Monthly Archives: June 2013

Its hard work being a hero.

Well a lot has happened since my last entry, which is why there has been such a gap. Mind you, a lot always happens!

The 2nd manager decided to leave, and flew back to the UK on June 3rd. That means I have been running both sites myself, and have not had a day off since May 29th! Thankfully a new manager is arriving on Thursday, June 20th, but it will still be another week or so before I can take a day off and leave her in charge.

So not only have I been working 7 day weeks, but I have been dealing with sleep deprivation as I have been handrearing a baby puppy! We had a very sick dog come in on the 9th of June, Pinky. She had a 5 day old puppy, but she was so sick she wasn’t producing any milk, so we had to start bottle feeding the puppy, who I named Simon. While Simon has gone from strength to strength, sadly Pinky died. The vet believes she has a liver tumour, as there was a big mass in her abdomen. Sadly due to the lack of equipment we have here, the vet cannot be 100% certain. However due to the size of the mass, and the poorly state of Pinky, surgery was never an option and all we could do was make her comfortable in her last days.

Simon is 15 days old, and getting bigger and stronger every day. His eyes have opened, and he is almost able to stand. He will need bottle feeding for another couple of weeks, at which time he will go on to solid food. The owners of him and Pinky want him back, but I am reluctant to give him until he is much older, around 3 or 4 months as undoubtabley he will not get a good diet or care and if he goes home at the ‘normal’ 6-8 weeks, he will just waste away.  So I am determined for him to be as big and strong as possible, Sadly we cannot confiscate the puppy, despite the fact that the owners left Pinky to get in a terrible state, and basically neglected her for goodness knows how long. There are very few animal welfare laws in Sri Lanka, and if I was to refuse to give Simon back I could actually be arrested for theft. So all I can do is give him the best start in life.



The day after Pinky and Simon arrived a member of staff found a baby Jungle squirrel under a coconut tree.  We assume it was blown out of its nest, as it has been quite windy here (thanks to monsoon season). Anyway I call her Humbug because she looks like a mint humbug. She was so small at first that we had to feed her from a pipette, now she is a little bigger she can feed from our smallest bottle. However she only drinks about 1ml of milk at a time. She seems to be doing well, she has taken to the puppy milk of and hasn’t show any signs of sickness. However what we are going to do with her once she is fully grown, I don’t know. She cant be released, as she will have no jungle smarts and wont know how to find food etc.



We also have another older dog in just now called Rocky. He was struck by a vehicle and his back and both back legs have been broken. As we don’t have an xray machine, we haven’t been able to determine the full extent of his injuries.  As a small charity we sadly do not have the funds for such an expensive piece of equipment. At times we don’t even have the funds for anything! We had been trying to get enough money together to take Rocky to Colombo to get xrays done there. Thankfully someone kindly donated money to cover the cost of transport and xrays, but unfortunately Rocky has deteriorated and wasn’t strong enough to deal with the journey to and from Colombo (around 3 hours each way). So we are just having to manage his pain and see if he picks up.

This morning one of the staff here came and told me there had been puppies dumped outside her house….10 in total! So she brought them in and we are looking after them now. The amount of puppies we have just now is ridiculous. From tiny ones like Simon, to big ones that had been rehomed but we have had to bring back as the owners weren’t caring for them. We are completely over run and full to capacity….and this very second, I just got a text asking if we can take 3 more!

There is never a dull moment, and never a quiet day. Always doggies somewhere needing a hero to rescue them!



This past week has been fairly busy with the usual new arrivals etc. Myself and the volunteer vet, Sally were told by a staff member that a litter of puppies had been dumped down the road.  We went off to find them, and found 5 skinny little pups about 4 weeks old. They were most likely from a pet dog, and have been dumped as the owners dont want to deal with them. That’s sadly how most street dogs come to be, dumped litters. Anyway they are back at the sanctuary, being fed up and loved. There are 2 boys named Pepper and Radish and 3 girls called Satsuma, Melon and Plum.

We also had a pet dog brought to us one afternoon. A labrador cross who was clearly a cared for pet. He had collapsed and was breathing heavily and the owners brought him to us. Sadly it became apparent that the dog had been poisoned and there was nothing that we could do other than make him comfortable. He passed away through the night having never regained consciousness. The owner was fairly sure it was a neighbour who set down poison as the dog could be aggressive (which is what everyone wants here, an aggressive guard dog) and the neighbours didn’t like him. Its such a shame to know someone actively wanted to kill this dog. The owner was quite upset.

Over the weekend myself, our resident vet and 3 staff members went to an army Commando training camp in order to do an outreach programme. The camp base had around 300 stray dogs living in and around it who continually breed. We had been asked to help spay and castrate as many dogs as we could over the weekend. In total we only managed 25, but considering the camp was 400 acres and we had to find, and then catch the dogs before operating, I think we did quite well! We will hopefully go back again in a few months to do some more. The army were very accomodating and were really pleased for our help. The camp Commander even thanked me personally for organising a team and bringing them to the camp and he gave me a wooden carved elephant as a token of thanks. Myself, the vet and the vet nurse also got to plant commemorative trees which will have a plaque with our names on them, so a bit of me will always be in Sri Lanka!

ImageMe and my tree

As well as operating on the dogs, we were on the look out for any sick or injured dogs that would need to come back to the sanctuary. We ended up bringing back 2 pups that were quite sickly and weak, who have been named Sergent and Major. Sergent has Babesia, as well as being thin, and Major is just needing some TLC. We also brought back a pregnant girl who has a TVT (a form of cancerous tumor that forms in the genitals. It is 100% curable with treatment with something called Vincristine). She has been named Army Mum for the time being. We have delayed her treatment for the TVT until after she has her pups as the tumour isn’t too advanced and she is a fair way through her pregnancy.

There were also some quite exciting, non work related, highlights of the weekend. Firstly, my accommodation was amazing! It was a little bedroom/bathroom jungle cave type thing that was right next to a beautiful river.


Jungle cave



I also got to see some wildlife. I saw a star tortoise, a lizard, some birds and most exciting of all…..



Not safari park or zoo elephants, but proper wild elephants. I was so happy.

It was a brilliant weekend, and not something I would ever have expected to experience while I was out here, but I am so glad I got too, and hopefully I’ll get to do other exciting things!