Our booth at Mooji's concert for the Shelter.
Dear People. Dear Animal Lovers. Dear Supporters.
Namaskaram. I bow to your Inner-most Selves.
This is a Special Report. It is deep. It is moving. It is not processed. Plastic. Or edited in a way to zip right along. I’ve never written anything publicly like this.
Our beloved Shelter is going beautifully. To visit it is healing. One experiences Spaciousness and Love. Animal lovers experiencing it for the first time often get teary because they didn’t know a place such as this existed.
The Voiceless Ones, except for those that are infectious and contagious, run free and are happy. They are not “in captivity” simply passing their precious lives. They have choices. Of friends. Of activities: To be solitary. To be social…To run. To play…To snuggle. To sleep…To pass the time watching the World go by…To be grumpy. To be loving…To simply be themselves—each day, throughout the day…To change, whenever……
The Staff. How special they are. How genuinely they relate to and care for the Precious Ones. It is truly a place…Of Love…Of Life…And, most of all, of Heart.
We are all very, very grateful it unfolded to be what it is. It didn’t happen thru any penetrating, deep planning. The motivation was always pure. From moment to moment, from day to day, it was always imbued with love, caring, and intelligence. And what happened, what evolved, is this wonderful, wonderful place.
We couldn’t have worked harder, but almost all the important things happened magically thru Grace. I personally believe in a Divine Being, a Master of the Universe and I truly believe that this is a Divine Manifestation, not simply the result of our hard, dedicated effort…Those of you who don’t share my belief can say, “You’re off the wall, Leslie…You guys did a magnificent job.” And I say to you, “Okay, so you believe whatever you want.” And being a liberal, giving space and credence for other opinions, I say back to you, “Fine. You guys believe whatever you want. But you’re so wrong. And that’s not the way it is!!! This place, this oasis of compassion and healing, is simply not the result of any person’s actions, or efforts."
In this Report I want to focus on one happening. One incredible, complex expression of compassion, caring, and Grace that unfolded so beautifully. I am deeply proud of the Staff that so lifted what could have been, what would have been, what should have been such deep suffering for six vulnerable creatures—Leo, Lady, Winnie, Oscar, Max, and Muffin—two 9 month old German Shepherds, one three year old Himalayan Shepherd, a five year old Lab, and two Indian dogs—an eleven year old, and a fourteen year old.
It conveys some of the sensitivity and awareness with which we’re blessed that surfaces to handle things compassionately as we move from situation to situation…Om Namah Shivaya.
This involves a lovely being, a lady, who had lived here for thirty-five years. She encountered some serious visa problems, real ones, not created by some “bureaucratic mind”. It happened feverishly fast—three days from the time she first heard ‘til the time she had to leave the Country. I’ll give her the name Eethera.
She built a fine life here. Her footprints on the Planet were big, and thru her good works she was able to lift a lot of suffering. AND she was a total Animal Lover. She had these six whom she adored. She had each since they were pups. Leo, Lady, Winnie, Oscar, Max, and Muffin.
We met--Eethera, Dr.Raja, Vishwa, and myself. For 2 1/2 hours. The situation was incredibly complicated and intense. We arranged to meet again the following morning. (She was supposed to leave the day after that.) It gave space for things to settle down and to move towards clarity.
She called me that night, and I said, “Eethera, my mind is still confused. It’s too soon. Wait until morning.”
She called me 7am the following morning, and said she couldn’t meet early because she had to go to the Police Department. I was not pleased. Our meeting was set for 3pm. I called Dr. Raja and Vishwa, and the three of us met in a local restaurant.
I’m not usually affected strongly emotionally when we go thru very difficult things, I just do what’s needed, and focus on keeping my Heart and Awareness open. But in this situation, the night before, I got teary and was deeply afraid for her six Furry Ones, and what they might have to go thru.
In the morning, though, once Vishwa, Dr. Raja, and I started discussing possibilities, things lightened, and it was clear that we could do a lot to soften the blow.
One major problem was that her dogs weren’t typical “owner dogs”.
For example, by typical, we have an older dog, Jingles, that we took in over a year ago. She was loved by her owners, but she wasn’t the center of the family or the center of attention. They went thru difficult circumstances where they simply could not care for her. Because they had done so much for the Shelter, we took her. After getting over the separation, she has a good life with us and is happy.
Eethera’s life revolved around these creatures. She lived in a two story, non-traditional house that had a lot of nooks and crannies. The Furry Ones had the run of the house. And she was with them throughout the day. She kept two large tubs of water they could soak in to keep cool during the Hot Season. They had the run of the yard. The house itself was set in a sparsely populated area. It was ¾ km from a small lake. Every day they went for a walk and four of them adored the water.
Eethera’s Precious Ones just wouldn’t fit into the Shelter. They’d be unhappy, and probably end up getting into a lot of conflicts. And it’s hard to find homes for adult dogs. But Vishwa thought he might be able to find homes for the four pedigrees. (It was critical.) The two Indian dogs, aged eleven and fourteen were more sedentary and might be happy in the Shelter.
Just as an aside, when people are moving, we will not take in their dogs, and find homes for them. That’s not what we’re here for. We’re fully engaged with what we do, and don’t have the resources to deal with those situations, which they can handle (perhaps with some effort). But this was an exception, a circumstance we’d never before encountered.
And this is the setting with perhaps the deepest, most complex, rescue you will ever read about.
Dr. Raja, Vishwa and I decided to meet with Eethera on the upper floor of her house, and to take Venkatesh (from our Staff) along to start forming a bond with the Furry Ones on the ground floor while we met.
We knew that we couldn’t just take them into the Shelter and let them run free. They had to be in a large retaining area. There was only one that was suitable. It had a high chain link fence around it (25ft x 30ft). There was a hut inside that had a good coconut leaf roof, and open entrance, and benches along the sides. It was in the center of the garden, so the dogs could run around and have a view of everything that was going on. Vishwa had it prepared.
Eethera called around noon. We met straight away. At the meeting she “dropped the bomb”. It turned out she wasn’t leaving the next day but had to leave 7pm that very night.
This now had the potential to be shatteringly traumatic for the poor creatures.
It was important that Eethera be present when they were moved. At 3:30pm Vishwa and Eethera took the dogs to the Shelter in a lorry. Their eating bowls had been taken to the hut, along with a few familiar pieces of furniture. Venkatesh was there to greet them, and was going to sleep with them throughout the night. (Actually, to stay with them continuously for the first 48 hours, and to sleep with them the first two nights.) Eethera had a caretaker that the dogs really liked. She was in Chennai when they were moved. But Vishwa picked her up 9pm at the bus stand that first night and brought her to the Shelter for a few hours. She returned in the morning, and was hired for the next three weeks.
It went off beautifully. They were fed and given treats shortly after they arrived at the Shelter.
Venkatesh, after the first two days, “double shifted” for two weeks so he was with them a number of hours during the day and night.
Eethera’s food lasted for four days. Then they got special, special fare. (Pedigree, milk, eggs, rice/chicken).
Vishwa arranged to take the four younger pedigrees for two walks a day on retractable leashes, each walk lasting one to two hours.
Vishwa was able to find good homes for the four pedigrees. Tho’ he had good homes for the two German Shepherds (Leo and Lady), he fell in love with them and they now live with Vishwa in beautiful circumstances out of town.
Max (the Lab), and Winnie (the Himalayan Shepherd) went to beautiful homes. They were two families that lived outside of town in the country. Each had land. One had two children; the other four—between the ages of six and twelve.
The dogs were all with us for a month. And each of the prospective adopters came to the Shelter between twelve and fifteen times. We had earlier decided that we would wait until the dogs were emotionally ready to be adopted.
As for Leo and Lady, the young German Shepherds, their home at Vishwa’s is like heaven itself…There’s a lot of land and open fields behind his house…He has three children…But Leslie, his ten-year old (The name sound familiar?), has a special relationship with the dogs and they adore each other. And, of course, they love Vishwa and he loves back. On most days they’re taken to the lake near Eethera’s old house, for a swim…and he goes in with them…Vishwa said they’ve become so strong they almost overpower him…I pity anyone who tries to harm Vishwa if they’re around.
Then there’s Oscar and Muffin, the two older Indian dogs, who are adjusting nicely to the Shelter. It takes time, but they’re given a lot of love and support, and they are content and increasingly into their new life…It really helps that they’re good friends…After the first week, we started introducing them to life on the Veranda. Starting with a half-hour, and increasing the time each day. We had decided that we wouldn’t place the other dogs until they were full-time on the Veranda mixing with more dogs, so they wouldn’t feel abandoned when the others went to their new homes.
I am so, so proud of the Shelter Staff. This is just one happening. There are many, many. And all this is taking place with all the other activities happening…AND 200 other in-patient dogs.
I place my head at their feet.
Om Namah Shivaya
This brings us to the end of the Report.
Hoping that each of you is doing excellently...That you're unfolding beautifully and strongly, inside. My Baba said that nothing is gained without some inner austerity. I sometimes think of it in wordly terms for myself as, "Growing up ain't easy!"
As in previous reports, I've included a collection of photos. Hoping you enjoy them. Remember...the theme is simply LOVE.
THE PRECIOUS ONES NEED US...AND WE NEED YOU.
RECURRING DONATIONS, EVEN QUITE MODEST ONES, ARE BEST FOR US.
PLEASE...KEEP YOUR SUPPORT COMING.
With love, blessings, and wishes for all things good...May we all be blessed with more compassionate understanding.
Leslie, The Ageing Expatriate Warrior
Dr. Raja with his magical hands and Pure Heart.
Our beloved Staff--Here for the Precious Ones.
They may not look like heroes. But they are.
These are two of the Precious Ones that need us.
And these two sweeties, also.
This Precious One's hair has recently grown back.
Her coat was like this Little Ones two months ago.
We treat any creature in need.
And I do mean, any!
Love is so important!
Without it deep healing doesn't take place.
This is Robinson, Vishwa's son!
This is Eethara's Max in his new home.
The land around Max's new home.
This is Eethera's German Shepherds, Leo and Lady.
Vishwa giving Leo and Lady shampoos.
And this is Eethera's Winnie being loved.
And this is Leslie (Vishwa's daughter) & Leslie.
Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche...Blessings. Blessings.