DAY 230: BUY POSTCARDS OF INDIAN DOGS TO HELP AVIS – a difficult telephone call to Kerala
BUY A SET OF 10 POSTCARDS FROM MY PREVIOUS VISIT TO ‘THE ARK’ DOG SANCTUARY IN INDIA – MONEY GOES TO THE RESCUED DOGS.
PRESS HERE TO DONATE £12.50 + PP (=£15 UK, £17 EU, £19 ROW). MARK YOUR DONATION ‘POSTCARDS’. ALL THE IMAGES CAN BE SEEN BELOW
As I flit around the world, stroking a bear here, catching a dog there, I feel a little like a compassion tourist. I touch suffering and then move on. It’s easy to forget that real dedication requires staying in one place.
Today I had a catch up with Avis by phone, the inspirational woman who runs The Ark dog rescue shelter in Kerala, India and it reminded me how tough things can be if you are committed to one cause.
‘I don’t know if I’ve really made that much difference, Martin’ she said in a low voice.
I was shocked. ‘What? You’ve done so much. What are you saying?’
‘Over eleven years I’ve sterilized 6000 dogs but where are they? I don’t see any. We release them and I see them all on the road – they are territorial after all, I know where they live – and then the next day they disappear. When that happens you know they are being rounded up and killed. The government says it sponsors the ABC programme [Animal Birth Control] but really they don’t. They want the dogs off the road so they kill them.’
‘But what about all the injured dog’s you’ve been treating and caring for?’
‘Yeh, there is that. But Martin, I’m leaving the ABC programme. I can’t afford it and there is no point. It is too corrupt out here. I’ve spent everything on this. I’ve spent my entire house. Eleven years of work. And yet I feel like I am letting the animals down by stopping sterilisation. But I’m too old now. I’ve only a few years left and I have to concentrate on the sick animals that come in.’
It hurt me to hear that. Avis is far stronger than me and I can only imagine her winning. She is still winning of course, she’s caring for hundreds of dogs, but it’s tough to hear she is stopping the sterilisation programme.
Mad, my Indian friend
‘You know that Mad came to see me’ said Avis.
Mad, the aptly named character I had met when working with Avis called me a few days ago to say that he was out of cash. His family were not supporting him any more and he had no where to stay. I recalled our heady conversations in a bar when I told him the virtues of following one’s heart and how he should give it all up to help animals. The next day he started helping wildlife but apparently snakes didn’t pay the bills. And then, he told me, he crashed his motorbike. It was as if my inspiration talk had ran out and he hit a brick wall, literally.
‘Was he badly injured?’
‘He was hobbling. He said he’s gone back to the army’
Mad’s facebook page now has photos of him holding guns and pictures of rad army jeeps. I wonder if he’ll ever go back to helping animals. I don’t know if one can be vegetarian and shoot an AK47
However, I recognise both Avis’s and Mad’s struggle in myself. I too am riding a motorbike down a long road and feel I am low on fuel and have little money and may steer off course at any moment. The toughness of daily life then threatens to come crashing into the aspiration to be kind and compassionate.
The business card manufacturer MOO.COM (check them out, great for making your own postcards and business cards) has kindly given me some postcards that I can print and sell in order to raise money for a Year To Help cause.
We are not going to let Avis get down and she still has hundreds of dogs to look after. I’m selling all the above images of her dogs as a pack of 10 postcards for £12.50+ PP (send £15 total in UK, £17 Europe, £19 ROW)
CLICK HERE TO ORDER, THEN PRESS ‘DONATE’ AND FILL OUT YOUR TOTAL MARKING YOUR ORDER ‘POSTCARDS’