Barbara Zach-Miller is the author of the book Lady May: Memories of an Old Dog. The protection of animals is one of her greater passions in life. She lives with her husband and their five dogs in Switzerland.
I have often wondered if people are born loving animals, if this special kind of love is an inborn trait, like curly hair or blue eyes. I do know that loving animals – all creatures that walk, fly and swim the globe – has always come as naturally to me as breathing.
As I grew older, my love of animals deepened with the realisation that they are far superior to us in their innate understanding of life’s secrets
Over the years, I have learned how to live from the lessons my dogs have taught me and, when the time comes, I hope I have also learned from them how to die. Animals possess the enviable ability to live completely in the present. For them, each new day is a beginning to be explored with a wagging tail and boundless enthusiasm, and when night falls, they tumble into a restful sleep until sunrise. Not for them, the brooding over past events or the trepidation about what the future may hold. Carpe diem, is the maxim they live by.
During the past ten years, I have become increasingly involved in animal rescue, doing what I can to support under-funded, under-staffed shelters cope with their Herculean tasks. This work also included adopting dogs to live with us, in some sad cases, only for their final weeks of life.
All dogs are the same lovable creatures to me, but the old ones, the age-worn and sickly whose past lives are the stuff of canine tragedy, those dear souls are closest to my heart. There is nothing more enriching than the devotion of old dogs who have lived in a world where there was no place for them.
Our family includes five dogs, who have been abused and abandoned in their native countries of Italy, Spain and Portugal.
What first caught my eye when I happened upon the Let’s Adopt! Global Facebook page was their dazzling claim of being “The most exciting animal rescue since the invention of the dog and the cat”. Now, that must be a fascinating bunch of people, I thought, and proceeded to read their entire history, about the many dogs and cats LAG has saved and turned around from being the most wretched, medically hopeless cases imaginable to becoming animals bursting with health and joie de vivre.
One by one, LAG takes in animals that no other rescue group will touch, usually because the dog or cat is terribly sick and not expected to live, or has suffered such severe trauma that state-of-the-art surgical intervention is required. It takes a dedicated and loyal donator base to finance such expensive and frequently prolonged treatments. And, indeed, LAG is able to mobilise tens of thousands of animals-lovers worldwide in support of their work.
No one involved with LAG would ever dream of giving up, of not moving heaven and earth, to ensure that every animal is given the best fighting chance of becoming whole and healthy again. The sheer dynamism of each rescue mission, from the hands-on saving of an animal, to its rehabilitation and ultimate rehoming is formidable. Each step of the way is faithfully documented in videos, photos and updates, making you feel as if you were right there, on the spot, listening to the beating heart of LAG.
What also impresses me is that LAG’s animals are rehomed all over the world, regardless of where the adopter lives or where the animal is receiving care. Gone are the geographical barriers of borders, oceans, mountains and deserts, because if an adopter offers a LAG animal the perfect home, then this this lucky creature will be transported across the globe. LAG’s ethos of making the impossible possible, of reaching out to connect with animals lovers worldwide, has created a strong sense of community, made up of people of all nationalities who not only passionately care about animals, but just as passionately care about LAG as well.
It is an unwritten law that where there is a force of good, a force of evil will arise in an attempt to destroy it. This axiom has proven true with LAG. There exists a clutch of scandalmongering individuals which is spreading irrational and outrageous lies about LAG and the animals it has saved. The motivation for this grotesque smear campaign is a matter for conjecture. Perhaps it springs from a shameful envy of LAG’s enduring success, its ability to generate large sums in donations? Or does it feed off an odious craving to see a renowned international organisation and its members fail in their declared purpose to save animal life? Trying to delve into the murky workings of such minds is futile. What counts is that these people will one day soon meet with personal disaster as their vicious fabrications collapse in the undefiled light of justice.
There can be no doubt whatsoever that LAG will endure and continue, unhampered, with its trailblazing approach to rescuing animals all over the world. After all, what could be more important to our well-being than the well-being of our beloved animals?