Welcome..Welcome..Welcome..to our beloved Shelter.
Dear Animal Lovers...Dear Supporters...Dear People,
I welcome you all with love.
My Guru...my Teacher...many, many years ago, during his lifetime, would give a short teaching each night. Many people would come. And he'd always begin with, "I welcome you all with all my Heart. This is my most important Practice. Welcoming another Being with love."
I'm really old now. This is my last lap. And what a blessing it has been for me. It isn't often in one's life that you get a chance to be involved in lifting so much suffering...Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
I was sent two Treasures in the earliest stages when we first started the Shelter twelve years ago: Vishwa and Dr. Raja.
Things were going so badly for the animals here. The year was 2006. We opened in 2007, and BEGAN.
Many of you know the story, but for those who don't...I was 70 and solidly on the Spiritual Path, the journey to One's own Heart. I was only intending to stay in Tiru for ten days, and then head for the Himalayas. Three days before I was planning to leave, I heard they were going to start killing the dogs street by street, to "cull the population". They had been doing this for forty years, but the homeless dog population had inexorably grown to over 7000 dogs.
It was a real, real battle. We managed, though, to finally, finally stop all those years of killing...with the agreement that a population control program would be put in place (our responsibility).
Tiru was one of the worst places for animals I'd ever seen. Widespread, visible abuse...beating with sticks...kicking...throwing stones...indifference to suffering and starving animals, even to puppies. Rabies. No facility for treatment. No small animal vet within 70 kms. Population out of control. 350 animals, mostly puppies and dogs, dying on the streets. It was awful...awful!
NOW that has all changed. And each year it gets better and better. Visitiors, especially foreigners, are so struck by how good the relationship is between the animals and the people. It's very moving.
In this report, I want to tell you about one of the two Treasures sent to help create this wonderful, wonderful facility: Vishwa, our Director of Operations. He oversees the entire functioning of our beloved Shelter...the hiring and development of the Staff...the physical facility...the rescues...the catching and releasing for sterilizations...the post-medical care of our beloved animals. And much, much more.
In another report I'll tell you the tale of our other Treasure, our beloved Dr. Raja. I sometimes call him 'Schweitzer' after Albert Schweitzer, a famous Nobel laureate philanthropist who after obtaining his MD, left behind everything he had known and travelled to Africa where, for the rest of his life, he built a medical facility that has lifted unbelievable amounts of suffering. (Thank you. Thank you, Dr. Schweitzer.)
But this report is about Sri Vishwa. The foregoing was simply an intro for those of you who don't know our history.
Most of you know that I sometimes call Vishwa 'the Martian', because an Earthling couldn't do what he does. He is like a son to me. (My name is Leslie Robinson. Vishwa's 12 year old daughter's name is Leslie. His 9 year old son's name is Robinson. His 7 year old son, whom I helped name, is Lakshman.)
So now on to the Martian.
When I'm drafting the monthly 'thank you' note that goes out to our donors, I always ask Vishwa for a few stories and select the ones I want. For the note that went out in October, these are the ones I chose to share, the ones Vishwa thought of during our 15 minute exchange.
- It was about 5pm and Vishwa was 90 kms out placing an adoption puppy when he saw a dog with a massive tumour on his back leg, just above the knee. (The tumour weighed around 2 to 3kg). The dog couldn't move very fast, so with cookies and Pedigree Vishwa was able to catch him within an hour...We strengthened him in the Shelter for three days with good food and good care. Then Dr. Raja operated. I'm writing this five days after the operation. The dog is only 3 years old and doing really well. Very joyful. Running around. Playing. In another 3 or 4 days Vishwa will release him back into his territory, which is a very good place for dogs.
- The Shelter got an evening call. Two puppies were found in a cloth bag on the side of the road about 45 kms out of town. Vishwa went to get them. They were only 5 or 6 days old and hadn't opened their eyes, yet. Both were females. Their bodies were in good condition but they were dull and weak...We've now had them for two weeks. They're very healthy, happy, and hanging out playing with five other puppies. Om Namah Shivaya.
- A 4 month old goat near Vishwa's village was going to be sold for slaughter. Vishwa bought her with his own money for 2300 rupees. (The butcher would have paid 2000.) He found a good place for her with a neighbor the very next day. They're going to use her for breeding and agreed to keep her for life, and if anything changes, they'll give her back. (He told me he lied to them and said this was his boss's goat and if anything happened he'd lose his job.)
- Late night call from Vellore, 100 kms away. Vishwa got there at 10:30pm. It was a dog with a large wound on his head the size of a hand. The dog was very fast and clever. He would take Pedigree and cookies, but if Vishwa got too close, he'd take off, jump fences and run around corners. It took two hours to catch him. The poor babe was only 7 months old. The wound had hundreds of maggots, with pus coming out of it, and smelled horrible...We've now had this guy for two months. The wound is healed. He's gained weight, and his energy is strong. He plays a lot with another dog. A female. (Maybe he has a crush on her.) Soon he'll be released back into his territory.
- Another dog from Vellore...Vishwa saw her when he was catching the one above. She was only a year old, and had a big vaginal tumour. She trusted Vishwa and came right to him. Dr. Raja treated her with chemo. She's now completely cured, and will soon be released.
- Last story...A person called the Shelter at 10am. A large cobra had fallen into an empty tank near the big Shiva Temple, and couldn't get out. He was six feet long. Vishwa used a cloth to confuse him, and then got him by the back of the neck. He released him in the woods opposite the Shelter.
But that's just a few stories. Engaging, tho' not exceptional. So now on to the more gutsy, moving stuff...A series of events that began about two weeks ago.
Vishwa never, never tells me when he's exhausted, but I can see it in his energy. And he always says, "No problem Sir." He would never tell me if he's overloaded, which he always is. When I am aware that he is carrying an exceptionally heavy load I ask him, "Is there anything I can do?" And, he always says, "I will ask you if there is, Sir." But he rarely asks...Or if I feel he's in a money bind..."Vishwa how in the hell can you be tight on money? Payday was only five days ago?" I had to press him, otherwise I wouldn't have found out. He'd run into a guy who was taking four cows and two calves to be slaughtered, and Vishwa bought them for 30,000 rupees with his own money. Four weeks later I found out he had bought four calves under similar circumstances for 12,000 rupees. (They were all very weak, and we were only able to save one.) Last night I found out that a goat he had saved just delivered four babies. And he's supporting all these creatures in a cowshed setup he has behind his house...on his money!!! My beloved Vishwa.
Well, about two weeks ago I could see that he needed rest which he never really gets. But I made him, to at least take four hours off, and rest at my house. I wanted him to take a day or two off--which he always resists, and virtually never does. But I pushed hard. I called him the next morning hoping he was at home, resting. I found out he was 40 kms out of town placing two puppies in their new adoptive homes!
My reaction? "Vishwa...enough! I'm not just asking. I'm your boss and I'm ordering you to take time off." And that's when he told me he couldn't for at least another day.
A couple who had established a sanctuary for 45 puppies and dogs, and 35 cats in Coimbatore, 300 kms away, recently moved to Tiru. (It wasn't a shelter. It was a sanctuary. They didn't have a clinic or hospital facilities, or do sterilizations. They had taken these animals in permanently and basically adopted them. A number of these were adult dogs they'd had since they were puppies. Anyway, they found a place in the Tiru countryside, and fixed it up to care for their 80 creatures here. (We'll support their work medically, giving any advice we can, etc.)
They had just gotten word that all the animals had to be moved from Coimbatore that very night. Vishwa told them he would handle and oversee the entire move.
Transporting 45 puppies and dogs for a long distance is very different than moving two lorries with 6 to 8 cattle. With cows or bulls, if one of them gets agitated, it doesn't spread to all the others. The animal can be reassured and soothed and the others aren't too affected. Cats aren't a problem, they're in cages for the trip. But the dogs are a problem. And we had never done anything on this scale.
With 20 to 25 dogs in each lorry, it seemed that if two dogs got scared and started fighting, it might turn into a riot. Also, none of the dogs had ever been in a motorized vehicle! It would be scary for 20 to 25 dogs to be loaded into an enclosed space of only 9 by 21 feet. It would also be scary when the engine started up. It would be scary when the lorry started moving. And scary when they went over bumps...AND there was no way of explaining to them that it was just a temporary trip that would have an end...and that they were going to their new home. But most importantly, they would experience themselves being taken away from their beloved Girija and Mohan who had lovingly adopted and cared for them.
THE PLAN...To eliminate the possibility of an all-out riot, Vishwa divided (with plastic grating) the truck beds into four sections of 4 1/2 by 10 1/2 feet with only 5 to 6 dogs in each section...Two caretakers who had looked after them for years were coming along, one in each truck. Additionally, Vishwa was bringing three caretakers...The beds of the trucks would be heavily padded with thick cushions of dried grass so the dogs could lay down and be comfortable...It's a long trip, so Vishwa was planning to stop twice for an hour to give the creatures some rest and some milk as a refreshment. He further decided that either Mohan or Girija had to come, so that perhaps five minutes after the lorries started moving, and every so often the lorries would stop so Girija or Mohan could go to each of trucks to reassure their Precious Ones that they were right there with them.
OBSTACLES...Two large lorries were hired in Tiru, and they anticipated being ready to go at around 7pm Wednesday night. But it started raining heavily, and one of the lorries didn't show and had to be replaced. More significantly, around midnight, an emergency call came in that a full-term pregnant cow had been hit by a vehicle near the Shiva Temple. Vishwa had to get three fellows to help with the rescue. And with several other goings-on, they didn't get on the road for the 300 km trip to Coimbatore until 3am Thursday morning. And because of the heavy rains didn't arrive until 10:30am........When they got to Coimbatore it turned out that 22 of the dogs were running loose and had to be caught (which is major)...They were also slowed down by long stretches of heavy rains. So they didn't get started for the trip to Tiru until 6:30pm.
Amazingly, and I do mean amazingly, the 10 hour journey to Tiru went smoothly. (Hari Om, Vishwa!)...And Girija and Mohan's Precious Ones were settled into their new home in Tiru by 6am, Friday...Vishwa said that within an hour of being unloaded, knowing their beloved Girija and Mohan were also there, the joyful creatures were running around happily, chasing, and playing. The cats were fine, but tired from the journey.
Our beloved Martian did all this while having dozens of other things that he oversees going on. I mean he's the Director of Operations of the entire Shelter...The Staff loves him...And he loves the Staff.
At times I am humbled by him.
In a future report, I will regale you with tales of our beloved Dr. Raja.
The Shelter has been going beautifully...Thank you Dr. Raja, Vishwa, the other Doctors. And our devoted, wonderful Staff.
We've been busy since I've last written. Our stats for July, August, and September are:
- Clinic Visits..............................................1,446
- In-patient Treatments.............................3,583
- Emergency Rescues..................................164
- Dogs Sterilized...........................................186
- Anti-rabies injections................................338
- Animal Adoptions.........................................19
- Non-dogs treated.......................................195
- (70 cows & calves, 68 goats & sheep, 40 cats, 13 birds, 2 rabbits, 1 monkey, 1 horses)
This brings us to the end of the Report.
I'm hoping that each of you is doing excellently.
These are such difficult times we're going thru. It's so important for us to try to connect with the Light inside. And equally important to put that energy out into the World.
May we all be unfolding...May we all be getting more and more space inside...May we all be getting closer to our own Hearts.
May each of us, no exceptions, be blessed with more compassionate understanding.
As in previous reports, I've included a collection of photos. Hoping you enjoy them. The overall theme is love...This month there's a concentration on Rescues.
THE PRECIOUS ONES NEED US...AND WE NEED YOU!
PLEASE...DIG DEEPLY...AND GIVE GENEROUSLY...
RECURRING DONATIONS, EVEN MODEST ONES, ARE BEST FOR US. THEY GIVE US STABILITY.
With love...From All of Us here, Precious Ones included...To All of You out there...Leslie
Again...Welcome to our beloved Shelter.
Four of the Precious Homeless Ones we protect.
And here are three more into a little mischief.
Dr. Ramakrishna, and Staff---PROTECTORS!
Drs. Raja and Heera...Here for the Precious Ones.
Da' Gang, Protectors, from some years back.
Caring...For each other...Is so, so important.
Please---Bless...Guide...and, Protect Us.
Sw.Satchidananda-Sw.Muktananda..."Om Sri Ram."
Sw.Mukatananda-Satya Sai Baba. "Om Namah Shivaya."
Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche..."Om Vajra Satva Hung."
Lama Shenpen Drolma..."Om Vajra Satva Hung."
They adore Sugana.
They love to be touched.
Touching. Touching. Touching.
The Outer Veranda...That's Sugana and Elaine...
This little beauty needs some care.
What do you want sweetiepie?
You're so beautiful!
It's amazing how they surrender to his touch.
Night-time rescue continued.
Cattle rescue. Lorry intercepted. Cattle impounded
One of rescued cows.3 mths later.She was pregnant.
Other rescued cows. Also after 3 mths in our care.
BUT REMEMBER LOVING AND CARING IS SO, SO IMPORTANT
In all forms!
We were honored by Global Giving in 2018.
Dr. Raja on way home after a l-o-o-o-n-g day.
Wish you were here!!!
What else is there to say???