The Wonder of the Wild Ones

The wonder of the wild ones. I watch them and they watch me, and who knows who is really saving whom.  The conditions are challenging, the myriad of problems in turning multi-layered conflict into unilateral coexistence is not for the feint of heart, and the uncertainty of the future for the wild ones is on my mind every day.  On the days when I see gunshot wounds in a crop-raiding bull or speak with a family impoverished by that same innocent bull, the answers are as nebulous as the monsoon clouds.  The sustaining belief in the power of Compassionate Action is real, yet no doubt the complexities of the issues are as well.  With poets by our side, we’ll continue the good fight for the peace of wild things…

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free. (Wendell Berry)

A Playground in the Jungle!

There is a little one-room school in the middle of wild-elephant lands that has always held my heart. To be consistent with the same 10 children several years in a row is such a joy, seeing how much they’ve grown and how much their English has improved! Last year they could barely say my name, and now a few full sentences tumble out of their smiling mouths as they race to the door with happy hello’s. This year their school itself has seen terrific improvements, with a solar panel powering music for dancing and, bless it, a fan for the hot hot days. The teachers and principal in this tiny far-flung school are some of the best, showing so much Compassion-In-Action.

We’re excited to fulfill a long-held dream of this little school, bringing in a bulldozer to make way for a playground! Conversations were held not just with the school team, but also with the parents of the children, bringing the entire community together, and they were all so excited! We’ll create space for them to play their beloved cricket, and the parents will join us in making it beautiful, with flowers blooming right beside the children.  

We’re so happy we can open up a safe place in the jungle where they can forget about the challenges of their lives for a little bit, move their bodies, and play. To give the children of rural subsistence farmers more options and choices for the future helps create a world with less conflict and more coexistence—for themselves, for the elephants, and for the land they all share.

Why Dogs With Heart?

Why Dogs With Heart?

This is why. This forsaken dog off the side of the road I met yesterday on the way to somewhere else. Treatment is coming, and though it may be far too late, love might at least hold her on her way to what comes next.

Are they everywhere? Yes. So much so that many do not see them anymore. Cannot see them, as to hold so much suffering—without any way to help alleviate it—deadens the human heart.

So that is why Dogs With Heart—a costly, time consuming, heartbreaking, health jeopardizing, and difficult project—refuses to turn away, even when the help is never enough, and the resources always too few. To sleep in peace knowing their suffering is acute and prolonged is simply impossible.

feel the cautious support from people here, and also sense their dismay, their feelings that such a project is futile in the face of it all. I am such an impatient person (not my best quality), and so much needs to happen (funding for sterilization and education, on top of the obvious immediate needs of nutritional support/safe shelter/medical intervention), that I pace up and down the rock behind my room until I can actually sit and meditate to realign enough to get back to work. I remain forever grateful that the presence of Spirit is much stronger, and more active, than the presence of my sorrow and worry.

“Bless the beasts and the children
For in this world, they have no choice
They have no voice.

Light their way
When the darkness surrounds them.
Give them love,
Let it shine, all around them.”

To a kinder world for us all, filled with Compassionate Action, most especially for the innocent ones, the “beasts and the children”.

Treating the Wild Ones in the Field

Working alongside the Department of Wildlife Conservation, we spent a rather amazing day in the world of tracking/darting/treating a wild elephant in need of veterinary intervention. It is an honor, in every sense of the word, to learn and serve with these fine people, all working so hard to keep Sri Lanka’s elephants wild…And safe…

Stories to come as soon as a rainy day keeps me bound to the IPad. When the weather is good, the work is too big to get the stories out of my head and on to the page.

Dogs With Heart = Kindness to All

Rolling out our new “Dogs With Heart” project logo as we prepare for the 3rd clinic in less than 2 months in rural Sri Lanka.   148 dogs have already been treated for a combination of mange, tick fever, worms, and bacterial infections, while another 37 families received vitamins, medicated shampoo, and flea treatments for their animals. We’re excited for the next big clinic, as for most families here it is the only access point they have for their dogs to receive medical intervention.
 
And as exciting as this is, it is something that occurred at the New Years Day party the village children threw for me that showed me the power of the Heart.  Two homeless dogs, Flower and Ali, have adopted me after receiving steady treatments for their various issues.  In the past when the children came over for English classes, they would mimic the harsh behavior  they have learned elsewhere, with fear and revulsion being extended to the pups. On Monday they were talking to, petting, and even cuddling the little tail-waggers! A handwashing to follow kept hand and heart healthy, and today, instead of stones being tossed, they actually called for the dogs to meet them on the dirt road.
 
 Every email I get I sign with “To a kinder world for us all”, and to see it unfold in the actions of the children was the best possible start to 2019.Dogs With Heart