Thursday, 29 April 2010

Earth Day Weekend

Another Earth Day has come and gone. This Earth Day, let us all resolve to make action and advocacy, and not mere protest, our strategy for environmental justice. Let us not merely carry our own cloth shopping bags or have shorter showers, but also lobby all stakeholders including corporations and governments to implement environmentally-sound policies and develop scientific and technological solutions to environmental problems. As consumers, we vote every day with our money. We should therefore be visible and vocal about our concern for wildlife, natural resources and the natural world.

In 1989, world governments made a decision to phase out or ban the use and production of chloroflourocarbons (CFCs) due to growing concern over the depletion of the ozone layer. Despite cynicism over the implementation and effectiveness of the ban, 20 years on, we can observe that the ban has been effective, that better, cleaner alternatives have been found or developed, and that the ozone layer has benefitted from the ban.

The CFC ban success story is not and should not be an isolated incident. It CAN be repeated -- with greenhouse gases, environmental hazards, coal-fired power plants, plastic bags, disposable packaging and water and energy-intensive industries. We can do it! We can influence industries and governments to look for alternatives that need not halt economic progress but will not burden our Planet's resources and ability to heal Herself either. Personal action is not a substitute for political change. But we can change our attitudes and habits, and when we do so, we change the world around us -- and our collective decisions and actions are capable of ending environmental crises without compromising the quality of life of human populations.

For we are not solitary individuals struggling in a hostile and meaningless world (much as I love Sartre and Kierkegaard!). We are citizens of a beautiful Planet and our lives and destinies are intertwined with that of our Planet. The turning point is nigh. It begins with each of us, and it is happening now. Let us be the difference we want to see.

Happy Earth Day, my brothers and sisters.

21st April 2010: Updates on Gypsy, now known as Estel.

My fosteree under Project Second Chance, Gypsy (now renamed 'Estel', meaning 'hope', after Aragorn's secret name which was revealed in Return of the King, if my memory serves me correctly), was officially adopted by my dear friends VJ and Saravananan, after making a full recovery from roundworm, giardia and eye infection -- all common bugbears of stray kittens and puppies.

VJ and Sara brought Estel home on April 14, the night of Tamil New Year. And what a lovely gift she must be -- little Estel did not take long to grow attached to her new Mum and Dad at all. VJ and Sara were kind enough to share the photos below with me.

VJ and Sara with the latest addition to their family, Estel. What a lucky kitty Estel is to find such a good home!

I bade goodbye to my beautiful baby. Bye bye, my love. I will never forget you, but I pray you forget me soon, so you can learn to love your new Mum and Dad with all your heart.


All day long it's play, play, play. What a happy kitty Estel is!

23rd April 2010: Project Second Chance -- Rocky

Thanks to everyone's support, financial assistance and loving thoughts, Rocky's recovery has been nothing short of amazing. Dr. Steven allowed us to take Rocky home on Sunday, 25th April. Here are photos taken on 20th April, when I went to visit him at the vet's boarding kennels in the evening.

"Hello, have you come to take me home?"

Rocky will probably not be able to stand square on all four paws ever again, but at least he did not have to have a limb amputated.

"Please take me home with you!"

24th April 2010: SPCA Saturday and Earth Day Celebrations at KDCF

Despite initially planning on going to the KL International School's Earth Day celebrations on Saturday morning to lend support to Serina and the children of Kelab Alami Tanjung Kupang for their dugong conservation fundraiser, I ended up sleeping in due to fatigue and the fact that I have been on antibiotics since the day of my dental surgery. Serina was as kind and understanding as ever, and it offered me some consolation that the children were having a wonderful time even without my presence anyway. It is good to know that I was not missed.

Earth Day and World Environment Day were previously observance days that meant chiefly one thing to me: No rest for the wicked. Requests for Green Living talks, workshops, interviews and activities would flood the MNS-Green Living mailbox weeks in advance. I am gratified that now the work can be delegated among competent volunteers and speakers. We do have some good orators in the Malaysian Nature Society volunteer pool, and their passion for environmental protection makes them assets to the organisation. I am pleased with Cindy's stamina as the current Green Living coordinator and hope that more volunteers would come forward to offer their expertise and assistance.

I turned up at the SPCA at noon, feeling considerably refreshed, and discussed a few upcoming campaigns with the officers and vets before proceeding with animal care and shelter work. The unveiling of the Melaka state government's plans to set up a biotechnology animal-testing facility in Melaka as a joint venture with an Indian firm has gotten all of us up in arms, and I felt there was so much we could do both as individuals and as an organisation.

I went up to the SPCA Bungalow to borrow a dog cage to house Rocky in. It took me an hour to dismantle and disinfect one of the large dog cages, an interminably long time indeed for someone who works at the speed and pace that I do. To make things worse, the screws and nuts that I put in my jeans pocket fell out of a hole in my pocket that had hitherto went unnoticed. Oh joy. I do not think Vegan Eugene would enjoy having to superglue pieces of the cage together. My best bet would be to pick up spare ones from the hardware store on my way home.

Went back to the shelter to bathe and tickwash the at-large dogs in the Central area. The weather was fine and it did not take the dogs long to dry, especially since they were allowed the run of the gated area.

Reve and I started cleaning the shelter around 1700h. I soaped, scrubbed and disinfected the Reception/Office/Front Areas, the puppy kennels, the maternity kennels and the Cattery. Although I have been told that my time would be better spent on policy and advocacy work, I need to do hands-on work to keep that connection between me and my animals strong. There is nothing ignoble about kennel cleaning. It benefits the animals directly and contributes to their health and safety. In addition, I need the exercise, the opportunity to use up my abundant nervous energy and the chance to take a break from constant cerebral calisthenics.

I finished cleaning the shelter and left Reve to lock up on her own as I needed to shower and change at the Bungalow. Jacinta, Moses, Nicole and I had made plans to attend the Mega Earth Day Night Open-Air Concert at the Kota Damansara Community Forest. I was also to meet up with my friends Alicia and Yenn, while Nicole was to meet up with her friend Prakash, at the said event. What a sense of community it gave us to gather under the stars and sing along with the performers!

The turnout for the event was highly impressive, and it was great to see the number of visitors and revellers who brought their own mats, cloth shopping bags and washable food and beverage containers to the event. The quality of the performances was exceptional, and truthfully, unexpected. I had expected a motley assembly of amateurs and schoolchildren, and was blown away by highly professional renditions of environment-themed songs by the likes of the Philharmonic Society of Selangor, Tree Theatre Group, Ray Chiang, Janet Lee, Nicole-Ann Thomas and Zainal Abidin. What wonderful performances they gave! And what a spirited and supportive crowd we were! I managed to capture a few poor-quality photos for posterity on my cellphone to remember the event by:

The field was packed with people sitting on picnic mats on the grass by the time we arrived.

Part of the sporting and supportive crowd.

Zainal Abidin makes his appearance and we all sang along to the classic green anthem, "Hijau"

Mad Props to the organising committee of the Mega Earth Day Carnival for hosting and coordinating such a successful awareness-raising campaign! May the event bring together like-minded individuals to do more in the interests of environmental protection and conservation!

Friday, 23 April 2010

Tiger Blogfest: Say NO To Tiger Farms!

In my February 25 blogpost on the Tx2 Outreach Programme at the Dong Zen Fo Guang Shan Temple Complex in Jenjarom, I had addressed the issues of wild meat consumption and what concerned citizens can do to help conserve tigers and tiger habitats.

Unfortunately, due to a lack of awareness, many of the otherwise good-hearted people we encountered in the course of our outreach work are of the opinion that breeding tigers in captivity can help restore wild populations. Even our beloved Chief Minister of Penang, Lim Guan Eng, was of the opinion that establishing a “TigerPark” would be in the interests of eco-tourism.

For the purposes of the Tiger Blogfest, therefore, I would like to hold forth that Tiger Farms and Tiger Parks Have NO Conservation Value.

Tigers housed in battery farm cages in a tiger farm in China. Is this how we wish to see our tigers? (Photo credits: Save The Tiger Fund)

Here are some of the commonly-held beliefs about tiger farming, and facts that set the record straight:

Myth 1: Farmed tigers can be rehabilitated and released into the wild, thus ensuring the survival of wild tigers.
1. Wild tigers can be saved more easily and at far less expense by protecting the habitat and prey of existing wild tiger populations.
2. Most tigers on farms do not have the genetic pedigree for release into the wild.
3. Tigers in farms are bred to be docile with other tigers, making it likely that resident wild tigers, which are territorial, would kill any farmed tigers introduced into the wild.
4. To date, reintroductions of lions and other carnivores have failed and resulted in loss of human lives, livestock and the wildlife involved.
5. Due to their lack of fear of humans, captive-bred tigers would be easily poached.
6. A lack of fear of humans will make any farm-raised tigers released into the wild a menace to people.
7. Given good management, there are enough tigers left in the wild to ensure recovery of wild tigers. Indeed, they will "breed like cats" with adequate protection of habitat and prey, coupled with enforcement of existing laws.

Myth 2: Legal trade in farmed tiger products would decrease demand for parts of wild tigers.
1. There is no evidence to support such a claim.
2. Legalizing trade would ignite demand from former consumers and recruit new consumers, thereby increasing demand.
3. The bones of wild tigers are believed by some consumers to have more powerful health effects, making them more desirable and more valuable than farmed products.
4. Given the impossibility of distinguishing wild tiger products from farmed tiger products, stopping illegal trade in parts from wild tigers would be made far more difficult. Poached tiger parts could easily be ‘laundered’ and passed off as farmed tiger products.

Myth 3: Legalizing trade in farmed tiger products will decrease poaching of wild tigers
1. Poaching, smuggling and illicit trade are often run by organized criminal networks with large profit margins, and legalizing trade in products from farmed tigers is likely to create rather than end black market opportunities.
2. Tiger poaching will always be less expensive than tiger farming and, therefore, more lucrative.
3. Illegal tiger products cannot be distinguished from legal tiger products.
4. If trade in farmed tigers is legalized, poaching of wild tigers will increase, and scientific studies in Indiahave demonstrated that most wild tiger populations will not be able to withstand even small increases in poaching over time.
5.To decrease poaching of wild tigers, trade bans must be kept in place and better implemented with professional law enforcement efforts all along the trade chain, from forest to end-use market.

Myth 4: Tiger products are needed for human health and to preserve certain cultural practices.
1. Leading members of the global traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) industry say they do not need or want tiger products and that reopening trade in such products will damage the reputation of TCM. It is important to respect these wishes and views, particularly the efforts of TCMpractitioners to use alternatives to tiger bone.
2. Leaders of ethnic communities that have used tiger skins to adorn traditional dress are now encouraging their people to stop wearing the fur of tigers and other endangered species.

Tiger farm safari. Photo credits: Save The Tigers Fund. And no, we do NOT wish to have one of these in Penang!

Myth 5: Tiger farms and tiger parks will create employment opportunities and enhance local livelihoods .
1. The livelihoods that will be enhanced by legalizing trade in farmed tiger products are likely to be already-wealthy tiger farm owners and medicine manufacturers, or the criminal networks that will insert the parts of wild tigers into the market.
2. It is indeed important to work to enhance the livelihoods of the rural poor, but legalization of trade in tiger products will not achieve this. In India, the potential for many local poor people living near tiger reserves to base their livelihoods on revenue from tourist revenue and handicrafts is significant.
3. Smuggling of tiger parts and derivatives is a symptom of a lack of effective enforcement to stop transnational crime, which has negative social and economic implications. By commitments to cross-border enforcement efforts, governments will move a long way towards combating not just illegal wildlife trade, but other forms of serious crime as well

(Information compiled and extracted from:

What can you do to help tiger populations?

1. Obviously, by not buying tiger products such as fur, teeth, bones, claws and meat.

2. Live simply that wildlife may simply live. Reduce, reuse and recylce more and use less energy, water and fossil fuels. Conduct your due diligence before visiting places of interest or booking holidays that may feature wildlife 'attractions' such as tiger parks, tiger farms and photo opportunities with captive big cats.

3. Abstain from eating wild meat. Every kilogramme of wild boar and wild deer meat you consume means one kilogramme less for tigers. Driven to search for prey in livestock farms and near human habitations, tigers end up regarded as pests and this makes them vulnerable to being hunted and killed.

4. Did you spot a snare or wild animal trap on your recent camping/trekking trip? Please report it to the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) or MYCAT. Contact info given below.

5. Do you know of any restaurants selling tiger meat? Then please make a phone call to the Tiger Crime Hotline and give them all the details you can. Don't forget to include the name and address of the restaurant. All calls are confidential.

Important numbers to remember:

MYCAT's 24-Hour Tiger Crime Hotline: 019 356 4194

Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan): +603-90866800

Find out more by visiting!

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Tram rides and training of teachers at the KSNP

It was decided unanimously during our Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) Selangor Branch Strategic Plan Workshop at Titi Eco Farm last October that environmental education, being one of our organisation’s goals, would be given more priority this year. We had advanced a plan to hold a workshop for schoolteachers, to be conducted by senior MNS volunteers.

Our plans came to fruition last weekend at the Kuala Selangor Nature Park (KSNP) when a team of MNS volunteers conducted a hands-on environmental awareness, education and action plan workshop for teachers from 38 schools in Selangor and the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya. The 2-day workshop saw the teachers going through the basics of birdwatching, nature-guiding and petition-drafting and learning more about a variety of topics from conservation issues to outdoor safety skills.

It is good to be back. The tidy Park, tree-lined trails and cosy and practical little meeting hall were welcoming sights indeed.

I had initially felt disappointed to see the sturdy little gazebos and picnic tables underutilised in the afternoon. However, day-trippers, joggers and picnickers started trickling in during the cooler part of the day.

Ashleigh conducted the ice-breaking session for the teachers and volunteers. I did not participate in this session as I had brought work home for the weekend and was trying to complete my research in the morning.

James C conducted a session on water demand management, the impact of oil palm plantations and the KL Outer Ring Road to heighten the teachers’ awareness of current issues.

Hashimi Ismail led the teachers on a water monitoring exercise. You can find out more about water monitoring and purchase the water monitoring kits from the official World Water Monitoring Day website.

Teachers testing stream water samples for temperature, turbidity, acidity and dissolved oxygen content.

I conducted a post-lunch energiser session followed by an hour-long semi-interactive session on Green Living. My presentation covered issues such as: “Why Green Living?”, Living A Better, More Environmentally Mindful Life”, “The Role of Teachers and Students”, “Students as Consumers”, “Seeing through Greenwash”, “Better solutions through science and technology”, “Resources for teachers” and “Sample activities and action plans”. This candid shot was taken by Hashimi Ismail.

A little bit of Paradise in KSNP.

“Trees are poems that earth writes upon the sky,
We fell them down and turn them into paper,
That we may record our emptiness.

- Kahlil Gibran”

Later in the afternoon, Loretta, Pui May, James C and I went birding at the watchtower near the saltwater lake after having completed the sessions we were supposed to conduct.

James, Loretta and May birding at the watchtower. We spotted Brahminy Kites, sunbirds, white-eyes, Purple Herons and Cattle Egrets, among others.

I wanted to know everyone’s favourite bird. Loretta’s favourite is the Sumatran Eagle-Owl. James likes sunbirds best of all. May doesn’t have a favourite bird yet. Being the big cuckoo that I am, my favourite bird is the Greater Coucal.

Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy. – Photo taken by James C.

I decided to leave my associates after an hour to take a walk up Bukit Melawati, just for old times’ sake. I boarded the tram at the foot of the hill. Tram rides are always a treat!

The little lighthouse near the top of Bukit Melawati, formerly known as the Altingsburg Lighthouse, was constructed during the time when Malaysia was a British protectorate.

Ancient stone steps leading up to Fort Melawati serve as a reminder of Bukit Melawati’s glorious past as a strategic vantage point over the Selangor coast.

The ‘Batu Hampar’ or Executioner’s Block stands within the courtyard of Fort Melawati. Criminals and adulteresses alike were beheaded at the Batu Hampar over a century ago.

Silver leaf monkeys wait for handouts at Bukit Melawati although nature has provided them with an abundance of food sources.

The perfect ending to a perfect day – I had a shaved ice dessert at the new ice-cream parlour across the road from the tram station.

The Kuala Selangor Nature Park has been under the management of the Malaysian Nature Society since 1987. For more information, please contact:

Kuala Selangor Nature Park (KSNP)
Tel : (603) 3289 2294
Fax : (603) 3289 4311

Friday, 16 April 2010

Friends and Celebrations

Friday, 9th April 2010: A Big Thank You from Rocky and Project Second Chance!

I am convinced by now that my friends are proof that the Great Spirit up there is looking out for me.

I sent out an e-mail appeal soliciting funds for Rocky’s medical treatment on Friday, around noon, hoping that if we could raise half the required sum, Vegan Eugene and I could raise the rest of the money ourselves without undue hardship. I had included express instructions not to disseminate the e-mail appeal to third parties, as I would rather not have to deal with queries as to whether I am a confidence trickster or why didn’t we just decide to euthanize vulnerable animals. The email included Before & After photos of Rocky, and necessary medical information. All we requested was RM10 from each friend, knowing that if 50% of mail recipients were to contribute RM10 each, we would be able to pay Rocky’s bills immediately.

I had underestimated the generosity of my friends. Funds poured in continuously all afternoon, along with well wishes for Rocky’s speedy recovery. Some friends pledged to sponsor dog food. Audrey Q offered to pay for Rocky’s deworming and first vaccination (Latest update: Audrey made good on her promise with remarkable promptness, and as of Sunday 11th April, Vegan Eugene and I were informed by the vet that Rocky had already been dewormed and vaccinated.)

By 1800hrs, approximately 4 hours after my initial email, the amount of donations collected had far surpassed the amount we requested for Rocky’s treatment. Vegan Eugene was amazed by the positive response we received, and I was similarly overwhelmed and touched by everyone’s generosity. I had to send out a second message informing everyone to stop transferring money because we have exceeded the sum required.

The funds collected now are not only enough for Rocky, but could also cover the spaying of Sierra (if we could find her) and other strays. I will compile the accounts and send them out to all parties so they could tell that every cent has been accounted for.

Rocky really is a very lucky little puppy to be so loved, and I too feel myself to be enormously blessed for having the friends and associates that I do. From the bottom of our little hearts, Rocky, Project Second Chance, Vegan Eugene and me – We Thank You.

BEFORE: My apologies to the more fainthearted of my friends for the photo of the garish injury.

AFTER: Rocky being playful as Dr. Steven reaches in to adjust his crepe bandage.

Sunday, 11th April 2010: SPCA Sunday

Spent Saturday cleaning the parental home and trying to locate and catch a young stray female dog (who I have named Sierra) in my parents’ neighbourhood. Our neighbour across the street, Mrs. Ganesan, and I have been trying to bait and catch the dog for rehabilitation, spaying and re-homing since we first saw her 4 – 5 months ago, but the little dog remained elusive, skittish and impossible to catch. Now it looks like Sierra must have gotten a whiff of our intentions to catch and spay her because she disappeared the very weekend I returned with car seat protectors and Mrs. Ganesan bought her a chain and leash and food and water bowls. I just hope the little rascal turns up soon, and that she won’t be pregnant when she does.

I headed off to the SPCA, sans Sierra, after lunch to help out with the animal care work and shelter cleaning and maintenance, as usual. I arrived at the SPCA to find that fellow blogger Emily, who I have never even met in person, has left me a gift of a potted spider plant and some cash for Rocky’s medical treatment at the SPCA.

Thank you for the plant, Emily! I will take good care of her!

I am tickled by how the SPCA and MNS offices have now become my unofficial letterboxes. Nobody seems to know where my Bachelor Quarters are but everyone leaves cards, cash, seeds, books, letters and parcels for me at the SPCA and MNS administrative offices. Last December when I was preoccupied with the Shoebox Project, the SPCA and MNS offices became the ad-hoc drop-off points for everyone’s filled and decorated shoeboxes.

I mixed a pail of Tacktik EC solution and got the leashes and shampoo ready for washing the dogs at our Sick Bay. (Clarification: The debilitated dogs are housed in the Hospital. The dogs at the Sick Bay are not sick or injured at all, but quarantined until they can be dewormed, vaccinated and neutered.)

The kennels at the SPCA Sick Bay have remained pretty much the same for over 40 years.

I bathed and tickwashed the Sick Bay dogs two-by-two to save time and conserve water, singing as I worked. It took me almost 2 hours to finish bathing all 20 dogs. I cleaned the Sick Bay and put away my dog-washing kit.

I am glad I finished bathing the dogs when I did, because the weather turned slightly chilly after 1700 hrs. Reve and I started cleaning the kennels and Catteries, chatting as we worked.

I am an ace kennel cleaner!

It started to rain torrentially in the evening, and I played in the rain on impulse in between cleaning the shelter, despite the lightning and thunder overhead. It probably served me right that I developed a raging brainworm shortly after coming in from the rain.

Reve and I gave the dogs and cats their supper, took away the empty bowls for washing and finished cleaning the shelter by 1900 hrs or so. I showered and changed and helped Reve lock up before we parted for the week.

Sometime ago I made the decision that having a notebook would give me the flexibility I need to work as and where I needed. So, on Sunday evening, on my way back from the SPCA, I dropped by One Utama to purchase a neat little HP Mini Netbook for myself. I chose a Netbook because of its lightness, portability and energy efficiency.

My sleek new toy in my bedroom at the Bachelor Quarters!

My HP Mini 210-1084NR is Energy Star Qualified and used far, far less energy than a conventional desktop. The purchase of my new toy is vindicated both on grounds of necessity and of environmental responsibility!

It’s been another productive and satisfying weekend.

Monday, 12th April 2010: Friends and Farewells

The ultimate price to pay for the assistance and companionship of our bright young interns at the UNHCR, SPCA and MNSis that their stint with us always ends too soon. Goodbyes and farewells are a monthly occurrence, and there will always be some interns who will be missed more than the others.

Catarina came to the SPCA all the way from sunny artsy Portugal, bringing with her fresh ideas and commendable research skills. I could not, for the world, think of missing her farewell party on her last day at the SPCA.

Catarina is the brains behind the SPCA’s latest campaign, “RESCUED Is My Favourite Breed”.

Jacinta, Nic, Cunera and I had initially planned to take Catarina to a Thai restaurant nearby, but we arrived to find it closed. Our next choice was Korean food at Ampang Point, because it would be something novel for Catarina, and because there would be vegetarian options for Jac and I.

Catarina checks out her first Korean meal, while Nicole looks on with helpful suggestions.

Cunera and Jacinta enjoy each other’s company at work and outside of work.

We adjourned to Old Town for coffee and ice cream toast after dinner.

I wish you all the best, Catarina! I know you will go far in life and I hope you know you will always have a place to stay if you ever come back to Malaysia!

Wednesday, 14th April 2010: Feasts and Festivals

It has been a week of celebrations and feasts. Wednesday was Vaisakhi (Sikh New Year) for my Punjabi friends, as well as Tamil New Year for my Tamil friends and Vishu for my Malayalee friends.

My buddy Marvin and I getting ready to go to the Gurdwara with our buddy Amarjiet for early Vaisakhi celebrations. Doesn’t Marvin look hilarious with his turban?

Marvin and Amarjiet partaking of the Vaisakhi lunch at the PJ Gurdwara.

Amarjiet, Marvin and I head back to the office after our very satisfactory lunch. I bought coconut candy for the rest of the working stiffs in the office.

Wishing all my buddies Happy Vaisakhi, Puthandu Valthukkal and a Happy Vishu! May each year be better than the last, and may the New Year bring our country greater environmental and social justice!

Thursday, 8 April 2010

SPCA’s “Take A Leash” Campaign and other news

Friday, 2nd April 2010: Guess Who's Back? It's Jewel!

Hello! I am Jewel and I am 6 months old now!

6 months ago, an associate brought a tiny calico kitten to me. Although she had the means to care for more than one cat, this associate, H., thought it would be more convenient to just dump strays on me so she wouldn't have to go through the heartache and anxiety of caring for a vulnerable young animal.

It was then that I decided that despite my motto of "Service Before Self", I could not keep on allowing myself to be imposed on this way by those with the resources and means to care for strays they found. After one month, I firmly shifted the responsibility of caring for Jewel the kitten back to H and provided her with assistance without allowing her to take me for granted.

I provided H with a pet carrier, milk, vitamins, a scratching post and other feline necessities. I offered to handle the vaccination and neutering aspects of Jewel's care. And so H took over the care of little Jewel, and not surprisingly, decided to keep Jewel.

3 months ago, I boarded Jewel after taking her to the vet for vaccination and deworming and was satisfied with her health and progress. This week, a grown-up Jewel came back to me for her spaying appointment. She is such a beauty now, and very friendly and playful too. I must say H did quite a fine job.

Jewel is greeted by her old pal Pixie upon returning from surgery.

Jewel would like to thank everybody for their concern for her when she was a tiny motherless waif.

Saturday, 3rd April 2010: Rocky

Received a call from Vegan Eugene on Saturday morning just as I was leaving my bachelor pad to attend an SPCA event. He had found a puppy with serious forelimb injuries at the roadside at Batu Caves. Vegan Eugene wasn't ready to condemn the poor puppy to euthanasia, so he called me for a second opinion. We decided unanimously to bring the puppy to Healing Pets Animal Clinic for treatment and worry about the raising the funds and finding the puppy a home later.

Being the Drama Queen that he is, Vegan Eugene told me that the puppy's leg was on the verge of falling off and had to be amputated. I had agonised all weekend over how I was going to rehome a 3-legged dog. On Tuesday, 6th April, I paid Rocky the Puppy a visit at the vet and was surprised to find his leg intact. Rocky's injuries weren't so bad after all and his leg did not have to be amputated. Vegan Eugene, you silly boy, you gave me such a fright when you described Rocky's injuries. Dr. Steven informed me that it would heal perfectly in time.

Now, our next step would be to raise funds to pay not only for Rocky's treatment and boarding, but also his subsequent deworming, vaccination and neutering, to make it easier for Rocky to be rehomed. I believe that for every animal whose suffering we have come across, his or her future well-being becomes our responsibility. If we want to extend help, then we must do it right. But Vegan Eugene and I couldn't do it without the help of our family and friends, so we will send out an appeal soon for funds (which will, as usual, be fully accounted for) the way Audrey Q and I did with Toby. I've sold all the books and CDs I had to sell to raise funds for Project Second Chance, and short of having a slave auction (Hey, I am good at washing cars and doing yard work!) I can't think of other ways to raise sufficient funds in a week or two or until Rocky's discharge. If 50% of our friends gave RM10 each towards the veterinary bills, we would have more than
enough to ensure Rocky's recovery and well-being.

So hang in there, Little Rocky, help is on its way. I am glad Vegan Eugene decided that you were worth rescuing. We won't let you down, Little Guy.

Saturday, 3rd April 2010: SPCA's "Take A Leash" Campaign

To raise awareness on the importance of adopting from pounds and shelters, SPCA Selangor and advertising agency Y&R and sponsors Purina and One Utama Shopping Centre embarked on an adoption campaign called "Take A Leash, Give A Life" at the One Utama shopping centre over the weekend of 3rd & 4th April. SPCA Selangor set up a booth to sell merchandise, counsel potential adopters and collect signatures for the "Animals Matter to Me" UDAW Petition. I dropped by the booth to see how they were doing and to ask my buddies out to lunch on my way to the SPCA shelter.

The unique 30-feet long billboard has images of caged non-pedigree dogs on it. Visitors are encouraged to take a leash from the billboard, thus pledging their support for adopting from shelters and pounds, and hence remove the 'bars' from the cages and set the dogs free into good homes. It's a creative and endearing concept, isn't it?

Our interns and volunteers manning the booth at the One Utama shopping centre. A few animal-welfare themed games and activities had also been organised.

I was invited to take a leash for Amber, as both Amber and Chocky are shelter adoptees.

Jacinta, our intern Amelia, vet student Yee Ching and volunteer Lynette and I later had lunch at Secret Recipe, as it has vegetarian options. I had to get going after lunch so I could get to the shelter in time to bathe the dogs, but my buddies Lynette, Jacinta and Nicole wanted me to stay at the booth. I had to express my regrets that I could not stay, as I think my services at the shelter are needed more.

I arrived at the shelter to find only Reve and Muniandy still at work, and got to work immediately. There were a few dogs in the Central Area with matted hair, so I gave them haircuts before bathing and tickwashing them. Only then did I begin cleaning the kennels and Cattery. I cleaned out and disinfected the cat baskets and litter trays and used eye and ear drops from my Animal First Aid Kit on the cats in the Cattery. There was a litter of blind kittens who were doing really poorly, and I knew that they would probably be put to sleep by the following day. I opened up a can of wet food for them, as a last meal, and sat down on the Cattery floor and prayed for them. I know I don't have the capacity to look after them, and that they would not have much of a quality of life anyway, not merely because they were blind but because they are so sickly, so I did the Transference of Merit pooja for them as it was the least I could do.

I finished cleaning the Cattery, stroked each kitten goodbye and exited hastily so that the cats would not have to see me cry.

Next, I cleaned the cages, kennels, hospital, maternity kennels and front office/reception area, decluttering and disinfecting all surfaces as I worked. Reve helped me take out the trash and put away the donated newspapers. A surprise awaited me in the Maternity Kennels when a dog I had hitherto assumed was spayed greeted me with her brood of puppies. I hope her puppies will find good homes. Puppies generally have better chances of adoption.

Mummy Dog smiling with pride.

I showered, changed and had a coffee with Reve after we were done cleaning and locking up the shelter before going back to my bachelor pad. I ran some errands and cleaned up after the cats and had dinner at a food court so I could watch Chelsea trash Manchester United before going back to the parental home for a Sunday's worth of cleaning the parental home and bathing the dogs. Life is, for the most part, good.

"Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?"