As final year veterinary bioscience students, when we heard that we would be visiting Noah’s Ark Natural Animal Sanctuary (NANAS), we knew that hopes for a normal day would be replaced with an exciting learning journey for us. Upon arrival to the sanctuary, we were greeted with a warm welcome by Lynda and Clement who are Noah’s Ark CARES Singapore volunteers.
Alas, it was pouring heavily and we were not able to explore the sanctuary and that was when Lynda invited us to visit their in-house Animal Birth Control (ABC) Clinic to have a first-hand viewing experience on a quick feline neutering procedure done on a street cat.
This was where we met Raymund Wee, the founder of Noah's Ark. The clinic conducts surgeries which range from eye inoculation and leg amputations. Raymund explained to us that many veterinarians from Singapore and overseas volunteer at NANAS. The sanctuary does give aspiring veterinarians and technicians a chance to have practical scenarios where we can hone our skills.
We were definitely in luck as it was by chance that we got to witness several surgical procedures including the neutering of a large canine and it was really an eye opener for us. The reason was that some of us have not witnessed a shelter surgery up close before. With the assistance of the volunteer veterinarians, Noah's Ark is able to sterilise 20 to 30 street animals a day. Sterilisation is the only humane solution to control the street dogs and cats population from getting out of hand.
“Standing beside the operating table and watching the procedure being done reminded me of why I wanted to be a veterinarian back then. Listening to Raymund sharing his passion and witnessing the love he has for the animals was an inspiring moment and that, reminded me of my initial aspirations. Even though the journey towards being a veterinarian may seem daunting and long, just standing there in the sanctuary surrounded by the animals living out their second chance is proof that with determination and perseverance, one can make a difference. It was a great trip, a good experience and a newfound inspiration for me. I would be glad if there was another opportunity to go to Noah's Ark and perhaps maybe a chance to volunteer and be exposed to a learning experience.”
We headed around the sanctuary for a short tour after the rain had subsided. We visited Huggy boy, a rescued Gibbon and the horses at the stables before spending a lot of time in the cat wisma. Everywhere we went there would always be a welcoming party of several of the 600 dogs that call Noah's Ark their forever home. Seeing a 3-legged dog run as if he had 4 legs was really something, we found out his name was Blade! It made us realised that the sanctuary accepts all sorts of animals and that they are all entitled to their own form of freedom.
At the stables, we were introduced to Melody, a 31 year old rescued pony from Tang Dynasty in Singapore when it closed its doors in 1999. She has remarkably exceeded the usual 20 -30 years lifespan of a horse. Although she has difficulty biting the carrots, we fed her like any other seniors by cutting it into smaller pieces for her. Melody still ages gracefully and beautifully for a white mare! Unfortunately, not many horses are as lucky as her, those deemed incapable as a riding horse would be deleted (put down) as they are of no use to the riding facilities.
Noah's Ark has stepped in to rescue some of these lovely horses and from what I observe, they have settled down happily in their retirement home. Each horse at the stable has a story of its own and it is definitely worth visiting the sanctuary to relive those childhood memories of being up close with horses!
If you want to learn more about the horses, do visit the Noah's Ark Natural Animal Sanctuary blog to get to know more about the 10 horses residing in the sanctuary.
Amongst the dogs, cats, rabbits and primates were a wild boar and two ball pythons which intrigued us to the variety of animals that call the sanctuary home. The cat wisma was a two storey bungalow located by a quiet lily pond where the felines would just relax and look at the greenery to watch time pass by. There was also a dog named Jasmine that spends her whole life amongst cats as their protector!
Towards the end of our visit, Clement showed us how to handle the 2 ball pythons and allowed us to have a feel of the 2 ball pythons. We took some last pictures with the ball pythons before heading back.
In our eyes, the sanctuary is seen as a safe and peaceful haven for animals to live out the rest of their lives with dignity. It is a sad reality that many dogs and cats are abandoned, abused or neglected on a daily basis. Some suffer the fate of waiting in a shelter for the right owner and most will not know the true meaning of freedom and love.
As students, we hope that people’s mindset will change for the better to be more socially accepting of animals. We are also glad that Noah's Ark has made so much difference in the lives of many animals that have pass through the gates of the sanctuary. We will definitely be back at Noah's Ark to help out!
Contributed by: Dennis,Esther,YuLin and the rest of group!