What a year, no?
Whew…And yet, there is so much worthy of our love, and of our devotion to create a kinder world. Keep renewing your vows to care for yourself so you can keep rising up to care for one another, for this living breathing planet, and for the innocent animals that, by their sheer presence, make this world a sort of heaven on Earth.
“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)
Although we remain grounded in Thailand busily working with street animals and Canvassing for Change for cruelty-free practices once tourism reopens, we are deeply saddened to read of the deaths of the “miracle twins”. We usually refrain from posting such things unless there are Action Steps to take for positive change, as the tragedies happening on a daily basis would fill a newsfeed with steady sorrow. But this time we knew we needed to pause, to honor their lives and hold tightly to the hope they brought to so many. There are no answers at this time, only questions, but we cling to the hope they instilled in us by their birth, and with that hope (and sorrow), remain committed with so many of you to continue finding ways to create a kinder world for the innocent animals and their rightful place on this earth. Gone but not forgotten, may they rest in peace.
We were on our way from Sri Lanka to a short research trip in Sumatra, and like others who work in the field, we were re-routed mid flight as borders closed around us. The only open door at that time was Thailand, where we have been grounded since.
Seeing the fallout the pandemic has had here on so many captive elephants has been tragic and disheartening, and yet—it has opened a window for change. It’s a small window, but nonetheless, it’s a real opening to creating change that we mustn’t squander.
We strongly support the work of World Animal Protection. Their longevity and transparency, along with their understanding of and commitment to the multitude of steps required for sustainable change, is unmatched. Their petitions get into the right hands and are a necessary step in raising the global voice to change the future for elephants used and abused in the tourist industry.
There were more “Joys of the Week”, but this post is just about one because “Fisher” deserves his own space!
When some shrug their shoulders and roll their eyes telling me there are simply too many animals suffering to make a difference, and that THIS one definitely will never make it and so should be “set aside to die”, even then, ESPECIALLY then, you stay the course. And for every time any suffering is alleviated, the energy that remains changes more lives than the one you were focused on.<
Remember “Fisher”, the wee one brought to me by his kind human after being attacked by a wild Fishing Cat? He sustained deep puncture wounds, one a hair’s width from his trachea, and had haggard, rattling breathing with 3 out of 4 puncture points infected. He couldn’t eat, and cried out in pain every time he was touched. Resources here are very slim. It didn’t look good and sustained Compassionate Action was all that remained. And yet every couple of days Fisher’s human carried him to me, wrapped in a towel and sheltered in her arms as she walked down the rough dirt roads in the blazing sun. I was very honest with her about the severity of the attack, but she kept showing up, and so did I. And then, with hard-won medication, nutritional support, and an abundance of tenderness and love and perhaps a bit of a miracle, Fisher beat the odds!<
In the face of all the struggle in this world, is this too small of a success for some? Perhaps. But as I kissed the woman’s cheek and our eye’s met over the top of Fisher’s head, I knew that more had been saved than the life of one wee pup. And the circle grows…
One quick minute out of a day spent with the stellar team of the Department of Wildlife Conservation, as they responded to a call of a wild elephant needing veterinary intervention in the field. Tracking, moving the elephant into position with loud “elephant crackers”, darting, assessing, and then treating, these guys and the veterinary team are skill-in-action.
Competition for resources makes it hard to believe sometimes that wild elephants will still be here in the generations to come, and there is no simple solution. Many times it seems that there may be no solution at all… But still, there are those that stand up, rise up, and fight for what’s right, every single day, even when there is no guarantee that the effort will allow the elephants, and all non-human animals, to inhabit their rightful place on the planet. The time spent working beside those who continue to believe in the rights of the wild ones is sometimes all that heaven will allow, and sometimes, it is all that is needed to carry on.