gives to us - they become more important to us than He is. That's not the way it is supposed to be. As long as our happiness is tied to the things we can lose, we are vulnerable."

Words that also comfort me that "our losses are not permanent, not when they are in the hands of God."

Words that call me to remember, "The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it". God is speaking to us all the time. Sometimes he uses words. Other times He uses dreams. And He loves to use the ever-changing, unfolding beauty, drama, and presence of His creation. What was Wordsworth's phrase?

Thanks to the human heart by which we live,

Thanks to its tenderness, its joys, and fears,
To me the meanest flower that blows can give
Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.

.... and then, these words from the author who wrote about his grief when he chose to put to sleep his beloved companion, Scout, a Golden Retriever, who was suffering in pain from terminal cancer:

"It almost seems wrong to be feeling okay only days after Scout's death and all that our family went through. Like it somehow diminishes what he meant to me, the sadness of his death, the loss, and especially it somehow diminishes what the others are feeling, because they are not doing well. It's almost a version of survivor's guilt, that thought that says, I shouldn't be doing well, look at the others.

Be careful of this. "I ought to feel bad" can quickly become an agreement with feeling bad, and it shouldn't then come as a surprise that pretty soon you start feeling bad. Accept the grace of God when it comes. It's a gift, and if He's giving it, it must be all right to receive it."


Thank You. I receive it.

中国屠狗场 Dogmeat Trade

TAKE ACTIONS

  • Do not patronize establishments involving in the dealership, trading, selling, buying of dogmeat. We shouldn't pump tourist dollars to restaurants with dogmeat on their menus. Show our objection even to personnel whose livelihoods are involved in these transactons.

  • As visitors to the countries, show our disapproval to the locals -- people who believe in the 'benefits' of consuming dogmeat in winter, or those who bear no sense of ethics and respect for the value of life in dogs. Our opinions matter as outside observers of their societies. Do not be ashamed of what doesn't sit well with you.

  • Take time to write to local authorities (on any level - township, provincial or nation) to demonstrate our distaste for such acts of cruely in their F&B industry. Your feedback could be one of many, but nevertheless, an unmistakable, existing voice contributing to the many. In your bid to change laws and policies governing these industries.

  • Find out local NGOs that do not condone the dogmeat trade and join hands, however brief your sojourn, with them. Find out how you can pitch in as a visiting tourist, traveller or business-person. Put your name on their petitions.

  • Take pictures or videos in your witness of aspects of the trade -- strategically without compromising your own safety. Return home with evidences and share your experiences with those who don't know about the trade. Your personal account counts!

  • Write to local forums or news channels in your bid to denounce such atrocities.
  • Be the world's much needed advocate in animal welfare. Any person can be a mobile activist to educate others on what that undermines the value of animal life.










I am sure this is by no means new or surprising to many, though the stark grossness of the images is still cringe-worthy each time our eye meets the pictures.

Images received from circulated email. Original source undefined.