• MANGO UPDATE

    Dec 04 2013
    Oliver and Gitte with Mango at her new home

    Oliver and Gitte with Mango at her new home – a wonderful couple to care for Mango.

    …sorry it’s me again. A little update.

    A wedding in the US… a honeymoon in Mexico (where I found a baby turtle stuck upside down in the sand and helped it to the sea whilst being drunk on Pina Colada) …and then a hard, cold bump back to England: my year of helping animals already seems a long way off.

    I have, inevitably, retreated somewhat into comfort: hot showers, coffee and reading books that are about anything other than animals.

    But a few days ago Mango finally arrived to remind me of what it was all about.

    Mango arrived looking extremely distressed

    Mango arrived looking extremely distressed

    It was hard to comfort her at all..

    It was hard to comfort her at all..

    After a grueling 26 hour journey from Manila she appeared at Heathrow shrunken and scared and still wearing a sun-starched, filippino collar and a hang dog look on her face that provoked a deep feeling of guilt. I had put her through this ordeal. I could touch her but only just. What was I expecting? That she woudl come bounding up to me waving a union jack and crying ‘daddy’?

    She had grown up – what must she be now, 11 months? – but she still had the same dark eyes and gentle expression that I found in the corner of that street where I first met her.

     

    Mango meets Stanley - a much bigger version of the dogs she is used to...

    Mango meets Stanley – a much bigger version of the dogs she is used to…

    The point, I reminded myself as I struggled to make a physical connection with her, picking her up awkwardly onto my lap, was that she might by now not be alive. Not that there was much meat on her bones anyway…she would hardly make a meal like this.

    As you probably know it has always been an understanding on this year that I would not bring any animals back to our home. We have two dogs already and although I had harboured hopes that Mango would be a third I find it hard enough to control a coffee in my hand when Bug and Moose are pulling at the other let alone a rescue dog.

    For a number of weeks I have been in touch with AllDogsMatter and we have found a wonderful new home for Mango just outside London, with large, beautiful grounds and another very gentle dog. Oliver and Gitte are deeply committed to animal rescue charities and Oliver works at home meaning they can give Mango the quality care she needs – it really could not be better. I’m deeply grateful to Ira and Peter at AllDogsMatter for helping on this.

    Mango is now much more relaxed in her new home thanks to Oliver and Gite

    Mango is now much more relaxed in her new home thanks to Oliver and Gitte and the amazing care they are giving.

    Mango out on a walk with Stanley.

    Mango out on a walk with Stanley.

    IMG_3931

    ..and finding a good snuggle in Oliver's lap...

    ..and finding a good snuggle in Oliver’s lap… (ALL PHOTOS COURTESY OLIVER AND GITTE)

    And so, from Manila out onto the M25 on a cold winter’s evening.

    I took Mango straight to her new home, glad that I hadn’t been able to foster her. She was in no state to be accosted by Moose and Bug only to be moved again a few days later.

    Oliver and Gitte have had mango for a few days now and they are perfect with her. They have given her patience, kindness and great chew treats and Mango seems farm more settled and confident. Oliver updates me regularly with photos and news and I will hopefully visit very soon to give you an update. I’m really very happy Mango has found two such wonderful people.

    To all those of you who supported her on this journey I am deeply grateful.

    I will keep you posted.

    Post divide
  • DAY 279: TWO PUPPIES SAVED FROM DOG MEAT TRADE – CAN YOU HELP ME NAME THEM?

    Jul 02 2013

     

    I have rescued these two puppies, but it was a long and painful story that left me feeling awful about some other dogs left behind. But these now have new lives.

    Will you help me name them?

    The first people to donate $50 can name one of these dogs – if you aren’t first then the money goes to feeding them for two whole years!!!!

     Read on.

    The two puppies that were saved from slaughter....

    The two puppies that were saved from slaughter….

    The three dogs that were left behind to a very uncertain fate.

    The three dogs that were left behind to a very uncertain fate. Shall I go back??

    I just heard that two of the pangolins that were seized on the Chinese border are left alive. They are now in Hanoi, 4 hours away, and I have been told I may go but have to wait a day – paperwork, routine, corruption probably, it’s all so frustrating when the poor creatures might have a chance of being saved here in the rescue centre..

    To regain a sense of control I started asking about dogs and whether I could help any. Dogs…my fall back position.

    ‘Oh,’ said the wildlife guide here, ‘it very easy to eat dog. Everyone does it! I take you to a dog meat market’

    ‘No, no, I want to save some dogs not eat them’…then I started thinking. Could I face it? Could I help?

    ‘OK, we go to dog market’

    Unlike the Philippines it is legal to kill and eat dogs over here. The pooches aren’t farmed like in Korea, but this isn’t necessarily that much better. People breed their dogs, keep one or two for utility and sell the rest at 3+ months to restaurants. They may also sell the first one or two dogs if they get sick or dont’ behave or they need the cash. So a relatively free pet  finds itself couped up in a concrete cell behind a restaurant waiting to have its throat slit. No stunning first.

    one of the puppies that would end up for dog meat before it was rescued.

    one of the puppies that would end up for dog meat before it was rescued.

     

     

    Dog meat – not my idea of fun

    The idea of dog meat is as far from my comfort zone as London is from Hanoi. But I feel I need to see where the dogs go to be kept before they are slaughtered. As a recent meat eater attempting to heal the divisions in my soul I ought to look at some painful contradictions: if I ate pig then shouldn’t I see what goes into dog meat?  They are both smart animals, they both have a right to life.

    But what to do then? Do I rescue a dog? Will that not make the whole thing worse? Where do I put it?

    I asked frantically if there was anyone that would care for a dog if I rescued it.

    It turned out that the pangolin keeper, Mr Thang, a 60 year old or so with a kind face, had two dogs at home and another had recently died – at 22 years. I asked if we could go to the market via his house so I could see what conditions he kept them in and when we did I saw a simple but comfortable home where the dogs were well-looked after. It was worth a chance. I promised to provide enough money to pay for 4 years food – $200.

     

    Mr Thang - the pangolin keeper who also has dogs at his home. He agreed to take on this puppies for life. Thank him not me...

    Mr Thang – the pangolin keeper who also has dogs at his home. He agreed to take on this puppies for life. Thank him not me…

     

    Dog meat restaurant visit

    After a short while on our motorbikes, my guide and Mr Thang found a local restaurant that sold dog meat. In the back was a small concrete cell where they kept their dogs – the owner happily showed us three small animals. They sat  in the dark, heads bowed, eyes unwilling to make contact with us. A small bowl of water on rough concrete. The owner took out a stick with a sharp metal hook and prodded the dogs on the necks and they howled. I got furious and stopped him. He laughed at my apparently inappropriate reaction.

    One dog, the smallest, then looked up and stared into my eyes with a hang dog expression and that was too much. I had to get him out. Call me a softy.

    The cell where the dogs were kept

    The cell where the dogs were kept

    Buying a dog from the dog meat trade is a highly suspect thing to do. Short term-ism. You buy one and the owner then buys two more to replace it. And yet…. what is this year about it not following my heart before my head? Rescuing a dog would not solve the dog meat trade but it would solve an entire life for that individual dog. What would I do if that dog was moose or bug?

    But the haggling was a disaster. The man wouldn’t drop below $70 and both my guide and Mr Thank demanded I leave. That was way too much money and he would simply buy another 3 or 4 dogs. I pleaded but they urged me to go, My Thang saying that he thought the dog would be sick and too aggressive. It was his call and reluctanly I got on the motorbike, a bag of invisible guilt hanging off the back of my seat, dragging through the dust as we bumped back towards the rescue centre.

     

    The restaurant owner who controlled his dogs with pole and hook

    The restaurant owner who controlled his dogs with pole and hook

    DO YOU WANT TO NAME A DOG?

    I pleaded to go back. Finally they had a better idea.

    They knew someone that had recently had a litter. The dogs would be bound for the meat market in a few months and we could buy a few who were not sick for very little money. We stopped off at a small farm and Mr Thang’s eyes lit up as we found two perfect dogs for about $10 each. We took them back to his house, introduced them to his other dogs and fed them and watered them. Mr Thang is not a vet but he is a nurse, able to offer injections and elementary care. This is better for the pups than having their throats slit, lets put it that way.

    I gave Mr Thang $100, promised to give him $100 more when he reported back in 3 months on their welfare and left.

    The first two people to donate $50 can name these dogs (if you donate but are not first the money will go to their on going care, food, and medical bills).

    Mr Thang, very happy with his two new additions. Please donate $50 if you want to name them!

    Mr Thang, very happy with his two new additions. Please donate $50 if you want to name them!

    IMG_8814

     

    IMG_8799

     

     

    Still feel awful

    BUt I tell you – I still feel awful about the dogs in the cell.

    What can I do? I’m here to help – I have to get them out…

    thinking hard…

    Post divide
  • DAY 269: TODAY IS BEST DAY OF THE YEAR – IT JUST TURNED TO SHIT. CHINA TO KILL 1000’s OF DOGS

    Jun 21 2013
    Om

    Om

    I love summer solstice.

    As someone that doesn’t do well with darkness – both outside and inside the soul- the longest day of the year is something I feel more important than christmas day. Light and life and hippies and yoga and all that.

    So it’s with anger and sadness (and something closer to a fist in a wall) that I read that some people are celebrating in a less than positive way – by eating thousands of dogs.

    Man's best friend??

    Man’s best friend??

    What a f**cking suprise, its in China. Excuse my French. As you know I’m now working on wild animals and my dog days are temporarily behind me (not for long) but I can’t help post about this stuff.

    In Yulin province in China it is estimated that today – right now in fact – the Chinese will be killing over 10,000 dogs to savour the delicacy with some wine and lychees. It is claimed (known) that some dogs will be killed with knives, electrocuted or boiled/skinned alive. But hey – it’s worth it. Because dog meat cures impotence, old age, probably cancer and almost certainly a total f**cking gullibility in the non-effectiveness of traditional medicines.

    Now is the time to repeat that the sign on the illegal dog-meat restaurant has changed from San Miguel to Coke. We must write to coke – not in fury but in asking them to take the sign down and publicly denounce this trade. Coke have not put this sign up, the restuarant has but it is now Coke’s duty to dissociate their name. Let’s see if they care (see below for what to do)

    The restaurant in Baguio that sold us illegal dog meat has now taken down the San Miguel sign and replaced it with a coke sign. Do Coke  Care? We shall see

    The restaurant in Baguio that sold us illegal dog meat has now taken down the San Miguel sign and replaced it with a coke sign. Do Coke Care? We shall see

     

    Now that I have stopped eating meat I feel a little less of a wanker for criticising others that eat dog. Straightening out my soul is doing some good. Shame it can’t help these poor dogs…for now.

    estimated that well over 10,000 dogs are being killed right now

    It is estimated that well over 10,000 dogs are being killed right now

    Soooo tasty

    Soooo tasty

     

    Chinese volunteers rescue dogs destined for restaurants in Chongqing, China

    yulin5

     

    Sorry to show you this but it's happening - dogs being boiled alive.

    Sorry to show you this but it’s happening – dogs being boiled alive.

    MORE INFO AND WHAT TO DO:

    MOST IMPORTANT: SPREAD THE WORD ON TWITTER AND FACEBOOK BY LINKING TO THIS BLOG OR ANY OF THE BELOW.

    Then..

    1) Write a letter to Coke (politely please) explaining that they have a sign on the front of a Filipino restaurant that is known to openly sell dog-meat even though it is illegal in the country (attach the below picture and link to my blog). Ask them to take it down and officially condemn the practice of eating dog meat on both humane and health grounds (it is a known rabies risk).

    Email coke direct: https://secure.thecoca-colacompany.com/ssldocs/mail/eQuery_product.shtml

    Facebook coke: https://www.facebook.com/cocacola

    The restaurant in Baguio that sold us illegal dog meat has now taken down the San Miguel sign and replaced it with a coke sign. Do Coke  Care? We shall see

    The restaurant in Baguio that sold us illegal dog meat has now taken down the San Miguel sign and replaced it with a coke sign. Do Coke Care? We shall see

    2) Sign a petition here to the UK government  (this is actually to urge the South Korean government to stop farming dogs but its all part of the same fight)

    http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/41206

     

    3) Follow and support NO TO DOG MEAT.com

    http://www.notodogmeat.com/

     

    4) Read a far less angry and more balanced view than my own here to understand that this really happening

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/18/chinese-city-yulin-dog-meat-festival

     

    5) FB the ‘no to dog meat page’

    https://www.facebook.com/JointheGlobalMovementToEndtheDogandCatMeatTrade

     

    6) Tweet tweet tweet!!!!

     

    SHAME ON THOSE IN CHINA THAT DO THIS TO DOGS.

     

    Post divide
  • DAY 265: THE SAN MIGUEL SIGN ON DOG-MEAT RESTAURANT IS REPLACED BY COKE ADVERT

    Jun 17 2013
    The Comiles restaurant in Baguio where I was served dog meat has taken down their San Miguel sign (because of our pressure) but replaced it with a coke sign. Coca-cola...are you happy about this?

    The Comiles restaurant in Baguio where I was served dog meat has taken down their San Miguel sign (because of our pressure) but replaced it with a coke sign. Coca-cola…are you happy about this?

    What a weird thing. 

    After thousands of people bombarding San Miguel’s facebook page (thank you thank you!)  the San Miguel sign was finally taken down from the Baguio dog-meat restaurant (hoorah!)…only to replaced with one advertising Coca Cola.

    This is both good and bad.

    Good because it shows that our opinion can make a difference. But bad because San Miguel have yet to come out with an official statement denouncing the dog-meat situation in the Philippines. Remember, San Miguel are not a spanish company but a huge Filipino organisation and it really isn’t hard for them to make a statement that might do a huge amount of good. We shall continue to press.

    And what about Coke?

    Well, its clear that Coke didn’t go and put this sign up. But I’m also sure they won’t want to be associated wiht a dog-meat restaurant.

    Right?

    Network for Animals and I will be chasing them. Watch this space.

    Post divide
  • DAY 199: DEAR SAN MIGUEL.. I LIKE YOUR BEER BUT DO YOU KNOW YOU ARE SPONSORING A DOG MEAT RESTAURANT

    Apr 15 2013

    AN OPEN LETTER TO THE OFFICE OF SAN MIGUEL

    * * *

     

    Dear San Miguel,

    Your beer is very nice – with a touch of spice –  but I wondered if you know that are sponsoring the sign on a restaurant in the Philippines that sells illegal dog meat?

    Your brand is more spicy than I thought.

    On the 15th March 2013 some friends and I visited an eatery in Baguio, Philippines, that had a large San Miguel sign on the front of it, see the photo below.

    The 'Comiles' restaurant in Baguio

    The ‘Comiles’ restaurant in Baguio that offered us dog meat

    When we sat down we were immediately offered a choice of meals which included  ‘Pulutan’. We had a Filippino man with us who confirmed that this was ‘dog meat’ and we also made a video recording of the waitress offering the food. Shortly afterwards we watched someone eat some dog and took the below photos.

    Dog meat served at the same restaurant.

    Dog meat served at the same restaurant.

    As you may be aware, the selling of dog meat in restaurants for general consumption is illegal in the Philippines. The dog meat industry is as such unregulated and involves a huge amount of cruelty and suffering. If you want evidence for this I’d be happy to provide it.

    I hope to hear your reply within seven days (22nd April) or I will assume – as will the readers on my blog at www.yeartohelp.com  (where I have posted this message as well as on facebook) – that you won’t take action and that San Miguel is willing to be associated with the illegal and cruel dog-meat trade.

    Yours, in anticipation,

    Martin Usborne

     

    Post divide
  • DAY 198: WE DID IT! MANGO IS FLYING BUSINESS CLASS TO THE UK

    Apr 12 2013

    rescuemangodone

    MANGO IS COMING TO THE UK! 

    thank you…once again

    We’ve hit the target…and shot over it

    £1300 raised

    A new life for a small dog. The donations were going up nicely when we got blasted with a £750 donation from a pet lifestyle site called Petspyjamas in the UK taking us WELL OVER the target.

    Mango can now fly business class!

    Thank you to each and everyone one of you. Whatever your donation, big or small, you made this happen. I’m so incredibly touched. And a big  thank you to Petspyjamas, please take a look at their lovely site here, a totally unexpected donation.

    The royal reaction has already been positive

    The Queen is reportedly delighted

    Costs covered

    This money will now cover all of Mango’s medicals in Manila, the customs checks, her crate, the flights to London, the UK customs checks AND give Mango a lovely bed and toys in London.

    Any left over, if there is some, will be given back to Network for Animals who are doing amazing work trying to rid the Philippines of the dog meat trade. We are currently investigating if it might even be viable for me to go out again to escort her back safely…

     

    Mango is doing really well in Manila

    Mango is doing really well in Manila but looking forward to a new life in Britain.

    Here she is at her temporary residence with the mother of Network for Animals’ resident vet.

    She’s put on some serious bulk in a few weeks (gulp – we may need to get her a bigger crate still – check out those paws), apparently she has really come out of her shell and she’s had her full medical done and will be microchipped shortly.

    I’ll give you an update as to her health and expected return time soon. We expect it to take another few months

    THANK YOU SO MUCH AGAIN. YOU’VE GIVEN THIS DOG A NEW LIFE.

    Post divide
  • DAY 191: BUY PRINTS TO GIVE MANGO A NEW LIFE

    Apr 04 2013

    bringmangohome

    Meet Mango. She is the puppy that  Network forAnimals and myself rescued from the street where they sell dogs for the meat trade. I want to bring her home by selling prints of her. Please help!

    Shivering, chained to a wall and covered in ticks we bought her for $4 and got her to a vet. Now I desperately want to bring her back to the UK for a new life. It will take a few months…and some money.

    I’ve stupidly promised to bring her back. But to do so I will need at least £750.

    I need your help! I know you’ve given so much already but now I’ve gone and done it…I want to give a puppy a whole new life and somehow we are going to make it happen. Many many other dogs like mango don’t have this chance.

    TO SEE THE PRINTS SCROLL DOWN

    This is how we found the puppy, chained to a wall in a dark corridor. We think she is 3 months old.

    This is how we found the puppy, chained to a wall in a dark corridor. We think she is 3 months old.

    The street where they sell dogs for meat

    The street where they sell dogs for meat and where we bought Mango for $4

    TO BUY ONE OF THE BELOW PRINTS OR TO SIMPLY DONATE PLEASE CLICK HERE AND MARK AS ‘MANGO’ (see info on choosing prints below)

    All money will go to his vets bills, his care, his travel and finding him a loving home.

    I will keep you updated as to his progress as money comes in. THANK YOU!!!

     

    HOW TO BUY PRINTS

    1. Choose which images you want (note the NAME in capitals below each image)

    2. Choose the size (available sizes marked under each image)

    3. Add up the price

    4. Add packaging/post costs

    UK – £10

    EU- £15

    Rest of World – £20

    5. Hit the big red DONATE button or click here and send the total WITH A FULL DESCRIPTION OF EACH IMAGE AND SIZE WANTED.

    DON’T FORGET POSTAGE AND ALL IMAGE DESCRIPTIONS. IF YOU WANT ANY IMAGES WITHOUT LETTERING PLEASE SAY SO

     

    MANGO SIMPLE PORTRAIT Longest edge: 12" £20 / 16" £35+PP / 24" £60+PP

    MANGO SIMPLE PORTRAIT No. 1  Longest edge: 12″ £25 / 16″ £50+PP / 24″ £75+PP

    STOP THE MEAT TRADE 16" £35+PP /  24" £60+PP

    STOP THE MEAT TRADE. Longest edge: 16″ £50+PP / 24″ £75+PP

    FISH AND CHIPS Longest edge: 12" £20 / 16" £35+PP / 24" £60+PP

    FISH AND CHIPS Longest edge: 12″ £25 / 16″ £50+PP / 24″ £75+PP

     

    MANGO SIMPLE PORTRAIT  NO.2 Longest edge: 12" £20 / 16" £35+PP / 24" £60+PP

    MANGO SIMPLE PORTRAIT NO.2 Longest edge: 12″ £25 / 16″ £50+PP / 24″ £75+PP

    HANGING OUT: Longest edge: 12" £20 / 16" £35+PP / 24" £60+PP

    HANGING OUT: Longest edge: 12″ £25 / 16″ £50+PP / 24″ £75+PP

    BRING ME HOME: Longest edge: 12" £20 / 16" £35+PP / 24" £60+PP

    BRING ME HOME: Longest edge: 12″ £25 / 16″ £50+PP / 24″ £75+PP

    JUST SITTING: Longest edge: 12" £20 / 16" £35+PP / 24" £60+PP

    JUST SITTING: Longest edge: 12″ £25 / 16″ £50+PP / 24″ £75+PP

    THAT UGLY MAN AND MANGO Longest edge: 12" £20 / 16" £35+PP / 24" £60+PP

    ME AND MANGO Longest edge: 12″ £25 / 16″ £50+PP / 24″ £75+PP

    SO SLEEPY Longest edge: 12" £20 / 16" £35+PP / 24" £60+PP

    SO SLEEPY Longest edge: 12″ £25 / 16″ £50+PP / 24″ £75+PP

    SAVE MANGO Longest edge: 16" £35+PP / 24" £60+PP

    SAVE MANGO Longest edge: 16″ £50+PP / 24″ £75+PP

     

     

    Post divide
  • DAY 191: A PUPPY SAVED FROM THE DINNER TABLE!

    Apr 03 2013

     

    The ride home with the rescued dog. Time to piss all over Martin's legs

    The ride home with the rescued dog. Time to piss all over Martin’s legs

    I’m afraid we never managed to intercept a truck at night with dogs bound for the meat trade and with me dodging bullets – I apologise for the lack of drama and for not getting shot – but I do have some GOOD news.

    We saved a single, quivering, chained-up puppy from the dinner table.

    And I want to bring her home. Gulp.

    Meet MANGO. 

    MANGO - weird name, but curiously sweet

    MANGO – funny name, but curiously sweet

     

    Perhaps it’s for the best that we did not intercept a truck. Andrew told me that the stench alone of opening the  back of a vehicle full of dying dogs stuffed in bags and cages would be enough to stay with me for life. But all the same I’m frustrated. I came here to help.

    So instead we paid a trip to an area where the dog traders are known to live – and ply their trade. A small street on the outskirts of Manilla: charming, backwards, hot. Hot but chilling, because this is the very street where dogs are frequently purchased (or stolen) to then be shipped up to places like Baguio where they are made into stew. Mmmm.

    Andrew, Frank and Ros talk to a man on the street where dogs are frequently collected for dog meat. A few minutes later we saw the puppy

    Andrew, Frank and Ros talk to a man on the street where dogs are frequently collected for dog meat. A few minutes later we saw the puppy

    We almost missed the puppy. It was tied up in the shade by a small chain, shaking. The owner, who spoke no English, was more than happy to sell it for only $4.  A sure sign that when the dog was bigger and fatter he would have happily sold it on to the traders

    This is how we found the puppy, chained to a wall in a dark corridor. We think she is 3 months old.

    This is how we found the puppy, chained to a wall in a dark corridor. We think she is 3 months old.

    I called the puppy ‘Patrick’ at first after briefly checking he was a boy (I was filmed for a charity whilst checking his bits) and then found out later from the vet that he was in fact a her (I didn’t do GCSE biology – which is hardly an excuse).

    I then called her Mango. Erm. Mango are the most popular fruit here…and kind or…er…sweet.. (Just get over it!)

    The man was more than happy to sell the puppy for a few dollars.

    The man was more than happy to sell the puppy for a few dollars..and handle her roughly.

     

    Proud dad.

    Proud dad.

    She rode back in the car with me staring out at her old life passing away with no idea what that $4 could change so mcuh.

    And then, out of gratitude she peed all over my legs (does she own me now? Mango, I will be your lampost any day of the week) We took her to the best vets in the whole of the Philippines where she was checked over, de-ticked and kept in observation.

    Life and death is so brutal out here. And death is so pervasive out there that saving one dog may seem pointless: but it is a vote for life

    Waiting at the vets.

    Waiting at the vets.

    Check me out on this tall table...

    Er…what’s going on?

    Promise to get you a new home

    Promise to get you a new home

     

    Weirdly the vet was being filmed for Filipino TV when I came in for some reality show...when asked what I was doing here I made the fatal mistake of saying I liked Indonesia. I am now officially an idiot...ON INDONESIAN TV (i mean filipppino tv)

    Weirdly the vet was being filmed for Filipino TV when I came in for some reality show…when asked what I was doing here I made the fatal mistake of saying I liked Indonesia. I am now officially an idiot…ON INDONESIAN TV (i mean filipppino tv)

    A decent meal

    A decent meal

     

    Can Mangoes be imported to the UK?

    I’m now in serious trouble.

    I HAVE PROMISED TO GET THIS DOG BACK TO THE UK.

    Double gulp.

    I don’t want her to be another Cordelia.

    This little thing REALLY perked up when she had some attention. It will take months to get all the paperwork and tests together but I am determined. In the meantime she will stay with the vet’s mother but it is NOT a long term solution.

    There is no dog-shelter in the Philippines that I am leaving this dog in, there is no home we can be sure she will do well in and  I am determined that at some point this dog will be in the UK in a new home.

    One of my promises to Ann on starting this year was that I would help as much as I can – and travel –  but our house would not become a refuge centre…for spiders, hens or dogs.

    Alldogsmatter in the UK will help me find a loving home over here for this dog but in the meantime…

    ..it’s over $1000 to do it wth flights.

    AhhhhhhhhhhhH!!!!

    Next blog. I’m desperately selling portraits of Mango to try and get the money to fulfil my promise. Pls help!!! Let’s get this dog some 

    Mango poses with Ros...she became SUPER affectionate in no time once she had some food.

    Mango poses with Ros…she became SUPER affectionate in no time once she had some food.

     

    IMG_6704 IMG_6663

     

     

     

     

     

    Post divide
  • DAY 188: AN INSPIRATIONAL WOMAN SHOWS HOW TO HELP

    Mar 31 2013
    Li-an, poorer and happier than she has ever been

    Li-an: ‘This is the poorest I have even been but also the happiest’ 

    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.

     

    University educated

    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.

    Li-an washing the dogs. Before she came they had never been washed.

    Li-an washing the dogs. Before she came they had never been washed.

    IMG_5728

    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.

    Para is the mascot of this dog sanctuary. His owner tried to kill him for food to celebrate his birthday, he had no money to buy something else. Para was rescued but his brother was no so lucky

    Para is the mascot of this dog sanctuary. His owner tried to kill him for food to celebrate his birthday, he had no money to buy something else. Para was rescued but his brother was no so lucky

     

    Pregnant dogs are tied up to  the gates of the sanctuary when they are not wanted.

    Pregnant dogs are tied up to the gates of the sanctuary when they are not wanted.

    IMG_5612

     

    Catholic principles.

    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.

    Catholic principles are strong in the Philippines but this doesn't always work out well for dogs.

    Catholic principles are strong in the Philippines but this doesn’t always work out well for dogs.

     

    Finding happiness.

    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.

    Andrew and Li-an with some dogs that are now much happier

    Andrew, from network for animnals (see link on right) and Li-an with some dogs that are now much happier

     

    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.

     

    Post divide
  • Day 183: PAWS FOR FOOD, PAWS FOR THOUGHT: a visit to a dog meat restaurant leaves me with little taste for San Miguel

    Mar 26 2013

     

    The hills around Baguio, dog meat capital of Philippines.

    The hills around Baguio, dog meat capital of Philippines.

    While we are waiting to do the undercover raid on dogs bound for slaughter we are off to visit a dog-meat restaurant in Baguio, north of Manila.

    Don’t worry,  I’m not here to shock you or show you ‘orrible pictures.

    I would rather have you here on the ride with me.

    Why are you off to visit a dog meat restaurant, Martin?  what help is that going to do? Don’t you know I’m eating a ham sandwich??

    Well…

    1)  If we can catch people serving dog meat illegally we can get help with prosecutions

    but more importanly

    2)  I’m here to confront some truths.  I still eat meat (less now than ever but still I do) and I still love dogs. How will I feel when I see dog meat? Should I…er… eat some? If I’m willing to eat pigs shouldn’t I get real and eat dog? No, no, no, no, don’t do it!!!

    It’s a seven hour car ride in the vicious heat with Andrew, from Network for Animals, and our two new companions, Frank and Rosalyn, both also in the animal rescue trade.

    These vegans, I tell you.  Not only do they avoid all eggs, meat and that other animal constitute – tasty bacon – but they have boundless energy. Is it the beans?

    Bacon is SOOO fine.

    A fine piece of Bacon

    Ahhh..doesn't that make you feel better. Bet they eat them  somewhere. China? Hmmm...

    Ahhh. a cute bear..doesn’t that make you feel better? Bet they eat them somewhere. China? Hmmm…

     

     

    Baguio – The Filipino capital 0f dog meat

    Up in Baguio, a small hill village north of Manila that tries to hide it self in the low misty clouds, dog meat is considered a cultural heritage. Although the meat is illegal many of the restuarants openly, almost proudly, sell the stuff. And the police do nothing. Why? Because they eat meat too! It’s  difficult to shift a pattern of beliefs when they grow out of the soil under your feet. There is also a Korean population here.  If you are a puppy with some meat on your legs you should always worry about hanging out near Koreans.

    On the drive up Andrew makes endless calls to try and secure the raid on the dog trucks that we are planning in the next few days.

    ‘We are waiting for help from the mayor.’ says Andrew putting down the phone with a sigh

    What’s going on? Every vicinity in Philippines is presided over by a mayor , i find out, and everything has to go past the damn mayor. He has god-like power. If he doesn’t like the colour of your socks you are DUST. One local mayor subdued drug dealing by painting vast signs on the front of a suspected dealer’s house saying ‘I DEAL DRUGS’. I think the guy got done by vigilantes. Either that or he sold loads more drugs. Either the way they Mayors are a law unto themselves.

    Unfortunately we need teh mayor’s go-ahead for the dog truck raid over the next few days.

     

    Arriving at the dog meat restaurant.

    There are 14 restuarants in Baguio that Network for Animals have identified as selling dog meat. A brisk trade, then.

    We go to one of the the restaurants.

    The welcoming sign outside the dog-meat restaurant

    The welcoming sign outside the dog-meat restaurant

    Kind of trashy. An old metal sign that leads down some sodden concrete steps.

    Frank, a passionate videographer who has filmed baby seals being clubbed to death to raise awareness and still manages to have a sense of humour, wires himself up with a hidden camera. I take mine in openly as if a tourist. Since I am with a car load of vegans, and since there isn’t much to eat at motorway service stations apart from burgers I have spent the last 7 hours in the car both meat-free and BLOODY FAMISHED. Not a good state in which to go into a dog-meat restaurant. Don’t be tempted Martin.

    The woman behind the counter- the owner –  is shifty. She sees my camera and looks at me distrustingly. I smile. Like any hungry tourist would in a dog meat restaurant. The place is dingy, low light, grotty, fairly empty. We have missed the lunch serving.

    We are late for lunch.

    We are late for lunch.

    We sit down in half darkness and a waitress comes over and immediately offers us ‘Chicken, beef or pulatan stew’  Each item is about 2 dollars but the pulatan has a 10% premium. ‘Pulatan’  is dog meat. You pay for the privilege – not much, after all dog is fairly cheap to source and kill but it does carry a cost for being illegal.

    I try to get access to the kitchen but they are clearly defensive.

    I try to get access to the kitchen but they are clearly defensive.

    We try to ask about the ‘pulutan’ but the woman behind the counter loses her cool, reprimanding her waitress for offering it us before telling us we can’t have it.  But not before we have the video footage on the sting camera.

     

    A man barks at me.

    Andrew then whispers in my ear ‘See that guy over there, he’s just ordered pulatan too, his stew will be out in a few minutes. Lets try and stay here a little longer’

    A man two tables away is having some soup , apparently a common forerunner to dog meat. While Andrew talks to the lady at the counter I hover with my camera.

    The stew comes out to the man. Guess what? The dog meat looks like….MEAT. Nothing weird about it. Course not, what would be weird?  I bumble up to him in my best naive but irritating-british-tourist kind of way and ask if i can take his picture.  Naturally he tells me to stick it and covers his food with his hand but not before I have already fired off five pictures. He gets up angrily and barks something at me (eaten too much dog have we?) and brushes past me.

    IMG_5450

    Dog meat..hmmm, kind of looks like beef.

    Dog meat..hmmm, kind of looks like beef.

    I look at the food.

    What do I feel about it?

    My reaction is predictable. I feel nothing whatsoever.

    Why?

    Because it’s just meat. Of course it is. But that is the point. We are conditioned to accept meat – whether it is roasted, fried or sliced. Thank fully I had no desire whatsoever to try some of it but you know what? I feel kind of an arsehole for NOT eating it. Why the hell shouldn’t I if I eat pig?

    But there you go. I join the legion of other irrational people that care for animals….and eat it. I’m feeling more of a fool every day.

    But here is the crazy bit…

    …the man who has strode angrily out of the shop then decides to turn back into the restaurant and ask for the illegal meat to be packed up… to go. Yes, that’s right, he wants a  DOGGY BAG to take his dog meat home.

    THAT’S HOW MUCH THEY LOVE THEIR POOCHES UP HERE.

    I can’t feel angry at him.

    We walk out hastily. When we are back in the car Andrew shifts in his seat.

    ‘See the sign for that restaurant?’  I look up.

    ‘Yep, why?’

    ‘I wonder if San Miguel know they are the sponsor of a restaurant that sells illegal dog meat? ‘

    This is how the compassionate mind must work . It’s not all about stroking cute animals.  Try and get leverage from the big brands. Mix things up a little.

    Anyone have any thoughts on how we could get this message out to San Miguel??? I’m sure those animal loving Spaniards wouldn’t want to be associated with anything as barbaric as this?

    Let’s try it.

    Post divide