• UPDATE ON THE ARK IN INDIA – surprising news.

    Dec 18 2013

    Blog5_Keraladogs_9

    Avis Lyons, the inspirational founder of Animal Rescue Kerala, has decided to shut down her charity in India.

    This is hard to hear.

    A combination of her weakening health and the inept, inert local government that refuses to cooperate with her animal birth control programme means she can no longer do viable work.

    After  12 years of effort, she is left with a sanctuary full of rescued animals that she refuses to abandon but which she cannot sustain. She desperately needs our help to rehome the dogs she has under her care.

    dogkerala_5

    Please click here to see the animals in need of adoption

    Please write to tails@worldlywags.org if you think you might be able to help adopt a dog

    Please click here to donate money which I can pass on directly to her (mark as ‘FOR ARK’)

     

    Blog5_Keraladogs_8If there is one person over the last year that represents the fierce, mad, compassionate energy needed to work in the face of so much suffering it is Avis. Ageing, weakened by a fight with cancer, often alone in a country that was fairly alien to her,  she was driven by a selfless desire to help the misery suffered by so many dogs and other animals on the streets of India.

    blog5_keraladogs_16

    Avis wasn’t perfect. She took on too much, she could be impulsive and sometimes impatient – but she had, she still has, the most vibrant and precious spirit. I spent much of my year trying to understand what compassion really meant. Avis, I think, explained it to me. She leapt into the unknown, following her heart where her head must have warned her not to go and responded immediately and dearly to any being that needed it.

    Doing so comes with risk. Things don’t always work out. And so she finds herself in a painful position.

    blog5_keraladogs_11

    I had a conversation with Avis some time ago where she intimated, with some sadness, that she had not succeeded in her goals. She felt her ABC (animal birth control) programme was not going well, that too many dogs continued to suffer, that she was overwhelmed by legal and cultural resistance.

    What was she talking about?

    To struggle to do what is right, to fight against overwhelming cultures of cruelty and to respond to every creature with  compassion…what more can one do?

    It was almost a year ago to the very day I found myself in India. It was in the middle of the night and I watched Avis rescue a tiny puppy that was abandoned by its mother, turning circles by the side of the road as traffic passed within inches.

    Avis scooped it up and gave it a chance.

    Please now give Avis some help.

    4Y1A6917

    WHAT YOU CAN DO TO  HELP

     

     

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  • DAY 308: BACK IN THE UK AND FOX WALKS INTO OUR HOUSE.

    Jul 29 2013
    Not the baby fox in our garden but very similar - ours is hiding deep inside a thick rose bush alluding photos...

    Not the baby fox in our garden but very similar – ours is hiding deep inside a thick rose bush alluding photos…

     

    Dear all, 

    I am now safely back in the UK. I thought I had left the wilds behind until a few hours ago a fox walked into our kitchen. Thank goodness that nature reminds us we are not alone. Turns out that a baby fox is living in rose bush at the end of our garden and the mother is on the prowl for food.  Yes, the baby lives IN the rose bush. Our dog Moose is about to collapse from anger, he stands beneath the plant become more and more furious and we have to take him away. The baby fox seems very relaxed about it. I’m trying to teach Moose about co-existence but I don’t think its in his DNA – except when he wants to snuggle up on the bed.

    I’m afraid I don’t have a lot to report in this post but that is not because too little is happening but because too much is happening.

    I am in flux…and a tiny bit of chaos, so the bloggage is … blocked up

    I am shortly about to turn my attention to European farms and how we treat our meaty friends. I want to look at pigs in particular and I want to stay in Europe.  I want to see what sort of pain goes into a plate of a western meal.

    But my work on wild animals is not quite over even though time is fast running out on my year.

    Two not-so-wild animals. Moose and bug sleep on each other's faces in the back of the car on their way to a walk. Nice to be back with the family

    Two not-so-wild animals. Moose and bug sleep on each other’s faces in the back of the car on their way to a walk. Nice to be back with the family

    The badger cull has not yet begun and when it will I want to be involved in the resistance (yes, we will fight the Nazis on the beaches, we will fight them in the woods). Quite how I can stop the shooting I am not too sure but apparently it involves wearing high-vis jackets and making lots of noise…and NOT dressing as a badger.

    Also, over the next few days I am meeting with the police and their Wildlife Crime Unit to see what sort of illegal wildlife contraband has been smuggled through the UK. I’m keen to show that pangolins are not a distant problem. Even in London  there is a demand and through-route for the wild animals from distant jungles. Chinese shops sell illegal bear-bile products, even high end clothing retailers sell illegal ivory in teh form of shaving brushes. I will go and photograph some of this haul to show just how bad it is.

    And then on to pigs… it’s all too ridiculously big to deal with in this short space of time. But I’ve already had a tip-off about where I shoudl go in Europe to see some bad pig practices…and I’m due to watch a film called ‘Earthlings’…anyone seen it. I’m dreading it.

     

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  • DAY 280: DOGS AWAITING SLAUGHTER WEIGH HEAVY ON MY MIND AS I VISIT RESCUED PANGOLINS IN HANOI

    Jul 02 2013
    The wildlife rescue centre in Hanoi where I went to visit the remaining living pangolin - and where I was not allowed to take photos

    The wildlife rescue centre in Hanoi where I went to visit the remaining living pangolin – and where I was not allowed to take photos

    I’ve not slept well.

    I’ve been thinking about the remaining three dogs in the restaurant cell, awaiting their end. Is this sloppy British sentimentalism – or reasonable compassion?

    I’ve had to leave at 6am to get to Hanoi to see the pangolins before it’s too late. They too are about to perish in the rescue centre after their ordeal enroute to China. This is why I am here. I have to see them.

    The four hour journey from jungle to city has me wracked. I want to go back and rescue those dogs – or at least the youngest, the one with the hopeful stare – but at the same time it’s no solution. I have no where to put them and if they are released on to the street they will be caught again. The m0ney will just back into the dog meat treade. They are agressive too…and nervous and likely very sick.  And yet I am here to help. Fuck. If I was tougher I would put them on a rope and walk to Hanoi. I am not that man.

    Perhaps I should be

    I visited the government wildlife ‘rescue centre’ north of Hanoi to see the pangolins – but was only allowed if I took no photos of the pangolins (why I have no idea). A vast concrete complex, empty and parched and  sad, like a third world school out of hours. Occasional officials in smart uniforms strutting with communistic pride but otherwise full of echoes and emptiness. Then, far at the back, endless cages, some small, some vast, tuffed full of ‘seized’ wildlife from the trade.

    Young tigers, frantic civets, nervous gibbons,wide-eyed Loris, jungle cats, vast birds of prey. Hopelessly out of context in metal cages that stand in the heat. The animals are waiting for something that will never come: release. What will happen to them?  These are the so called lucky ones – the ones that have been caught from the traders but I fear for their future. This is no place for the sick animals and I can not imagine that many do well.

    the civets and pangolins were in the dark cages below the windows. I was not able to photograph them. grim

    the civets and pangolins were in the dark cages below the windows. I was not able to photograph them. grim

    The bare rescue centre

    The bare rescue centre

    Gibbon and child

    Gibbon and child

    IMG_6135

     

    Stroking a tiger

    I find myself stroking a tiger through the cage. A stupid thing to do but weirdly appropriate for this lawless non-zoo. I guess I want to give some human touch. A gibbon reaches out and tries to grab me with its long arms. It has a  baby that is so small that it has escaped the cage and sits on top  in new found freedom unsure of where to go next. Go back in to your mother before you grow to big! Or maybe just run….

    Then we see the pangolins. Depressing as hell. We walk into a  circular concrete building that has around it’s perimeter two rows of cages at floor height. Every single one has a civet inside it – a cat like creature that sells for about $30 on the market for meat – except for two cages that each have a small pangolin inside, rolled up into the inevitable ball on the hard concrete. Even I can see they are emaciated. These are the only two survivors of the 57 that were confiscated on the border of vietnam and china.

    Why the hell can’t these go to the proper rescue centre up in Cuc Phuong National Park where I was staying? Paperwork apparently. I ask to see the dead pangolins (7 of the 57 initially survived and were transported down here, 5 then died). But I am not allowed? Why? Why? I fear they have already been sold for meat to restaurants.  There are no answers here and I feel short changed.

     

    BACK FOR THE DOGS!

    Screw it. I’m going back to the jungle to rescue those dogs. I’ve decided. I’ll find a way. Enough animals in cages. I’m calling the pangolin rescue centre and will ask them to go and stop them being killed. Act first and worry later. There must be a home for them in Hanoi (where they eat dogs…Martin, what are you doing??????)

    Will report back…

     

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  • DAY 268: A GUEST PORTFOLIO FROM A GREAT DOG SUPPORTER

    Jun 20 2013
    A photo by Shane Green of a dog at the Tree of Life for Animals out in India.

    A photo by Shane Green of a dog at the Tree of Life for Animals out in India.

    One of the most heartwarming things about this year long journey is all of you.

    You’ve probably guessed by now that although I’m travelling a lot on the plane (and I’m off again in a few days – news to follow) this journey is more about visiting parts of my mind than it is other physical destinations. Places that I’ve neglected for too long: fears, doubts and contradictions in my understanding of our relationship to animals .

    And so it makes a huge difference to have you on the ride.

    An early supporter is a man called Shane Green who I have still not met but he clearly shares a huge love of dogs. He also happens to be a rather wonderful photographer. When I was out in India last it so happened he was too, visiting and taking pictures of dogs at a rescue centre in Rajasthan, India called Tree of Life for Animals who clearly do great work.

    Unfortunately we did not meet but he sent me these inspiring photos.Check out his slideshow here

    Check out Tree of life here: http://www.tolfa.org.uk/

    Helping animals – helping people. from shane green on Vimeo.

     

    Shane tells how TOFLA was started by an inspirational British Vet Nurse called Rachel Wright who saw how a small town in India was clearing the streets of dogs for a festival using inhumane methods that sometimes involved tying dogs to trees in the hot desert.

    Good work Shane. Wishing your dog Lulu a speedy recovery.

    Photo copyright Shane Green

    Photo copyright Shane Green

    Photo copyright Shane Green

    Photo copyright Shane Green

    Photo copyright Shane Green

    Photo copyright Shane Green

    Photo copyright Shane Green

    Photo copyright Shane Green

    Photo copyright Shane Green

    Photo copyright Shane Green

    Photo copyright Shane Green

    Photo copyright Shane Green

    A photo by Shane Green of a dog at the Tree of Life for Animals out in India.

    A photo by Shane Green of a dog at the Tree of Life for Animals out in India.

    Photo copyright Shane Green

    Photo copyright Shane Green

    SGGL0903

    Photo copyright Shane Green

    Photo copyright Shane Green

    Photo copyright Shane Green

    Photo copyright Shane Green

    Photo copyright Shane Green

    Photo copyright Shane Green

    Photo copyright Shane Green

    Photo copyright Shane Green

    Photo copyright Shane Green

    Photo copyright Shane Green

    Photo copyright Shane Green

    Photo copyright Shane Green

    Photo copyright Shane Green

    Photo copyright Shane Green

    Photo copyright Shane Green

    Photo copyright Shane Green

    Photo copyright Shane Green

    Photo copyright Shane Green

    Photo copyright Shane Green

    Photo copyright Shane Green

    Photo copyright Shane Green

    Photo copyright Shane Green

     

     

     

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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 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.

     

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  • Day 185: I HAVEN’T FORGOTTEN YOU, GALGOS – some cover designs for a possible book

    Mar 28 2013
    A possible cover for a book on Galgos (and podencos)?

    A possible cover for a book on Galgos (and podencos)?

    While we continue wait to rescue the dogs bound for the restaurants I’m still thinking very hard about the photo book I want to do on the Galgos, the spanish hunting dogs, to raise awareness for their plight.

    I want the book to be big, coffee table size, and hardback. So it sits on teh table and says ‘LOOK AT ME!’

    Here are some possible covers. I’m thinking they should be embossed in DISTRESSED GOLD to get across the regal nature of these dogs. Which do you think is best?

    By the way if anyone knows anyone with lots of cash who wants to make this book happen put them in touch. It will take a few visits to spain.

    OPTION 2: Big and bold? Gold lettering across the front

    OPTION 2: Big and bold? Gold lettering across the front

     

    A more understated book - covered in fine linen with gold embossing. The colours reflect the spanish national flag (but also of course bull fighting...and blood)

    OPTION 3:  a more understated book – covered in fine linen with gold embossing. The colours reflect the spanish national flag (but also of course bull fighting…and blood). This is more in the tradtion of the fine-art photo book

     

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  • DAY 165: 7 REASONS TO BE (sort of) CHEERFUL…

    Feb 27 2013
    EBRO STANDS FOR FIRST TIME!!!

    EBRO STANDS FOR FIRST TIME…gulp!

    After all this bad news a sprinkling of good news..

    OK, this doesn’t make up for the sorry situation of the lost Galgo and Podenco in the last post, but its something positive at least. Feast on it while you can.

     

    1) Ebro, the Galgo that we suspect had both his front legs deliberately broken, has stood up for the first time. He’s done so actually a little BEFORE he is meant to but you can’t keep a good dog down

    GO EBRO !

    Resting on his front legs.

    Resting on his front legs.

    If any dog’s story is symbolic of the power of recovery in the face of so much suffering then his is the story.

    Click to read more >>>>

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  • Day 161: HUNTING A HUNTING DOG (part 1). Trying to catch an abandoned Galgo

    Feb 21 2013
    The town in which multiple abandoned Galgos had been seen

    The town in which multiple abandoned Galgos had been seen

    Could I spend a day trying to capture abandoned Galgos?

    How many abandoned Galgos are running loose throughout Spain anyway?

    How do you capture a very very fast Greyhound?

    How common is it to see tortured or dead Galgos?

    Click to read more >>>>

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  • VALENTINES SPECIAL – GALGO PRINTS FOR SALE: Buy photography, save dogs’ lives.

    Feb 14 2013
    Give some love, buy a print, help a dog in need

    Give some love, buy a print, help a dog in need

    Love dogs, not just each other!!!

    OK, my lovers.

    The Romeo and Juliet fantasy of romantic love is not the only type that counts: after all, it ended in young death, involves prickly roses and you might just fall off a balcony.

    Instead, why not love ALL things: nature, wildlife….dogs.

    Or…love a Galgo.

    arthouse

     

    If you want to read more about the terrible plight of these beautiful dogs please click here. They need YOUR help.

    Buy any one of the below prints and the money goes straight to saving Galgos (Spanish Greyhound hunting dogs).

    CLICK BELOW TO SEE THE PRINTS.

    Click to read more >>>>

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