• 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!

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    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…

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  • DAY 261: 24 HOURS FROM DEATH AND NOW BRITAIN’S CUTEST STAFFY?

    Jun 13 2013

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    It’s been quite a while since I ran the campaign to find Britain’s Cutest Staffy with the wonderful All Dogs Matter charity. Finally… I have some images of the winner, Jess, a gorgeous black staffie that visited the studio recently.

    It so happens that Jess is a rescue staffie.

    Her story is typical of so many like her. Kate, her owner, describes it in her own words:

    “Jess was on death row, 24 hours away from being put to sleep before she was rescued by the charity. We lost our previous Staffie after 13 years so was looking to adopt when Jess came along. After having her for 48 hours she was rushed to the vets and underwent an emergency operation for Pyometra. The vets removed 2 kilo of womb and infection from her and said it was the worst case they’d seen. She is now the Mascot for Room for One More Staffie Rescue, and we would not be without her.”

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    Kate and partner with Jess – one very happy dog.

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    Looking back on that campaign I realise it was a bit of a shambles. My fault entirely.

    I had no idea what I was doing and consequently raised almost no money for the wonderful All Dogs Matter charity and I never even got the number of the winner of the puppy section (whose dog is no probably big enough to pull a truck). I  wonder too if I have changed anyone’s minds about these beautiful dogs. Except my own. Which is something. Through meeting many of them I’ve come to know them as gentle, warm creatures. I really hope more people realise that too.

     

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    Jess is right there at the top in number 1 position!

    winners

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  • DAY 223: MANGO UPDATE – FROM LONELY BACKSTREET TO INTERNATIONAL STARDOM

    May 11 2013
    Mango is due to come to the UK in a few months once she has done her course of antibiotics

    Mango is due to come to the UK in a few months once she has done her course of antibiotics

    Mango is now officially British – she has appeared in the Daily Mail Online.

    She’ll soon be eating fish and chips, hailing black cabs and complaining about the weather.

    Read here:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2322974/Blog-campaign-saved-puppy-Phillipines-dog-meat-markets-Now-needs-loving-home-UK.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

    TO DONATE MUCH NEEDED FUNDS TO THIS YEAR-LONG PROJECT CLICK HERE

    PLEASE NOTE:

    You can still buy prints of Mango hereHOWEVER,  because we now have enough money to transport her back to the UK and because the Year To Help funds are DISASTROUSLY overdrawn the money will go to funding the project and helping more animals.

    (incidentally, if anyone out there knows how on EARTH I can raise more money to keep this project alive till the end of the 365 days please send a message to martin@yeartohelp.com. I’m so over budget I might tip Britain into a quadruple dip recession. I need the advice and a chat with a fundraiser or sponsorship type person. I’m rubbish at it. thank you. )

    Well done Wigan Athletic fans! Mango 1... Man City 0

    Well done Wigan Athletic !

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  • DAY 221: UPDATE ON DELHI STREET PUPPY

    May 07 2013
    Tammy with new bandage who is now safe at the Frendicoes rescue centre in Delhi.

    Tammy with new bandage who is now safe at the Frendicoes rescue centre in Delhi.

    I wanted to check up on the little Delhi street dog with the leg scar that had followed me the other day.

    ‘Tommy’, (who is in fact a girl – let’s call her Tammy for now) ended up being taken to a charity shelter called ‘Friendicoes’, which happens to be the dog shelter started and run by Kartick’s working partner at Wildlife SOS, Geeta Seshamani

    I went to visit the shelter and Tammy bounded up to me perfectly happy despite the large strapping on her legs that had been put on to treat the wound.

    'Tammy' rushes to play with me. Puppies seem to be immune to a certain amount of misery.

    ‘Tammy’ rushes to play with me. Puppies seem to be immune to a certain amount of misery.

    Tammy posing

    Tammy posing

    Friendicoes, a dog sanctuary/charity in Delhi

    Friendicoes, the dog sanctuary/charity in Delhi

    Geeta Seshamani, who runs the dog sanctuary Frendicoes and also co-runs Wildlife SOS, posing with some of her rescued dogs

    Geeta Seshamani, who runs the dog sanctuary Frendicoes and also co-runs Wildlife SOS, posing with some of her rescued dogs

    People waiting to be seen at Frendicoes

    People waiting to be seen at Frendicoes

    The enthusiasm of youth seems to immunise puppies from a certain amount of pain. And now her life had changed completely and she didn’t seem too fazed – from a dirty car park to a rescue centre and soon…she’ll be going to a new home.

    While I was at the centre I looked around at the other dogs there. Whereever you go in the world there is a level of brutality to some dogs that is hard to understand.

    Another dog that came in with severe burns. Sometimes people throw battery acid over dogs they don't like.

    Another dog that came in with severe burns. Sometimes people throw battery acid over dogs they don’t like.

    This dog was attacked multiple times with a knife. Who knows why...

    This dog was attacked multiple times with a knife. Who knows why…

    This dog had his lower jaw totally crushed in an accident but is now already able to eat again thanks to the help of Frendicoes

    This dog had his lower jaw totally crushed in an accident but is now already able to eat again thanks to the help of Frendicoes

    Tammy is going to be cared for until she recovers and then they’ll look to find her a new life.  I’ll try and keep up with her story but if anyone wants to donate directly to the centre they are desperately in need of cash (or to me, marked ‘TAMMY’ and  I’ll make sure its passed on to her directly)

    Tammy with an old man hanging outside the rescue cetnre

    Tammy with an old man hanging outside the rescue cetnre

     

    A dog watches the scenery outside the rescue centre

    A dog watches the scenery outside the rescue centre

     

    As per usual you can buy any prints from this blog according to the sizes of the prints here, marking your donation TAMMY so I can make sure it gets to them.

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  • DAY 189: DO YOU REMEMBER CORDELIA FROM INDIA?

    Apr 01 2013

     

    Cordelia - the 'cow-dog'. She was almost totally blind but still looked at me in a way that shot through

    Cordelia – the ‘cow-dog’. She was almost totally blind but her eyes seemed to say a lot. At least to me

    Some sad news on Cordelia, the blind dog that I kind of fell in love with in India.

    This is my last day in the Philippines and tomorrow I will give you some better news but in the meantime I got a few emails asking about Cordelia the poor pup in India that I wrote about a while back and I wanted to update you.

    I’ve been in touch with Avis, the inspirational woman from the ARK, many time over the last few months. She’s had a fairly rough ride of late and maybe one day I’ll be able to tell you about it but she’s back at the helm again now and her daughter, Odette, has joined her for support.

    I’m afraid that Cordelia got put down yesterday.

    She had been diagnosed as fully blind and was continuing to be bullied by the puppies. She was placed into her own space but then started fitting repeatedly and the decision was made that given all the circumstances and her health it would be kinder to put her to sleep.

    The bed where she felt comfortable. Which kind of reminded me of a boat.  It makes me think of max in where the wild things are - I imagine she might float off to a better place now. No more wild things for you Cordelia

    The bed where she felt comfortable. Which kind of reminded me of a boat. The way she sat in it made me think of Max in ‘where the wild things are’ – I imagine she might float off to a better world now. No more wild things for you Cordelia

    I feel terrible. And I also feel I have let her down. I am sure I could  have done more.

    I got the news on my phone today and sat where I was for a number of minutes, pressing a pause button in my head so that I might be able to keep the world from flowing and changing.

    I’m not quite sure why Cordelia got to me so much, both in life and death.  I felt for her more than any dog I have met on this whole journey and now I wonder if could have bought  her to the UK (it would have taken many months), or maybe raised money for some in-depth treatment. Too late now.

    Perhaps guilt is a way of trying to avoid feeling helpless.

     

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    Underdog

    Cordelia represented the genuine ‘underdog’ to me, not just for her own species but all animals:  terrified of human abuse, blind, attacked by others, unable to accept companionship. She was so wrapped in self-protection that I couldn’t properly touch her. Of course that made me want to reach her even more. She was beautiful too.

    In another world, a cinematic world, I imagine her as a human child, bullied at school and wearing awkward thick glasses and looking to the floor but with an obvious beauty.  No doubt in that film she would emerge as a striking woman, comfortable in her skin.

    But Cordelia is no more and this reality is not a film. Nevertheless, I feel I could have directed a different ending. But maybe that is just a fantasy too.

    Spare a thought for Cordelia the little cow-dog with those funny markings. In some foolish part of my brain I think if we all send her on her way it might make a difference.

    Cordelia never wanted to connect. I don't blame her

    Cordelia never wanted to connect. I don’t blame her

     

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  • DAY 148: ARRIVAL IN SPAIN! I MEET MY FIRST GALGO DOGS

    Feb 08 2013
    Charlotte Del Rio and her pack of Galgos that she rescued. Without her they'd be dead.

    Charlotte Del Rio and her pack of Galgos that she rescued. Without her they’d be dead.

     

    SUFFERING VS HUMANITY ….HUMANITY WINS!

    Only a few hours after arriving here in Spain I feel inspired, touched, energised.

    I’m just outside Malaga, south of Spain, in small, rural ‘finca’  -or farm house – surrounded by rescued Galgos (Spanish Greyhound hunting dogs) and the family of Charlotte Del Rio, the woman responsible for giving these dogs a new life.

    (Ann, you are right it is a little bit sunnier here than London)

    Click to read more >>>>

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