Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Saving a Spider (and Other Animals!)

This morning I saved a spider.  Not an incey-wincey cutesy spider as in the song, but a great big galumphing thing with what seem like countless legs (actually only eight!) in a leg span of around 10-12 inches. They are also known as the ‘huntsman’ spider because of their speed and how they hunt their prey. So, you might ask, why save one? My Jack Russell, Chloe, having failed the “can-you-hunt-rats?” test (the clever, faster rats always escape) is determined to prove her worth. 
Image courtesy Wikipedia
She cornered it, but with the help of a paper towel, I rescued it. Huntsman spiders are actually considered very useful because they feed on insect pests, including cockroaches. I bothered saving it, not only for the cockroach angle, but because lately I have become more and more concerned about saving creatures full stop.

Image courtesy SAFE Rescue
My recent foray into animal rescue resulted in my little e-book (pending) called Champ: The Story of My Survival. Champ is eagerly awaiting the on-sale date of his book and will be sure to alert fans and followers. I blogged recently about Champ’s book. I have become a passionate follower and avid tweeter of other sites that do a fantastic job such as PETA, Soi Dog Foundation, and countless others. I wondered if my ardent Tweeting about animals and their plights would put off my Twitter followers. In fact, I have doubled my following since I began this crusade (for want of a better word). I used to only Tweet about writing and book-related stuff, but since my Tweets now encompass myriad animal stories, petitions, and pleas for help, my new following has showed me just how much people care about animals and wild creatures. In fact, my foray into the world of animal rescue writing has led me to new projects. I started a book site dedicated to my animal rescue books, called Caladrius Books, as a way of creating animal rescue stories to make people more aware of the plight of animals in need, and to help raise funds for various organisations. I hope you’ll visit, learn more, and support the books when they are available.

Cover design by Meagan Miller

My next mission is writing about Poppy, the most famous dog in Fiji. I watched a documentary on Animal Planet called Bondi Vet. It featured Poppy’s story. Basically, Poppy’s nose got cut off in a hunting accident. She must have been in great discomfort but this never dampened her amazing friendly nature. She was brought to Animals Fiji Nadi clinic by a team effort between a teacher at an inland Fiji School who saw her foraging for food—she was skin and bone—and Julie Hoskison from Myola in Sigatoka. The call went out and a young schoolgirl called India Davies in Melbourne, Australia began the fundraising. The word spread and Poppy attracted the attention of Chris Brown, the Bondi Vet. Poppy went to Sydney for facial reconstruction (by surgeon/vet Andrew Marchevsky) at the Small Animal Hospital Sydney (SASH) there. She made a wonderful recovery, and the Davies family became her new ‘forever’ family. Although Poppy now has a new home in Australia and is basically cared for by a loving family, she has not forgotten her friends back in Fiji. Animals Fiji is in desperate need of funding to help look after the many needy animals on the island. Poppy has become the spokesdog of the fundraising program. Poppy has a Sponsor a Vet Appeal, and all funds are gratefully accepted. Proceeds from the book will go to Animals Fiji for continued animal care on the island.

Next up is the story of Melani the Sumatran tiger that survived eating tainted meat at her home zoo in Surabaya, Indonesia. There were originally four tigers, but three died. Melani, through some miracle, lived. Her plight—she was emaciated and fading fast—caught the attention of the wonderful director of an organisation called Cee4life (Conservation and Environmental Education 4 Life), Sybelle Foxcroft. Sybelle literally moved heaven and earth to get Melani moved from the zoo to an amazing animal rescue/safari park (Taman Safari Bogor) that does a fantastic job in saving and housing exotic animal species. In June 2013, after wide media reports on the frail Melani, the Minister of Forests
Cover design by Meagan Miller
ordered that Melani be removed from Surabaya Zoo and taken for treatment to Taman Safari Bogor, Indonesia. Melani now receives top care and the proper diet for her species. But this beautiful, elegant creature has a long way to go to achieve an acceptable quality of life. Melani is the most beautiful tiger, with a gentle loving nature. Her photo was used to create a compelling and haunting cover. Melani is on a long road to recovery but still needs a special diet. Please read more about her on Cee4life website and if you can, contribute to her continued recovery.

I am honoured to be able to create books about these amazing animals and their equally amazing rescuers. There are countless rescue sites and petition sites that desperately need your help. The people that tackle often dire situations, fight with red tape, battle unhelpful government officials, and struggle to raise funds, go largely unmentioned and unrewarded. Their joy is in seeing an animal saved from the brink of death; seeing that animal trust and love again; seeing that animal decide that life might just be worth living. Please do what you can to save animals and the planet. As human development encroaches into wild habitat, exotic animals suffer. As the domestic animal population increases because of lack of sterilisation or the dreaded puppy mills, more animals pay the price. I was horrified to read about the number of kill-shelters and the number of animals simply dumped for a variety of reasons by their owners. I was devastated to read about the recent mass killings of stray dogs in Romania, something that has turned into a vicious vendetta against innocent creatures.

Animal cruelty and brutal animal practices, such as the horrendous live meat export situation in Australia, world-wide industrialised animal farming in which particularly chickens, pigs, and cattle endure appalling conditions, the annual (unnecessary) dolphin killings in Japan, the illegal dog and cat meat trade in the East, the atrocious bear bile practice in China, the mass poaching of elephants and rhinos in Africa reduce me to a terrible sense of desperation. What can one person do to stem a tide of horror and brutality that makes the human side of ‘humanity’ a sick joke? One person can do what only one person can achieve. Multiply that by millions and you have a rising tide of people who say NO. Please pass the message on, please sign petitions, please make a donation, however small, to a worthy animal rescue site. We are in danger of losing the planet that was entrusted to our care. Only we can stop that happening.
My small share is what I can give freely: my writing about various issues, and spreading the word. Thank you for reading this post. Please share this with all your friends and followers. Together we can inspire change, even if it starts with saving a spider.

Saving one animal may not change the world, but the world will certainly change for that animal.
by Fiona Ingram

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