Despite our new bears having better body condition than those we received last March, the emergency health-checks are showing all too clearly the problems that the bear farmers are attempting to disguise.
The air was full of anticipation and excitement – it always is when new bears arrive. First you feel elated that animals that have been slowly wasting away in cages, tortured by the extractors of their bile, will soon be released from their suffering. And then you feel sick to your stomach, knowing that the odds will be against some of them and they will arrive with us too late.
Just when I’d written about Chris’s new lease on life, things took a turn for the worse.
This was a bear who originally had a belly full of pus and a hernia the size of a football. I'll never forget Chris arriving at our door on the 10th of June 2002 from a bear farm in Dujiangyan.
Writing about animal emotions after enjoying the London pantomime, “The Jungle Book”, the other week it seemed appropriate to reflect on the thoughts of two very special people who have championed animal emotions for decades.
Something told me in vet Leanne’s voice that it was going to be bad news. I’d returned to Hong Kong at the weekend for meetings this week and was dreading a call from the team as they went back to the dog rescue centre on Tuesday.
On this latest trip to Qimeng Rescue Centre I remembered to bring tissues. “Little Eddie” has had two reprieves now as her health goes up and down – and I’d convinced myself that I would be holding her frail little body for the last time. This is a photo of her that Rainbow Zhu, our Education Manager, took as she arrived on the truck:
Stories like this are food for the soul. These photos in the Hong Kong Chinese-language media almost need no words as our Dr Dog ambassadors proudly show the community how healing and beneficial companion animals are for us all.
This wasn’t the way it was meant to turn out – well not if you believe in fairy stories. The 149 rescued dogs would settle down in their new rescue centre, contented and safe, and would all live happily ever after.
Just a year ago, we had a very special guest on site - a Taiwanese rock star by the name of Xin. A vegetarian and animal lover, he must have fallen in love with the bears as he promised to compose a new song for them before he returned.