The Only Cure... is Kindness

A long, long time ago we began building sanctuaries for rescued bears – and realised even then that kindness went hand in hand with healing. To see broken bears becoming whole again as they enjoyed the simple acts of kindness offered to them, made us feel both happy for the end of their suffering, and guilty that they could even think of trusting the human species ever again. But they do – and they show us lessons in forgiveness that return the kindness they received a thousand times over.

Little Toy Bears - spa Enjoying a spa at the Little Toy Bear House, Vietnam.

Today, the sanctuaries in China and Vietnam flourish with bears who have long put their misery behind. We all say that they rescue us every bit as much as we rescue them. They console and lift us when days are bad, and they re-affirm time and time and time again why we do what we do. Who wouldn't want to see our mini munchkins enjoying their "socially distanced" spas in the Little Toy Bear House in Vietnam, or the "illegal" tree parties that WanCai and friends create and enjoy in China? This... is kindness in action – as the bears' joy translates into our joy as well.

tree party 1
WanCai and friends enjoy a tree party!

So many examples of kindness throughout these years. From the early '90s, where we've been able to celebrate in seven countries across the Asia continent how dogs can be kind too. Here, we see canine champions and their wonderfully kind guardians cheering up patients in hospitals, or giving their unconditional kindness and love to children in disabled centres, or the elderly in homes where, once again, kindness is always at the core of a smile and a brighter day.

A while ago we had an urgent call from the United Christian Hospital in Hong Kong SAR who asked our Dr Dog team to visit an elderly, end-stage lung cancer patient and his family. After "Dr Oscar" and his wonderful guardian, Edith, had visited the patient, we received a card of thanks from him saying:

“To Dr Dog team and fellow members - Thank you for bringing this lovely dog to meet with us, this has given me great joy and happiness for the day, which any miracle drug available is incomparable. Wish you all good health and happy always.”

Dr Oscar
Dr. Oscar - a key member of our Hong Kong Dr. Dog team.

Or our Captive Animal Welfare projects that see horribly abused species now free of their chains and walking in wonder in the forest of their birth. The most simple acts of kindness can mean everything and we began to realise that this was something to be shared and celebrated, on a planet that needs kindness to help it heal.

elephants - Captive Animal Welfare
Before and after - elephants no longer giving rides to tourists, but free to roam.

Today, with the world in such turmoil, we need to do things differently now. COVID-19 is just a symptom of a bigger disease and we must all take responsibility for our treatment of animals considering that virtually every pandemic has been caused by our mistreatment of them. The coronavirus is the latest example of this, with every road leading towards our own lifestyle, and our own responsibility for healing this world, kindly.

This is why we are launching "Kindness in Action" and asking everyone to look at habits that can and should be changed. We can no longer be blind to the things we know to be true in terms of how we treat animals and the terrible consequences of being complicit, or turning away.

Ricky Gervaise - T-shirt
Our new campaign T-shirts, supported by Ricky Gervaise and a host of other celebrities. 

Kindness is such a strong gift – the most essential gift we have for change – with a power that's immeasurable. And if we say we love animals we must reflect on what love truly means, and take kindness as the example and change how we live. For how many times have we seen exposés of cruel practices in so-called "humane" farms and slaughterhouses? This fact is neither random nor rare – and every day millions of animals are suffering as a result of our ignorance and greed. Changing a lifestyle of course doesn't mean that we can do this overnight but, with every individual looking at what we buy, what we eat, what we wear, what we put on our skin, how we furnish our house, and so much more, we are stepping closer to a lifestyle of true kindness and compassion, that will so obviously benefit us too.

As well as working from the ground up as individuals, when we come together for change we can have a huge impact, amplifying each other’s voices, concerns and actions. Only together with your support were we able to work with the Vietnamese government to sign a historic, landmark agreement to take the lead in helping them end bear bile farming in the country for good. We'll continue to put your kindness in action and work on levels that would not be possible without so many supporters around the world joining us. The end of bear bile farming in Vietnam will stand as an example of what we can achieve together when we align our principles with our actions.

Meanwhile, our staff have begun a tradition of putting random acts of kindness into action – simple acts such as buying two coffees and giving one to a stranger who looks like they might enjoy one, with a smile. Giving a street sleeper a cup of hot soup, or giving your favourite shop assistant a flower. The examples are limitless and the results give a personal warmth to both the receiver and the giver.

Please join our special campaign – by wearing our new T-shirt and joining a host of over 40 celebrities worldwide in spreading the most important message of this century: "The Only Cure is Kindness", encouraging us all to ponder: "what can I do to be kind"?