Noah's Residents

Noah's Residents

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A Place where Art, Colours and Animals Move as One

Noah’s Ark Natural Animal Sanctuary (NANAS) is situated in Johor Bahru, Malaysia which is a 30 minutes drive from the Singapore customs. For me it was a great start of a fun day despite some delays and we had a good yet simple vegetarian meal to kick-start the day. After lunch, we started to proceed to the sanctuary. I went with an open mind, not knowing what to expect as it would mark my first visit to the sanctuary.

I have lived in Hong Kong for most of my life and I am so use to the hustle and bustle of the city. My only experience with animals was when I was 8 years old which was a trip to the Hong Kong Zoo with my parents. 

One day before the sanctuary’s visit, I had attended Rosina’s Animal Communication Workshop which made me rediscover my love for art and the beauty of colours. I had stopped doing art since I was young, but through the workshop I am able to rekindle my passion to draw, write and even learn to communicate with animals with the guidance of Rosina.

Prior to visiting Noah's Ark, I was apprehensive due to knowing that there would be many animals running around within the sanctuary’s grounds and that I was bitten by a dog when I was young which intensified my fears and phobia. Rosina gave me some advice to calm my fears which was not to make eye contact with the dogs when I entered and to go in with a positive mindset. 

However, when I entered the sanctuary, I was greeted by the barking of the dogs but I was overcome with a sense of peace and serenity, instead of fear. The animals were all well maintained, clean and love by the other animals and workers at the sanctuary. The main lodge where Raymund Wee, the founder of NANAS lived ignited the artist in me. It had paintings and figurines of animals and religious artefacts that was similar to that of a European-Chinese art museum. 

I was filled with joy and happiness to see nature and animals co-existing together as I begun a tour of the sanctuary with Rosina and the group. I took many photographs for keepsake and I was tasked by Rosina to try and communicate with the animals. Animal communication is similar to that of talking and meeting a new friend and I had only mutual respect and confidence in communicating with the sanctuary’s many animals. Also, I had the opportunity to interact with the sanctuary animals from horses, snakes, dogs and cats.

Moreover, I was overcome with a wave of emotions when I found out the identity of my guided animal. He is Gerry the wild boar and he is in need of a bigger enclosure to roam around. I did a drawing of him and that it dawn on me that he is upset due to the limited space. It is my duty to support him to contribute funds to build for him a bigger enclosure where he can roam freely.

After two hours of excitement and taking in the sights of the sanctuary, I retired to the lodge for a short nap as I was exhausted emotionally. The lodge gave me feelings of peace and that it was a moment in time where nobody would judge, question and remind me of my duties as a person. I felt truly blessed to be in the company of such tranquillity with the surroundings and the animals.

Soon, it was 5 p.m. which marked the end of the tour. In my heart, I did not want to leave and wanted to stay on. But knowing the amount of effort and energy needed to maintain the place, I was not ready for that yet. From this trip, I took away a great experience in my life which helped me overcome my fears and to know that life is indeed beautiful. I hope that many people would get a chance visit the sanctuary to observe the unique blend of art, colours and animals in one place. Also, do continue to support the various fundraising projects for the animals and the sanctuary to continue their daily operations and to know that you have made a difference in their lives by helping in one way or another.

A group photo with my new friends from Singapore.

By: Yeshma Sawlani (Hong Kong)  

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Restoration of Hope & Care to a Gentle Giant

By Ang Ai Khim

Noah’s Ark Natural Animal Sanctuary (NANAS) has been attending to cases of animals being abandoned or neglected for many years and through the care and concern, the animals are shown again the beautiful ability to live their life to the fullest which is within the wide open spaces that the sanctuary provides them.

I remembered that it was 20 January 2015 at about 7 a.m. when I first chanced upon the posting of Rocky on Noah’s Ark CARES Facebook page. This is definitely not the typical story of a girl-meets-boy kind of story; it is more of a girl-meets-dog kind of attraction. This account depicts the restoration of Hope and a genuine acceptance that does not consider physical appearances.

As a Christian, the biblical definition of Hope is "confident expectation". The bible goes on to further describe Hope as a firm assurance regarding things that are unclear and unknown (Romans 8:24-25; Hebrews 11:1, 7). Also, Hope is a fundamental component of the life of the righteous (Proverbs 23:18). In this case, the righteous one is none other than Rocky, a Neopolitan Mastiff who is approximately 10 years old.  A Neopolitan Mastiff is a dog that is known for its traits to be a watchful guard dog but its characteristics is of a gentle affectionate giant that just wants to lounge around to pass time. 

Cruelly abandoned by this owner for being too old and smelly, Rocky has medical issues as well - several lumps on his body that require surgical removal and an aural haematoma. An aural haematoma occurs from an irritation to the ear which causes excessive scratching which may rupture the blood vessel in the ear leading to a deformed ear cartilage.

Upon physical examination by a volunteer veterinary surgeon at Noah’s Ark Animal Birth Control (ABC) Clinic, Rocky was deemed fit to undergo surgery to remove the lumps and to drain the swelling in his ear flap. The surgeries were successful which helped to alleviate his physical discomfort, but deep down Rocky was filled with emptiness and unhappiness from his ordeal.

When I first met Rocky in person on 24 January after his surgeries, he was not interested in anything and anyone. He spent most of his time curled up at a corner of Noah's Ark's main entrance, almost like a well - blended wallpaper to its surroundings which made him unnoticeable. It occurred to me that Rocky had separation anxiety which was common in human beings when someone that they are attached to- leaves suddenly. Animals do have feelings and also experience similar bouts of loneliness and grief due to a change of the situation. Pessimism seems to hang over Rocky like a storm cloud and I felt his emotional pain which needed a healing approach known as Tender Loving Care (TLC).
The expression of caring in the clinical context is close observation, precise listening and responsive questioning, in concert with committed engagement and actions directly addressing the patient's problem, stripped of any assumptions about what the patient might or might not be experiencing. Rather, it boils down to genuine and sincere in the compassionate act of caring. After observing his body language, I moved into Rocky's intimate space uninvited to try and get to know him better personally. Naturally, he avoided any interaction with me by either moving away or ignoring my advances. He was also uninterested in treats which showed his low spirit. However, I kept talking to him and also stroked his head and ear gently from time to time. I kept encouraging him to eat more and to put on weight. He turned to me looking surprised whenever I spoke these words of gentle encouragement, "Rocky, I see you. I care. Eat more. Put on weight".

Two weeks passed with a blink of an eye, I had the opportunity to meet Rocky once again on 7 February. During this visit, I fed Rocky with some boiled chicken meat as treats and took him for a walk around the lush surroundings of the sanctuary. It is without a doubt that he is living in such a lovely and tranquil place; hence it is a real pity not for him to witness the beauty of the sanctuary with his own eyes. As we walk along, Rocky's gloomy face cracked up into a smile and I cannot help it but smile too at this development. His eyes slowly lit up and he increasingly got more cheerful with each gentle breeze brushing across his face. Rocky is starting to relax and is learning to enjoy his surroundings with each moment.

After the walk, Raymund Wee, founder of Noah's Ark told me, “Rocky has gained 3 kg since his first arrival at the sanctuary and he is more responsive to people now.” Most importantly, he has regained his will to live. I was delighted at this great news and new development. Deep down, I am filled with gratitude and peace that Rocky has finally settled down comfortably and is regaining his appetite. He can certainly be confident in receiving the best care at the sanctuary and live his life to the fullest!

In my opinion, Rocky's story serves as a timely reminder that good welfare is not simply the absence of negative experiences, but rather is primarily the presence of positive experiences, such as happiness, affection and companionship. This is an aspect of transformation that an animal goes through in finding both love and hope again in the lowest of circumstances.

I felt that all aspects of an animal's needs, including physical, psychological, and social needs, should be taken into account and seen as a whole when caring for an animal for the entire natural duration of its life time on earth. Afterall, everyone needs to be understood and cared for, no matter their condition. Love can be a double-edged sword as it might hurt at times, but with respect for all living creatures on earth, the positive experiences do outweigh the negative experiences. To be able to help an animal at a 100 percent level, it is important to break down any emotional or psychological barriers within ourselves that exist to reach out to those that really deserve the help and attention.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Noah's Ark community service

11 April 2015 - Mr Teh a lorry driver approached Noah's Ark for help to sterilize 20 of his street dogs because the mummy dogs were giving birth to frequently.  The solution to stop the breeding is to have the dogs sterilized.  

The volunteers consulted me and after a short interview with Mr Teh and a site visit Noah's Ark agreed to sterilize the dogs at no charges.  

In return?
Mr Teh was willing to pay in kind by supplying 5 lorry loads of soil to Noah's Ark to level up some low lying areas at the sanctuary.

By Raymund Wee 

Mr Teh carrying one of the puppies at a vacant building.

Mr Teh with his trusted friends.

Feeding them is not a problem.
What he does is to ask the restaurants n hawker stalls for leftovers.

The breeding will STOP when the dogs are sterilized.

An abandoned building where the dogs seek shelter from.

Clearing the fallen trees to save the puppies.

Independent volunteers from JB braving the storm to help Mr Teh to send the puppies 
and the bitches to  Noah's Ark Animal Birth Control Clinic for a medical check to stay 
at the sanctuary until they are old enough to be rehomed.

Payment in kind.  5 lorry loads of soil were supplied to the sanctuary
as a token for the sterilisation and vaccination for the dogs
that were done at no cost.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Monkey issues

 Source: The Straits Times, 7 April 2015

 Source: The Straits Times: 8 April 2015

Source: The Straits Times: 10 April 2015

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

A lonely journey of compassion

This article was written with permission from Mr T.T. Lim

Noah’s Ark Natural Animal Sanctuary (NANAS) has seen its fair share of animal hoarders and the condition of the animals who had become the prisoners of their love. Most of them start off with good intentions and have compassion for the animals. When they see a stray, they find it impossible to turn away. They allow their hearts to rule their heads and became addicted to the accumulation of more animals. They are overwhelmed by their well-meaning intention that their animal care is neglected or compromised.  

Take the case of Mr T.T. Lim.  His neighbors label him as the “Crazy Cat Man”.  Uncle Lim is 67 years old, a retired bachelor who lives with his street cats.  The cats are like his children and he knows each by name and their medical histories. He retreated from socializing with his friends because of his cats. His friends stopped dropping by his house because of the stench of the cats’ faeces and urine and possible health risk to themselves. Neighbours complained about the presence of cats’ waste in their gardens and infestation of parasites. Eventually, he became withdrawn and isolated.

This kind man would bring his rescues to our Noahs’ Ark Animal Birth Control (ABC) Clinic in Melaka for medical treatment and sterilization.  Uncle Raymund has shared and counseled Uncle Lim on the following:-

(a)  Management of community cats i.e. that instead of the scattered, random  approach adopted by Uncle Lim on picking up stray cats across a wide geographical area, he should concentrate on specific locations, for example, the food-court at Bukit Bruang.  This way he could get an idea of the cat population there and to sterilize as many as possible. This approach is faster and has more visible impact to curb the over-population. Furthermore he would be able to contain and manage any infection afflicting them.

(b)  Quarantine of sick animals and proper nursing protocol. Invariably the cats Uncle Lim rescued are afflicted with respiratory infection.  In order not to transmit any infection to his healthy cats, Uncle Lim should not allow them to have any contact.

(c)  Trap Neuter and Release (TNR). Cats that have been neutered must be returned to where they were first caught.  However after having nursed the sick animal to health or after sterilization, Uncle Lim forms a strong attachment to the animal and cannot bear to release them. The “R” in the TNR did not materialize. Thus, began the accumulation of cats in Uncle Lim’s household.

Sometime in May 2014, while Uncle Lim was mopping the kitchen floor in his home, he slipped and landed on his back. His injuries were so severe that he laid paralyzed and helpless for three days.  Without food and water, Uncle Lim drifted in and out of consciousness.  His shouts for help were unanswered as he lived alone.  

On the third day after the fall, a friend dropped by his house, after failing to get him on the phone. Uncle Lim knew this was his last chance to get attention from his friend, otherwise he knew that he would not make it.  He mustered all his strength and expelled an explosive shout. His friend quickly attended to him and called the ambulance.  

No one knew the exact number of cats in this multi-cat household except that the population was burgeoning.  The 30 odd cats that hung around the house were stressed, frightened and ill.  A Noah’s Ark volunteer, Shaqira did most of the heavy work – feeding and nursing the cats on daily basis. She took it upon herself to clean and mop the house because the cats, in their stressed condition, had defecated on the floor and other surfaces. 

I wished that Uncle Lim had listed the total number of cats and their respective medications, rather than us doing “a guessing game”. Due to the overcrowding and the deteriorating housing condition, more cats were falling sick. Some started to linger outside the house, becoming a nuisance to the neighbours.  Whilst we took turns to shuttle to Uncle Lim’s house daily to tend to his furry friends, we felt the strain as we had to juggle our own personal responsibilities with the added workload.

At best, we managed to find homes for some of the kittens. Sadly, there were no takers for the rest of the cats.  It is unconscionable to abandon the cats and let them fend for themselves as the street is not their home.  I kept Uncle Raymund updated of Uncle Lim’s medical condition which would require long recuperation,  the deteriorating sanitary conditions of Lim’s house and the complains from his neighbours of the nuisance  from the cats. Uncle Raymund offered the sanctuary as a permanent home for the cats on compassionate grounds.

We set out with our rescue mission to bring the cats safely to the sanctuary. However, we were met with obstacles. Cats are highly territorial creatures and those 30 felines were very suspicious and mistrustful of us.  Some tried to hide almost immediately when we entered the premises.  It was a daunting task to coax the cats into our carriers and now I understand why “herding cats” is a synonym for “chaos”.

After an exhausting “cat and mouse” chase as some of the cats were stubbornly elusive, we manage to round up all the cats without any “cat-astrophe.” The cats’ first stop was the ABC Clinic in Melaka as a temporary holding area where they were de-fleaed and de-wormed until they were re-located to the sanctuary.  We also provided food and water.

Cats getting ready for their journey from
Melaka to Noah's Ark in JB.

A mother cat nursing her kittens.
On 31 May 2014, Raymund and I visited Uncle Lim at the hospital to provide updates on his 30 furry friends and assured him that Noah's Ark will become the cats’ forever home. His eyes teared.  The grief, guilt and burden that Uncle Lim had been shouldering were lifted. I could tell that Uncle Lim is grateful to Noah's Ark. He can now focus on recovery. 

On the same evening, it took six people to hoist the carriers and secure them properly for the cats’ two hour journey to their “Purr-adise”.  45 minutes later, our rescue mission was completed.  

On 7 March 2015 ,Uncle Lim celebrated
his birthday.  He is now residing
at a nursing home.
Uncle Lim has also undergone surgery and has cervical spine disc prosthesis implanted in situ c3/c4, c4/c5 and c5/c6.  Recovery will take a longer due to his age.  Most importantly, he has a positive outlook in life and he hopes that one day he is able to continue caring for the community animals.

Instead of being appreciated for his compassion for the street cats, Uncle Lim was judged negatively, either as a hoarder, eccentric feeder or a person with mental disorder. He was ostracized.  It tells us something about our society’s treatment towards stray animals and their carers. We hope that our society is able to reach out to help those in need and support them with help such as veterinary care or placement of these animals.

By Siah Li Mei

Please do read our articles on Where there’s a pet, there is a will and The importance of including your pet in your will and a video on “The street is not their home.”

Meet Uncle Lim's cat residents at Noah's Ark.