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Sabrina Yeap - Dr Dog Malaysia

 

It is with indescribable sadness, to learn the tragic news that Sabrina Yeap passed away on the 17th July 2012.

Sabrina died as a result of leukemia, an illness that she did not know she had until days before her death. Sadly she was an orphan with no family, but her friends, Salehin and Myza, were by her side when she passed.

Sabrina was well known to those in the animal welfare community as the founder of Furry Friends Farm - a rescue centre for stray dogs in Malaysia - and the Coordinator of our Dr Dog animal therapy programme, which she began in June 2007.

Sabrina's vision with Dr Dog was to focus on the mixed-breed dogs who could give their unconditional love to a community that had abused or neglected them or their kin in the past. The stories of her success were legendary - with patients in homes for the disadvantaged gradually accepting, and then looking forward, to the unique and friendly dogs that Sabrina brought into their lives.

Over time, Sabrina and her team, which included long-time examiner and help, Salehin, intelligently and compassionately steered Dr Dog into a programme that saw the image of dogs gradually being enhanced and celebrated at last.

Today, nine canine ambassadors visit a variety of centres, including an autism centre complete with noisy and very enthusiastic children under the age of 10. As with every centre across Asia that embraces this programme, the children here react positively to the dogs and enjoy learning to stroke them in the correct and gentle way.

Over the years, Sabrina and her team also held successful charity drives in Selangor, and coordinated a very successful Walk for Harmony event too, where a couple of years ago they featured the birthday of a very special dog called Hope.

Hope had been rescued along with many other dogs by Sabrina and her team. His story began in May 2009 when he and hundreds of dogs were dumped on a deserted mangrove island by residents of Palau Ketam, who were sick of living their lives with apparently over 2,000 stray dogs, seeing their children attacked and bitten by the hungry animals, and angry with the government for not doing anything about it.

Their solution was to round up and catch 312 dogs and take them on a 25-minute journey by boat to the nearly deserted mangrove island - and dump them. Over the next few weeks as they struggled with the elements and were left to fend for themselves, half of the dogs died of starvation, or from being cannibilised by other starving dogs, or from drowning after trying to swim back to Palau Ketam.

Only a few were saved - Hope being one of the lucky ones...rescued by Sabrina, and taken by boat back to the mainland and to a vet who helped him pull through. Hope is now a Dr Dog and a perfect ambassador for his species.

Another of Sabrina's biggest successes was Jasper, who was a victim of a hit-and-run driver and was discovered under a car by some friends of Sabrina's who called and asked if she could help. Up until then, no-one had gone to his aid, or realised the extent of his injuries. Sabrina said he had a broken skull showing part of his brain - and, in spite of his terrible of pain, she said that he wagged his tail, as if he knew that help had finally arrived.

Sabrina took Jasper to the vet and over the next few weeks with multiple surgeries and procedures Jasper slowly began to recover - a real miracle dog.

Jasper's story then spurred Sabrina to do something about the countless number of traffic accidents that involve dogs and cats and, on World Animal Day, she sent out a media release calling for animal crossing signs saying; "Beware! Slow down! Cats and dogs crossing", to be put up at strategic places along the roads.

Today, as we say goodbye to a remarkable woman, we also remember her friends and colleagues who will form a new committee to determine how best to continue her tireless work. Kind Salehin has expressed interest in helping to continue on with Sabrina’s duties, specifically in terms of the Dr Dog Programme, and volunteers continue to help at the farm where donations and food are currently being organised for the immediate future.

Sabrina's memorial service was held on the 18th July 2012 and her cremation, led by a procession of Dr Dogs, will be Friday 20th of July. Her ashes will be spread on the Melaka Straits as per her wishes.

From all in the team of Animals Asia, we remember Sabrina as someone beautiful of face and heart, a true heroine who selflessly helped animals and people alike, and championing a lasting legacy of compassion and respect for all creatures great and small.

 

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