There's never a right time to hear bad news, but landing at Heathrow Airport this morning and hearing a voice mail from Heather that Assisi had passed away was the last thing I wanted to hear.
It seems hard to believe that just a few weeks ago I joined Alice, Morgan and Laura in the USA for our 2009 Roadshow. A whirlwind of time and emotions as we joined friends across the country, who put heart and soul into helping the animals of Asia by organising such innovative and amazing events.
In between all the excitement here in China and Vietnam, the days are ticking by for our big event in the UK this Christmas. The award-wining play, Skellig, will be staged at the Bloomsbury Theatre in London as a benefit for Animals Asia.
The day was perfect - and only marred by seeing so many people wearing fur. So much so, that I couldn’t help asking one volunteer, Eliza Leung, if she knew that the trim around her hood was real. Initially, she couldn’t believe it was true because it had been so cheap to buy – and she willingly offered to throw it away.
Our education, Dr Dog and Professor Paws teams in Chengdu and Guangzhou have been super busy over the past few weeks – running themselves ragged helping dogs and cats in China. Irene sent a fabulous update and pictures from Guangzhou in southern China recently showing our community education event with Guangzhou Police and a local animal welfare group, "Private Home of Pets".
The Dr Dog Devotion Awards day in Hong Kong so stormingly organised by a few of our dedicated Hong Kong team was the perfect example of the community coming together for the love of dogs (and cats). Great job Marnie (pictured with me here), Cassy (next pic, on right), Jasmine and Claire (pictured below on stage with the kids) and Edwina and Tele!
Just before I left home on the morning of our Dog Devotion Awards in Hong Kong, I asked Eddie what he would like me to say in my welcoming speech. “Well,” he said thoughtfully, “you could say that we dogs want more rights. For example, we want the right to have our tummies scratched whenever we roll over. We want the right to share your biscuits, to run on the beach whenever the sun shines, and the right to drink the water out of the toilet bowl without you people screaming in disgust!”
Two new bears have joined our Animals Asia family – a young female in China and a middle-aged male in Vietnam. I’ll write more in my next blog about the tragic story of “Misa Hai” in Vietnam, who was kept in a terrible, dark cage for 14 years.
Earlier this month, our amazing Italian office helped to organise the most beautiful concert for our bears: “Uno Stradivari per la Luna” (A Stradivari for the Moon).
Just recently we proudly welcomed our UK trekkers on site in Vietnam. These unsung heroes had trekked over inhospitable terrain for lengths of anything up to 10 hours a day to raise money for the bears, and arrived with us exhausted, but unbowed.