Wednesday, May 09, 2007

the second miracle


I want to share a story that has broken my heart open, a story of one person who has made an immeasurable difference to a corner of the world that many of us may never visit.
A couple of weeks ago I was contacted by Melanie - a kind-hearted spirit, whose reason for getting our of bed in the morning is to be of benefit to animals in need. This is not her day job - this is the voice of compassion which exists in us all, yet sometimes we are deaf to it. She has listened, and acted. She contacted Tara's Babies about 30 dogs in Taiwan who will be killed if homes are not found. Her call touched my heart, and I spontaneously said yes, to ten - how could I not, because the vivid story of selflessness that is unfolding around me makes me catch my breath with inspiration.
The dogs in Taiwan are housed in a dog garden in a school yard. Lucky, whose picture no doubt shocked you as it did me, is one of these dogs. Ms Wu, a teacher at the school, cannot bear the suffering of animals, and two years ago set up an animal rescue, operating from the school. She finds dogs in terrible condition - sometimes one heartbeat from death, as Lucky was - and nurtures them with love, tenderness, vet care, and food. She teaches them to trust, to know that people can love as well as harm. When ready, she takes them to adoption parties, where hopefully they find loving forever homes.
It is an amazing display of courage and dedication - some of the stories of catching the animals show her determination to bridge that stream of distrust and terror that separates dogs on the street from a future home. She does this, because her heart allows her no option, but to act when there is terrible need.
But, Ms Wu's dogs are no longer safe - they are tied to the railroad track of impending change, and the locomotive is bearing down fast; Ms Wu is going to retire, and the Principal has said the dogs will be euthanised. Saved once, and having learned to recognise love and trust, their lives will be cut short. This is what Melanie cannot let happen, and neither can I.
Ms Wu writes touching stories from the dogs perspective - here is a little of what Lucky has to say:
I am waiting for the second miracle in my life.
I was lying down at my last gasp in front of Yang Mei Senior High School, simply wanted to bask in the sun for the last time. On the verge of death, I was gently held in a pair of warm arms, which brought me to the dog house. I heard someone talking tenderly, and was given a bowl of meat and some clean water.
Then I went to the hospital and was told that I’ve got a serious folliculitis, which has damaged my cortex. The doctor was not very optimistic about my condition. However, mummy Jia-jen kept her hopes up— after all, I could still eat a little bit. She started to feed me lots of nutriment twice a day.
It’s about half a year before the crust of my wounds began to fall, and the jet-black hair started to grow. Although my hair would never be as thick as normal dogs, it’s a whale of difference comparing to the outfit I’d got when I was homeless. I feel getting better not only physically but also mentally. I relax a bit when I get along with mummy, and hum in a good mood when she takes me out.
I walk about freely in the dog farm and get on with other dogs peacefully. I have gotten used to stay quietly in a corner to avoid unnecessary bully for one year and a half.
I am about nine years old now, my hair won’t be able to grow completely due to the necrosis; therefore, I probably will not even have a slight chance to get a new home. Mummy says to me gently: ‘Sh, don’t you worry about it. I promise to take care of you to make up for what you have suffered.’ However, she could not keep her words anymore, because here comes the new principal and the dog farm is forced to close along with the mummy’s retirement. She could not bring me home since she’s already got ten dogs.
I never hate any person or dog, and just want to stay in the corner belonging to me. I have no other wishes but to bask in the sun, however the wish of simply being alive does not seem to come true easily.
I really long for the second miracle taking place sometime soon— somebody could take care of me while I am old and ailing like a candle guttering in the wind, and bring me the love I once had but will lose soon. Oh my dear lord, please tell me, is it really going to happen?

Ms Wu is worried for all her dogs, so the ten she has chosen to come to Dakini Valley are healthy and adoptable - she sees a good future for them, and says, " You even give a hand generously to me who is far away in foreign country; it’s been so lucky for those ten dogs who can be reborn in Tara ’s Babies. I won’t worry about them anymore in future, since I know that they would rest in a warm harbour. I can’t express how I feel with words right now" . What an unimaginable choice to have make - who will live, who may die - for beings you have nurtured and nourished from death already.

I asked her about Lucky: "He doesn’t like barking or exercising, neither does he cause too much troubles. I wish Lucky could have a happy life in the U.S. Lucky does not have much hair even though Ive been feeding him nutrition food. The doctor says that the his hair follicles have died. He would still need continuous medication and observation once he gets there. I am not sure if it is OK with you or would it cause too much trouble?

I want to save Lucky, but worry that with his hairless old body, he would find our winters too cold; until we build our new shelter, we have nothing appropriate to offer. So this is my plea - some of you live in places that are warm, where the air is softened with moisture, and the sun shines. Or your relatives live in this climate. And you have friends and neighbours who live in your street, your town, 50 miles away. And some of them have a yard where an old dog could rest. And they are willing to tend to the needs of an old greying dog, who was once a bag of hairless bones, and now wants only love and safety.

Our planet is littered with lives of suffering, so why Lucky - why this dog? Why not? Compassion and suffering have neither boundaries, nor limits. They are present in our neighbourhood, our daily lives, and they are familiar to people and animals hidden from our view. The story of Lucky is not unique, but it is a story we can write the ending to. We can be the miracle. And if we make a difference, even only once, we have changed the face of this planet, and the texture of our hearts, forever. I want to find him a home, where he can bask in the sun until he dies a natural death, so that the chain of kindness which links my heart to yours, and your to Ms Wu's, and hers to Melanie's, and Melanie's to her neighbour.... is entwined around the earth, unbroken.

Please help me find a home for Lucky. His transport/paperwork to the US will be arranged, and we will find a way to get him to you, to his home of love, and his resting place in the sun. When Ms Wu heard even ten of her dogs could be saved, she said,"Suddenly I feel the world is full of wonderful and adorable things and there are so many angels helping me and my dogs out. I've cried my eyes out, with tears of joy and appreciation."

Be an angel, be the second miracle. Contact me about Lucky, or any help you can give for any of these dogs, at

The reward will be more than one life saved, it will be the seed of a different future for us all.


Tooky said...

What special needs does Lucky require, besides regular medication? Would wearing a sweater, when he's taken outside in cold weather, be sufficient? Will he be coming to Dakini Valley, anyway, until a home is found for him? How soon are the ten dogs going to be coming to the US?
I'm just full of questions, here!

kunzang said...

Tooky, I will ask Ms Wu about any other needs Lucky has. I know all the dogs have had health checks, are vaccinated etc - are healthy to go to homes, just like from a Shelter in the US. In fact, one of the dogs reminded me of my own dear, fluffy Nyima, it really made it clear that these are loving pets waiting in the wings, simply born into a different, tragic, circumstances.
A sweater may well work - even a warm home for him to retreat into. As you well know, in Tara's Babies current set-up, the dogs have their warm dogloos and some weather protection, but they still live outside the whole year. (Can't wait till the new facility is done, with indoor/outdoor accommodation for those that need it!!). Works fine, if you have hair!
Melanie and I have told MS Wu we want to save all her dogs (14 still remain unplaced, including Lucky). He is not one of the ten - she is making tough calls to maximise who she thinks will be adopted. I don't know that we can stretch to 11 - though I don't know how to say no, and not weep - which is why even foster homes for Lucky - or any of the 14 still praying for a miracle - while we work on adoptions, would be a gift of life.
No specific date set - we still have to raise the money for their kennels....sort of like Katrina, just know you have to mobilise and do it in a short time, because there is no alternative. I feel I owe it to Ms Wu and her dogs, because that act of kindness of one person is an agent of profound change.

Tooky said...

My heart just goes out to Ms. Wu, that she has to make these life and death decisions! If one of the "more adoptable" dogs (one of the 10) could be fostered out immediately, there would be room at Dakini Valley for Lucky, until he could find a safe, warm place to go. He would just have to be a totally indoor dog. In fact, this could be multiplied out, so that most of the other 14 "less adoptable" dogs could at least have a forever sanctuary at Dakini Valley, too, with the chance of getting their issues resolved enough to make it into a real home. This is all so difficult, and I just so wish that all these babies could be safe! It just tears me up that situations are the way they are. Ms. Wu and all her charges are in my prayers. Tooky

Tia said...

I have been so absent with my posts and visits to my friends' blogs.....

I hope Lucky has been lucky enough by now to find a new home? I wish I could take him, but with us in the middle of a move to we-don't-know-where-yet it is completely impossible... I will keep him in my thoughts and prayers so that he may find a safe, loving place.

(I was so happy to read on Dara's site that you have secured the land for Tara's Babies! Congratulations!)

EdaMommy said...

I've been thinking of Ms. Wu and her dogs, especially Lucky. How are things? I very much wish that we were in a position to take Lucky. Please keep us updated on all of them! May they all find good homes, and soon!

Anonymous said...

Kunzang. I so admire the work you are doing, everyone at Dakini Valley is amazing. I am speechless by the photos of Lucky, whoever adopts Lucky will themselves be lucky.