"I believe that there is a subtle magnetism in Nature, which, if we unconsciously yield to it, will direct us aright."
~Henry David Thoreau
My friends and I celebrated Malaysia's 53rd National Day by spending the day at the Bentong Farm Sanctuary. I had given Shahrul and Jorg the assurance that I would be sending some pet supplies and animal food over, and had invited some friends along to help with bathing and tick-washing the dogs.
Marvin, Priya and Yen hopped into the Battletank with glee, Sasha agreed to help transport the goodies, while Teckwyn, Cindy and Cerys came in their own little car.
"Hello, here we are! Can you let us in, please?"
The farm dogs were thrilled to have the company of so many people, and could smell the treats we brought!
It's good to bathe the dogs while the sun is out. I apply tick shampoo while Sasha helps to rinse Dear Doggie off.
Shahrul sponges down Choclit with Tactick EC solution.
Sri Devi, the sociable yellow dog, waits patiently while Marvin and Priya hose her down.
Yen bathes Karuppi, a former SPCA dog who was going to be euthanised because she is black and unlikely to find a new home.
We're off to see the goats and make them an offering of sweet juicy carrots!
A veritable tongue-twister! This adorable cow loves rambutans and would eat them, hairy peel and all!
A carrot emerges from between the bars of the pen, and Mama Goat nibbles daintily on the unexpected treat. Baby Goat seems to prefer locally grown, seasonal greens.
"Look at the trees, look at the birds, look at the clouds, look at the stars... and if you have eyes you will be able to see that the whole existence is joyful. Everything is simply happy. Trees are happy for no reason; they are not going to become prime ministers or presidents and they are not going to become rich and they will never have any bank balance. Look at the flowers - for no reason. It is simply unbelievable how happy flowers are.
It's time to feed the chickens. The chickens seem to love pecking on the carrots, too.
How many friends can you fit into the back of a pickup truck? Not as many as your heart could hold!
The dogs ran after the truck, tongues lolling, tails wagging, and though we feared for their safety, they seemed all the happier for the exercise.
It started to rain while we were feeding the ducks and geese.
Brownie the former stray dog seemed to think it was a pity that we were fattening up ducks that would never be eaten, and decided to help himself to one. We managed to stop him from catching any ducks, though.
Rain worshippers in their element!
No weather is so extreme that you can't enjoy a soak in an icy-cold stream.
Time for a feast of durians and rambutans after we come in from the rain!
The sun came back out and warmed up the earth by late afternoon. The chickens were happy to scratch for worms in the sodden ground.
We found Cerys enjoying the company of Adik in Jorg's pickup after the rain. It was probably warmer and cosier inside the truck cab than outside.
After a shower and a change of clothes, the friendly and hospitable farm hands treated us to a feast of Indian vegetarian food and brewed black coffee, which warmed us thoroughly.
... And off to the tortoise pond we go.
The tortoises paddled towards us in their happy placid way to accept the food we brought them.
Shahrul and Jorg's cat shelter had different levels to allow the cats to climb, hide and play.
These puppies were rescued from the DBKL (City Hall) pounds. 3 out of 5 had died of distemper, and so the remaining 2 had to be put in quarantine. I wish people would stop "rescuing" animals and sending them to shelters without vaccinating, deworming, deticking and neutering them, as this puts other animals at risk.
Nobody felt like going back to the city and returning to work after the enchanting day we had at the farm.
Shahrul declared that it was the best Merdeka she has ever had and asked us to come back soon. We all agreed that it was the best National Day celebrations we have ever experienced, far from the madding crowd of the city.
For what is independence and liberty, if not the freedom of assembly and association; the opportunity to make new friends and the privilege of having companion animals without the interference of the State? What is the essence of nationhood and good citizenship, if not the right to a clean and unpolluted natural environment, the pleasure of working in harmony with the Planet, the simple joy of connecting and communicating with animals and nature, and the pride of doing and accomplishing something good with one's friends, regardless of faith and ethnicity? And so on behalf of all the animals, people and plants at, and the friends of, Bentong Farm Sancutary, we wish you a Happy National Day and a pleasant week ahead.
(All photo credits: Marvin and Yen)