Animal Welfare in Miri

I’ve had an interesting day today that had nothing whatsoever to do with fashion or interiors or my business of selling boots and handbags.  It had mostly to do with another effort I am involved with here in Malaysia.  PAWS – Piasau Animal Welfare Support.  And some of my day was heart-breaking and some was surprisingly gratifying.

Animals hold a special place in most cultures and countries. Whether that place be one of respect or one of disdain, they inhabit that place often without much thought given by us humans.  We accept it as a matter of conditioning based on how we were raised and how we were taught animals should fit into our lives.

There is a diverse mix of cultures where I live in Malaysia; Chinese, Malay, as well as local tribal populations and a large expatriate community.  It’s not surprising we all have different ideas about how animals should be treated and respected.

But today was all about mutual respect, no matter where we were from, no matter what our background.

Photo by Tina Graham

Peanut, one of our PAWS kitties

Today I had to take a sick PAWS kitten to the vet. She was really unwell, unable to use her legs, couldn’t hold her head up, crying in pain.  I thought we were going to have to put her down and we still may.  I stood there with the Muslim vet and cried over the decision.  He was visibly moved by the emotion I was displaying, and he cradled her with such love and care, as we discussed the best thing to do.

In the next room was a Malay man with one of the pet cats he had adopted through PAWS.  We think she had been hit by a car and was paralysed from the waist down.  Another agonising decision had to be made between he and the vet.  He was distraught and so sad about his cherished pet.

On a brighter note, earlier in the day I had joined a group of local college students who put together a fundraiser on behalf of the PAWS.  These were students from all of the many Malaysian cultures. The fundraiser was centred around coffee break and lunch time food sales at IBS College and I arrived after they had set up.  I was really impressed with how they had organised themselves and how excited they were to help me sell the PAWS merchandise to all the students in addition to what they were already doing.

College students shopping for PAWS products

I was amazed at how many wallets opened and what little these starving students could spare was spent on a PAWS t-shirt or mug or just put directly into the donation box.  People signed up to volunteer (something we are always grateful for as we never have enough volunteers!), and they asked about adopting.

I’ve had a stream of messages this afternoon from people asking to adopt animals.  They are looking for a new addition to their families.

And so I’ve decided today that it doesn’t matter which culture or which part of the world you are from, it seems to me if you are an animal lover you are a big-hearted person. If only all the world’s cultures had as much respect for each other as these local cultures have for our animals.

What do you think?

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