Nov 5, 2016

The Incredible month of October

A face only a mother(and everyone here) could love
A face only a mother(and everyone here) could love

Hello Dear People,

It's mid-morning. Tiruvannamalai. I'm sitting in the Geman Bakery. Healthy food. "Killer" baked goods.

Got to sleep late last night. Just as I was starting on my "night feeding run"(I feed 20 to 30 dogs--Pedigree/hard baked biscuits,specially made--anywhere from a snack to a light meal, depending) on my Honda Activa, my rear tire blew. So I got a real late start. It's not a Shelter thing. It's a personal thing. Just feels good. I go part of the way around the mountain.

Haven't written in a while, almost three months. We've been busy. Very busy. Many of you know that the activity these last 2 1/2 years has increased exponentially. The average number of monthly visits to the clinic have increased from 340 to over 700 (ranging now from 500 to 750)...The average number of monthly rescues has increased from 40 to over 100. (These are cases above and beyond the clinic cases. They are almost all serious. And in almost all instances we go out to get them. Most are during the day, but a number are at night)...The number of monthly in-patient treatments has increased from 1100 to 1500.

  • The steady, strong increase in clinic visits is auspicious. It is a heartening reflection that people are opening their Hearts more and more to the Voiceless Ones, becoming more aware of, and caring more for them.
  • The strong increase in emergency rescues is ominous. Most of it is traffic-related. Tiruvannamalai has an almost unique traffic configuration that is increasing in intensity. And it is immensely dangerous and harmful for animals.

The amazing thing is that to walk around the streets, ours is probably one of the best scenes in the Country. And it visibly improves each year. However, lying underneath is one of the most severe traffic patterns for animals, not to mention people. And if the Shelter's services should stop at anytime, a floodgate would fill the streets with an unimaginable number of dying and suffering animals, numbering well over a thousand a year--not bringing it back to the awful situation that existed in 2007 when we opened, but to an almost unimaginable scene.

Also, as many of you know, that because of the increased activity, we need a much larger facility. It's amazing to me that the Shelter is crowded and yet is going so well. The energy inside feels so good, and the Voiceless Ones clearly feel safe, protected, and cared for...and are happy. I bow to our devoted Staff.

This is the mating season, so there are a lot of Little Ones. To reduce the Shelter population, we're considering renting a facility for a short while and using it for a foster home for twenty or thirty puppies. At our last Monday morning breakfast Staff meeting, I told Vishwa to increase the adoption activity. He has several college students who are trained to go out up to 100 kms looking for good homes for our Little Ones. He then goes to check them--the circumstances, the people, their motivation for wanting a pup. About fifty percent of them turn out to be good. The students are supposed to get 500 rupees for each puppy that is placed. He miraculously, in the last two days, has found homes for seven pups. (Sometimes, even with full effort, we'll only find four or five in a month!) Somehow we got into an exchange about the money involved. And Vishwa told me they won't take money from him, only expense reimbursement. He said they are doing it as a service and don't want the money. I was deeply moved. I told Vishwa to include them in the annual Diwali bonuses that are being given this week. Om Naman Shivaya.

And miracle of miracles...Historically there have been two major killers of our Precious Ones--parvovirus, and distemper.

  • Parvovirus had an overwhelming mortality, especially with young pups. There'd be no lead symptoms. Then one day they’d stop eating. The next day they died…Dr. Raja had a breakthrough about four or five years ago. There were two immunoglobulins developed in the West that were powerfully effective. It ended the threat. We now give a cocktail of the two to all incoming puppies as a prophylactic, which takes care of the problem. Only one injection! For the few cases that we get for treatment. An injection for three consecutive days is almost one hundred percent effective. 
  • But it is distemper that is the real biggie. It's a deadly viral disease (gastrointestinal, respiratory, central nervous system, and then brain) for which there is no generally known treatment. It is so contagious (can even be transferred thru the air) that during the distemper season, we treated our distemper cases in a totally separate foster facility. It was a long, involved treatment lasting four, five or six months. (I know of some facilities that didn’t even try treating but euthanized distemper cases because there was no treatment-only supportive therapies, and it was such an awful death.) We were in contact with several major veterinary colleges in the U.S. There was nothing promising being researched. Europe was the same. Just nothing. Dr. Raja tried dozens and dozens of things over the last six years. Some helped, marginally. He had developed a complex treatment regimen: Immunoglobulin, i.v.’s when needed, several homeopathic medicines, a strong ayurvedic immune system booster, Neurobion for nutrition plus mega doses of vitamin C, and anti-biotics for secondary infections…and, of course, a lot of loving. With all that care, almost all the young puppies still died, and he was only able to save 60 to 70 percent of the others. Fortunately he was able to keep them all comfortable….NOW…BLESSING OF BLESSINGS…FOR THE LAST TWO MONTHS (He had to wait this long to make sure the initial ten cases were symptom free.) HE FOUND A "SUPER-EFFECTIVE TREATMENT THAT WAS BURIED IN THE INTERNET. It involves the use of a vaccine made for Newcastle disease. He used it, at this point, on four adults and thirteen puppies. In cases where the disease has reached the central nervous system (there’s twitching like jerking) he gives them one injection directly in the spine--one mind you!!!—the very next day the twitching reduces 60 to 70 percent, and all other symptoms stop. For cases that have not yet reached the central nervous system he gives them two i.v.’s within 24 hours. The symptoms stop the day after the first i.v...THIS IS MAJOR…WE HAVE TO GO ABOUT SOLIDLY DOCUMENTING EVERYTHING…I told Dr. Raja to get “distemper kits” that can objectively establish distemper (because people could say, “Oh, they really didn’t have distemper”.)…And to take videos…THE REASON IT’S SO IMPORTANT TO DOCUMENT IS THAT IF IT’S GIVEN FULL CREDIBILITY AND ADOPTED BY VETERINARIANS AND SHELTERS ACROSS THE COUNTRY…IT CAN LIFT AN ENORMOUS AMOUNT OF SUFFERING AND SAVE HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF LIVES…The people who actually discovered the treatment don't have the necessary credibility, so it's not been broadly adopted. Om Namah Shivaya.

Well that’s it for this report Dear People…Leslie, The Ageing Expatriate Warrior, signing off...

With blessings and wishes for everything, good...May we all be showered with compassionate understanding...May we all be gentler and kinder to each other.                                                                                             

Morning nap time.
Morning nap time.
Leslie,age 3...Just before founding the Shelter.
Leslie,age 3...Just before founding the Shelter.
Leslie,age79...9 years after founding the Shelter.
Leslie,age79...9 years after founding the Shelter.
Dr. Raja on emergency call.
Dr. Raja on emergency call.
Three days, trapped. He'd given up hope.
Three days, trapped. He'd given up hope.
Towards freedom and life.
Towards freedom and life.
Don't worry Little One.
Don't worry Little One.
Warriors three...Prema. Hari. Denise.
Warriors three...Prema. Hari. Denise.
Thank you. Thank you...Dear Gandhi-ji.
Thank you. Thank you...Dear Gandhi-ji.
Aug 6, 2016

Om Namah Shivaya, dear People

Ricky...Our "Poster Boy".
Ricky...Our "Poster Boy".

Om Namah Shivaya, dear People,

The esoteric meaning is I bow to my Innermost Self. I learned that from my Guru.

He used to come out each evening (Remember…I’m an “old guy”…So that was a l-o-o-n-g time ago) and say, “I welcome you all with all my Heart…That is my most important worship…To welcome another human being with love”. It felt so good to be greeted like that.

And so Dear People…I welcome you all with all my Heart…I hope you are all doing beautifully… Joyfully bounding in the meadow. (For any of you that have seen Walt Disney’s Bambi…This might evoke memories of Thumper, a young rabbit, and Bambi, a young fawn, bounding around a sunny meadow, surrounded by forest trees…playing and laughing in the sun).

I just finished writing a thank you note to one of our longtime supporters. I had commented that even tho’ we’re crowded, how amazingly good it feels inside our beloved Shelter. Chants playing continuously. And clearly, the Furry Ones feel safe, cared for, and loved. But I went on to tell her that for me, the real miracle was watching them being fed.

Below, an extract from that note.

They’re actually fed in sections: the garden…the veranda…the clinic…Thirty or forty bowls are put down in each section—quickly, but clearly not at the same time. You’d expect an all-out riot. Anyone of you that has tried to feed three or four dogs together know how ‘touchy’ a situation it is. But they wait their turn. It isn’t even the stronger or bigger ones that eat first. You can frequently see a disabled dog contentedly slurping his food, and several right next to him waiting for another bowl.

The trusting of the Staff implied. The ‘knowing’ that they will shortly get theirs. Their relationship with each other…to let one ‘enjoy’ while they wait. It is so moving.

Pranams again, and again, and again to our beloved Staff. 

June was another busy month. It slowed down a little for the hot season. But still busy: 518 visits to our clinic…849 treatments of in-hosp & resident creatures…Emergency rescues of 71 creatures (Almost all serious cases. Many puppies. We go out to get most of them-usually during the day, some at night)…22 sterilizations…130 anti-rabies injections…6 puppies/dogs adopted. (We have students going out 100 kms. To find good homes)…And we treated 42 patients other than dogs. (14 cats, 4 birds, 8 cows & calves, 7 goats, lambs, & sheep, 6 rabbits, 1 squirrel, 1 peacock, l duck).

Elaine, the veterinary nurse who joined us, has turned out to be major. Some of you already know that she was schooled in England, and has forty years experience. The last ten years she has been in India. For eight of them she was in a town where she cared for and protected the dog population. She personally paid for over 400 sterilizations that were performed by Blue Cross, and got the population under control. Every October she’d give 100 injections to protect against parvovirus and distemper. She cared for and nursed the Furry Ones 24 hours a day. Her whole life is devoted to lifting suffering from the homeless dogs. It is an incredible blessing to have her. And she belongs with us. Say a prayer that she stays permanently.

The hot season is over, and tho' my body handles heat quite well, it's nice to have it behind us. However, I am here 365. And tho' the daytime temp goes up to 110, it really is okay if your body does okay in heat. I spent six years in the Ganeshpuri Ashram of Gurumayi. And THAT was a real Hot Season. Here, there's a partial cloud cover a portion of the time. Reasonable humidity. Three or four rains during the three month season that helps break the heat, and give the ground relief. And there's a subtle relief in the air duing the night, which I especially enjoy on my late night rides around the sacred mountain, Arunachala...I won't tell you what a REAL hot season is like.

Amazingly enough, the Furry Ones do fine. Understandably they're not real active during the day. And we have to make sure they have plenty of water and shade. (Also, there are a number of places that have overhead fans.) 

A nice little story before I sign off. Happened only four days ago.

  • I take a late feeding ride partially around Arunachala where I give nice snacks to 20 or 25 dogs I'm connected with. It must have been around 10pm, near the beginning, just off a road that has fast moving cars and trucks...I was bending over to put down a snack for three Furry Ones--two adults, and a young one, when a teenage girl on a bike came pedaling over and frantically said, "There's a puppy that's been hit by a truck".
  • My Heart dropped. I went over there (it was only 75 feet away) with my Heart in my throat, bracing myself to see something awful.
  • It apparently had happened ten minutes before I came. Someone had pushed him with a pole, or something, to get him off the road. He was under a large parked cargo truck. I called Vishwa and Dr. Raja (who happened to be at the Shelter that was only a km. away). They sent Prem and Venkatesh out.
  • Then I crawled under the truck to get him, bracing myself. But there was only a little blood. The poor babe was very, very frightened. I was on my stomach and tried to gently pull him towards me. (In my mind, I thought he might have a broken back). I was whispering to him and kissing him as I maneuvered us out.
  • I had  been holding him for less than five minutes when Prem and Venkatesh showed. I gently had him against my Heart. Kissing him. Telling him not to be scared. That he was with very good people. And that we would take very good care of him.
  • I passed him to Venkatesh, and called Dr. Raja to tell him he would be there in five minutes...I spoke to Dr. Raja a half hour later. It was a male pup. About two months old. Nothing was broken. And he's going to be fine.
  • Yes! Yes! Yes!

Have again chosen a selection of photos to give you "A Hit" of our beloved Shelter...Remember: Our core practice is Demonstrative love--Hugging. Touching. Stroking. Reassuring. Kissing.

Please keep your support coming...We need all the help we can get.

With love and thanks, and wishes for everything good.

Leslie

Her Heart is as big as it looks.
Her Heart is as big as it looks.
It's such a demanding life.
It's such a demanding life.
Such elegant beauty.
Such elegant beauty.
They've been down the trail together a long time.
They've been down the trail together a long time.
Guess who the chairs are for.
Guess who the chairs are for.
Simply a stunning photo of PureHeart Sekar.
Simply a stunning photo of PureHeart Sekar.
A young eagle with us 3 days.
A young eagle with us 3 days.
What beautiful eyes.
What beautiful eyes.

Links:

Jun 26, 2016

We welcome you all with all our Hearts.

Dr.Raja,Leslie, & Vishwa...Warriors of the Heart.
Dr.Raja,Leslie, & Vishwa...Warriors of the Heart.

Namaste’ Everyone,

Hoping this finds each of you in excellent circumstances…May we all, all of us, without exception be blessed with insights that deepen compassionate understanding. May we, too, be gentler with and more supportive to each other.

The activity in the clinic seems to have leveled off for the hot season, which is now coming to a close…But it’s still way up there and keeping our three vets and veterinarian nurse very, very busy…Don’t have the final May stats, yet…But we had between 600 and 800 visits to our clinic…Also, Pandi and Vishwa went out on over 100 emergency rescues…

  • Vishwa rescued a week old baby peacock that had lost her mother…A monk in a local temple adopted her…And the sweetie’s life will now unfold in this really nice small temple, with the monk caring for her.
  • We got a call 11:30pm about two baby kittens that were crying on the road. They were starving. Frightened. And not understanding where their mom was…Sugana-“mom” is caring for them at night. They sleep with her…and have to be fed every two or three hours around the clock. They’re doing well…and it looks like they’re going to make it…When they’re a little older and strong enough, Purnima will take them and find good homes.
  • About 9pm, got a call about a weak dog on the road…Vishwa went out. He was starving, and had a bad skin condition—no hair, thick crusty scabs.…He’s about 8 years old…We have him in the Shelter, and he’s happy and doing well.
  • Vishwa chanced upon an 18 inch chameleon on the road while on his two wheeler…Took him to the forest and released him in an area with a lot of trees and foliage…(Enjoy your life, Little One.)
  • Late call. At least late for a cobra rescue—It was dark. About 7:30pm…Vishwa went out with a villager…He was trapped in an empty tank (8’ in diameter…and 8’ deep)…He was about 5 feet long. They went down on a ladder…Released him in a nearby woods. (I sometimes really worry about my guys…They take a lot of risks.)

A few cute older tales:

  • The Liontail Macque Monkey: We got him near Shanti Internet. He was pretty big. And very, very strong. He had significant leg injuries and we had to sedate him to get him to the Shelter…When Dr. Raja finished working on him in the clinic, he told Vishwa to carry him over to a cage…When Vishwa picked him up, though, it turned out he was not fully sedated and they, the two of them, started crashing around the clinic, wrestling, until Vishwa finally prevailed and got him into the cage…Two days later when he was released back into his territory I asked Vishwa to get some good photos of the release…But he got none…He said he was so strong that his first step out of the cage was thirteen feet!!!
  • The Eagle: We’ve only had three eagles in the Shelter. This is about the first…He was found unconscious in a water tank, and was in a state of cold shock when he was brought in. He only stayed three days. On the first I asked how he was doing, and was told he wasn’t eating…”What are you feeding him?”…”Rice? Are you crazy. Meat. Raw meat!”…He was very approachable the first day…On the second day his “eagleness” was returning, and the Staff only approached his cage cautiously…On the third it was intensely clear he wanted FREEDOM!...Dr. Raja and two of the Staff took his cage into the woods to release him. I asked them to take photos of his release. Once the gate was open he shot out so fast, the first photo they got was him in the distance.

This last month I wrote the Chairman of our bank (the largest in India) for her intercession on the timely processing of wire transfers. In the letter I wrote a short blurb to give her a sense of the specialness and importance of our work…I really liked the way it came out…

Don't know if you're animal lover….But our Work really is important and this does affect us. We have a hospital, clinic, 24/7 hour rescue service, and an effective adoption program.  We are a no-kill shelter that gives hospice care to dying creatures....Our clinic has 800 visits each month, and we have had 34,000 since our opening in 2007. Our hospital has given 99,000 treatments since opening. We go out 100 km. to find good homes for our rescued puppies, and have placed over 800 in homes since opening. We have gone out on 3,300 rescues...And we treat any creature in need. Since opening we have treated over 3,000 animals other than dogs--cats, cows, horses, goats, eagles, peacocks, squirrels, monkeys, birds, and many others...All services to homeless and wild animals are free. Services to all people unable to pay are free. To those able to pay, there are modest charges to cover the cost of the medicine--however, no animal is refused treatment if its owner does not pay...And, we have one of the best surgeons within 150 km. The Gov't Veterinary Hospital that treats large animals brings all their complicated operations to him. And the Forest Dept. brings all their serious cases. We are supported by private donations. Om Namah Shivaya.

Have once more chosen a selection of photos that will give you a whiff of the Heart in our beloved Shelter…Our core practice is Demonstratice love: Hugging. Touching. Stroking. Reassuring. Kissing.

Please…Keep your support coming…We need all the help we can get.

Just got word that Global Giving will match one month's donation for all new recurring donors between Monday,June 17 and Friday,July 1 Eastern Standard Time...To qualify the donation must stay in force for four payments...Om Namah Shivaya.

With love and thanks...And wishes for everything, good,

Leslie

Just love this shot of PureHeart Sekar.
Just love this shot of PureHeart Sekar.
His Heart really is Pure.
His Heart really is Pure.
I also like this shot of Dr.Heera.What a blessing.
I also like this shot of Dr.Heera.What a blessing.
I'm proud to be a streetdog.
I'm proud to be a streetdog.
Before-This gal is dangerously bloated with fluid.
Before-This gal is dangerously bloated with fluid.
After-Thank God. Now for some food, sweetie.
After-Thank God. Now for some food, sweetie.
Now that's what I call a kiss!
Now that's what I call a kiss!
They say I'll be fine.
They say I'll be fine.
This ones for you catlovers...Om Namah Shivaya.
This ones for you catlovers...Om Namah Shivaya.
Mooji and Leslie a few years back.
Mooji and Leslie a few years back.
 
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