Passion for paws!

My love for animals and advocacy for animal rights has never waned, more so increased and especially with the proven connection to the degradation of the environment. But for all the amazing work that many organisations around the globe are doing, I wonder how the smaller based groups are coping with their work. I remember starting Leela’s Love and although almost non-existent compared to the huge NGO’s around Ghana, I still felt like my work was valid and that it mattered.

When I moved to the Philippines, I sourced a group called Pawssion Project. I understood that it was an animal welfare organisation that aims to rescue, rehabilitate and rehome animals, especially dogs. A huge feat just doing all this but their projects also comprise of spray and neutering, education awareness, adoption drives, dog sponsorships and emergency tasks. How it started? By one amazing woman named Malou. Her story is one of bravery, compassion and commitment.

It all started with the awareness of fifty dogs being put on death row at the local pound. Refusing to stand by and allowing this to happen, this first rescue developed into the first dog shelter. With a handful of volunteers and unwavering support from family and friends, Malou has been able to provide care for hundreds of dogs, totalling more than 500 rescues and rehoming over 100 dogs…and counting. This first dog shelter then developed into two with clear need for such help.

What fascinates me every time I go and volunteer there is the huge love this tiny woman has for her rescued animals. She works hard, I admit, and she is constantly having to take calls, organise vet attendances, find assistance with picking up dogs and even providing food for the strays that are still stuck at the pound. But at the end of the afternoon, when we are resting with the dogs under the shade of the trees, her hand is always reaching out to cuddle or comfort an animal.

I love the shelter. I love the noise, the barking and the play fighting. I love getting wet from washing the dogs and feeding them their favourite treat – pandesal. I love when the very timid dogs feel a little better when I sit quietly with them just to show them that I won’t hurt them. And I love walking out, all dirty and smelly from a few hours of being with beautiful creatures who, from no fault of their own, have been abandoned, neglected and mistreated but have turned out okay.

It is a huge project and apart from me, the first shelter sees only a few volunteers at most. The other dog shelter is closer to the capital city and so donations and support and help does get directed there most of the time. So, as my heart tells me, there is always a way to help. And my new product launch - will be seeing all profits go towards the Bacolod shelter.

It may not be much but it’s something. And you can all help. It’s as simple as purchasing a beautiful reusable bag made from waste material. You not only help the environment; you give to a fantastic cause. I plan to assist Pawssion Project back here in Australia and when I return to the Philippines, will dedicate more of my time at the dog shelter. It is a worthy cause and the people that run it are just so full of love and dedication, it really warms my heart. And although Malou is tiny in stature, she is big in heart!

Something we can all learn from...