DAY 188: AN INSPIRATIONAL WOMAN SHOWS HOW TO HELP
Every now and then you meet someone that reminds you of what compassion can do.
Today I met a woman called Li-an at a dog sanctuary in Manila who has given it all up to help just a few dogs.
My year long journey is, as they say in the soccer world, a game of two halves. On the one hand I find myself, almost daily, being dumped into a world of abuse and misery. On the other hand I come across examples of human compassion that attempt to redress the balance and show some hope. Acid and Alkaline. I’m afraid the acid is still corrosive but the more people I meet like this the more hope I have.
Li-an works as a volunteer at a dog-sanctuary in the centre of Manila. She is a university-educated, proactive individual who had a promising career in journalism but she gave it up to help animals in the search for more meaning in her life. She even cut her hair short so that it woudn’t get in the way of washing and caring for the dogs.
She had always wanted to help in some way and had spent a long time working with street children but felt that ‘ultimately animals are more vulnerable. They can’t grow up and get a job can they?’
When Li-an first encountered this place she saw how 80% of the dogs were emaciated and often went without food for days when the funding ran out. She responded the only way she could – by asking for food remnants outside restaurants. Then in turn she encouraged more volunteers to come and help, and those people, inspired by her acts, have been doing great work too. Now, through her efforts more funding has come in.
The sanctuary now does the best it can but it is still woefully underfunded. Many of the dogs here are rescued from the meat trade or other acts of extreme cruelty. The local Catholic mayor (our best friend as you know) has forbidden euthanasia which leads to piles and piles of sick dogs that they cannot afford to look after. In a place with high levels of cruelty and low levels of money the well-meaning Catholic principle of prolonging life is deeply problematic.
Li-an now says she is the poorest she has ever been, ‘but also the happiest’. This is music to my often doubting ears. Whenever I meet people that help animals the question I ask- echoing the one I ask myself often – is, why do it? Why do they put themselves through the misery of seeing all that suffering?
I gave Li-an all the cash I had on me right there and then, about $100. She didn’t want it, suggesting that she had no proof to give me that she would spend it on the right things. ‘I must buy food and then give you a formal receipt.’ Andrew helped me force the cash into her hand. Somehow I trusted her. Somehow I knew she would spend it well.
IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO DONATE ANY MONEY TO LI-AN FOR THE SANCTUARY PLEASE CLICK HERE AND MENTION HER IN THE MESSAGE
Tomorrow: our final day to rescue some dogs. We still don’t have the tip-off we need from the police but we wait for a call at any minute.