The Touching Story Of A Man Who Rescued An Orphaned Moose In Distress

When Erikas Plucas came back home one ordinary day he found a baby moose lying all by herself just outside his gate. “The first sight of her was heart breaking,” said Erikas, who lives in Lithuania. “She was starved, dirty, sad, her fur was infested with flies, and she was so terrified of me when she first saw me but was too weak to run away, to even get up.” Once he established that the calf was all alone, Erikas approached it ever so carefully so as not to frighten it. On closer inspection, he noticed that it was a female moose who was no older than two weeks. She was in bad shape, and that’s when Erikas figured out what had happened to her mother.

Emma, The orphaned baby moose

Erikas believed that the female moose’s mother was killed by hunters, and in search of safety, the baby moose ran onto the property of the farm to evade the hunters. It also looked like the calf got injured on the way.

Like most people would have done, Erikas called up family and friends to ask for advice and tips, but he was met with aggression. “‘It is illegal, you should not do it. Let nature take care of it,” were the kind of comments Erikas received.

Erikas decided to keep her, and a magical friendship formed between the animal and the man. He was excited to keep the female moose and named her Emma. The first few weeks were very challenging for him; it was as if fatherhood crept up on him from nowhere. Emma needed to eat every few hours and couldn’t be left alone for too long.

erikas with emma

At first, Erikas would feed her every four hours, and even sleep next to her in the barn or outside to make sure the animal felt safe.

Eventually, it was time to release the moose back into the wild. At first, Emma was terrified of the forest, but she felt safe with Erikas and therefore followed him into the wild as he helped her search for food. He hoped Emma would learn how to fend for herself like any other moose in the wild. So, would Emma finally move into the wild?

emma in a local lagoon

Erikas was thrilled to see Emma roaming free in the woods, but he knew that she could fall victim to the local hunters just like her mother did. He couldn’t stand the thought of losing his beloved Emma, but he couldn’t keep her on the farm either.

To avoid the inevitable, Erikas invited the local hunters over to try and get them on his side. “I had some hunters over for them to see her as not just a nice, warm steak with potatoes and vegetables on the table, but as a very intelligent and loving animal,” he said. Would his plan work?

Erikas’s plan went surprisingly well, and after the hunters witnessed the relationship between Emma and Erikas, they had a complete change of heart. Some of the hunters agreed not to hunt her, while others promised not to hunt moose at all.

The biggest victory for Erikas was that some hunters decided to put down their weapons and stop hunting altogether. He was ecstatic to hear the news, but then Emma showed up with an even bigger surprise than he could have imagined.

Emma visited her ‘dad’ every single day!

After Emma moved back into the wild, Erikas noticed her stomach looking rather round and significantly bigger. It was clear that she was pregnant, and at that moment, Erikas was reassured that Emma really was doing well in the wild. She was starting her own family! Soon Erikas will get even more visitors – and he couldn’t be happier about it.

emma is starting her own family

“She turned my life upside down. Being a man, I became a mother to a moose,” Erikas said.  “I’m her world now and she is mine,” Erikas said. “Sometimes I wonder was it me who saved her or is it the other way around?”.

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Chained, Beaten, Whipped And Exploited Like Slaves: The Hidden Horrors Meted Out To India’s Temple Elephants!

Originally published in The Independent.

They are the country’s icon – but behind the dazzle of religious festivals, these giants of the wild are painfully abused in Kerala.

When Audrey Gaffney first read about Raju, an Elephant kept in chains with spikes embedded in his ankles, she couldn’t stop the tears pouring down her face. “In fact, I cried again and again: I found over the next few days I just couldn’t get this story out of my head, I couldn’t stop thinking about Raju,” she recalls.

“I couldn’t believe the cruelty of my race.”

The young Elephant had been snatched from his family, she explains – his mother either would have been killed or spent weeks searching and crying for him – and he was beaten into submission. Raju then spent the next 50 years forced by his handler to beg in the street, starved, frightened and suffering infected wounds to his flesh. By the time of his rescue, he had resorted to eating plastic and paper.

Going on to discover that Raju was just one of thousands of Elephants treated this way in India, Ms Gaffney, a single mother from Liverpool, was spurred into becoming an activist for the first time. In the four years since, she says, her life has changed beyond recognition as she dropped her wariness of social media and teamed up with other volunteers working to raise awareness of the horrors to which the temple Elephants of India are subjected.

Taken from their families in the wild, shackled, beaten, whipped and exploited like slaves, these Elephants – ironically India’s icons – are painted and dressed in colourful decorations, to be paraded in regular festivals and processions organised by religious temples.

They are the world’s forgotten Elephant victims of mankind. While the world has focused on the threat of extinction to Africa’s Elephants caused by the ivory poaching crisis and the cruelty of tourist Elephant rides in Thailand and Cambodia, the plight of their captive counterparts in India has remained largely hidden from public gaze.

Fed the wrong diets, Kerala’s Elephants suffer malnourishment (Action for Elephants UK)

Photographs and videos posted online have shown how, away from the glitz of the festivals, these sensitive, intelligent and naturally sociable creatures are tied to the spot by ropes or chains that eat into their skin and inflict agonising injuries to their legs; they are hit with metal rods or bull-hooks – sharp tools – and “trained” with punishments to hold their heads high.

When the six-month festival season begins in December, they are forced to walk for miles in searing heat on hot, stinging tar roads and ridden into processions noisy with crowds and fireworks – terrifying for a creature whose home is the forest. While still shackled in chains they are made to run races or carry people and are subjected to “painful and unnatural” “head-lifting” competitions.

Some Elephants are carted from one festival to another – in some cases hundreds of miles – and despite suffering sometimes infected wounds from the chains, are ridden in searing temperatures by people who apparently see no harm in what they do.

The southern coastal state of Kerala has the highest number of festival Elephants, about 500 out of 3,500-4,000 across the country. Action for Elephants UK (AfE) brands Kerala “ground zero for elephant torture” and has called their illegal treatment “the worst case of animal cruelty in the world”. The plight of the 150 captive elephants in neighbouring Tamil Nadu is feared to be just as BAD.

Footage posted by local group Kerala Suffering Elephants (KSE) reveals how an Elephant named Gurvayur Nandan was paraded at a festival until dawn, before being transported for eight hours standing on the back of a truck in the scorching sun for eight hours without rest to a separate event that ran until midnight.

Malnourished and deprived of medical care, captive individuals of the endangered species rarely survive this “unrelenting neglect and torture” for a natural lifespan. The mortality rate in Kerala is shocking: 58 have died in 27 months, and already in 2018, 12 have succumbed, according to KSE. In seven years, the death toll is 350. “There could be no more damning proof of the hellish conditions and treatment meted out to these Elephants,” says Maria Mossman, founder of AfE.

Elephants are shackled in heavy chains that wound the flesh (Action for Elephants UK

For all the abuse, injuries and mental torment, it’s not the pain or infections that usually kills them early, it’s “intestinal impactions”: a blocked colon caused by being fed the wrong diet and insufficient quantities of water. The condition means they die “a miserable and painful” early death.

Campaigners have had enough. Gathering outside the Indian High Commission in London, they staged a protest to draw the attention of the New Delhi government and the world at large to the animals’ plight. Wearing large Elephant masks and waving placards, they came from a variety of backgrounds; some had travelled hundreds of miles to be there.

What unites these women – and yes, the campaigners are nearly all women – is a shared abhorrence of the “abuse and torture”. They adamantly deny attempting to interfere with religious culture.

“Temple Elephants are not part of any tradition,” explains Ms Mossman.

Their use in temples and festivals is not part of Indian culture, nor do Hindu scriptures anywhere say that Elephants should be used in temple rituals. On the contrary, the barbaric treatment of these elephants goes completely against the core beliefs of Hinduism”

In fact, the cruelty behind Kerala’s rituals is thought to have begun about a century ago as India’s nouveaux riches started to buy Elephants to flaunt their wealth. Denise Dresner, a co-organiser of AfE, recalls the heart-wrenching moment that opened her eyes to the scale of the problem: “In 2013 I saw a video by Peta of Sunder the temple Elephant being beaten. This was something I’d never witnessed before.

“An Elephant was on its side on the ground, struggling to get up. His feet were shackled and he was being beaten violently by several men, over and over again. He kept struggling, unable to get away from the blows raining down on him. I learned later he had been kept in a dark shed and beaten incessantly for seven years.

“That moment of seeing him being beaten and tortured was seared into my brain and heart. It’s an image that will never leave me, one that shows the extremes of human violence and brutality towards other living beings. The unspeakable cruelty perpetrated on these majestic, sentient and highly intelligent creatures must end.”

For Maria Harper, another protester, it’s the duration of the suffering that is worst. “What upset me most was when I realised the length of time the temple and festival Elephants suffer,” she says.

“They can endure cruelty and abuse for more than 50 years – if they are unfortunate enough to survive that long. It’s a life sentence”

Seeing the photos and hearing the accounts is harrowing. But Ms Mossman says it’s vital if their welfare is to improve. “The world needs to know how handlers use banned weapons and restrain them with heavy shackles, often tightened so severely that they cut through the flesh, causing raw bleeding wounds that are seldom treated. “They are often forced to stand in the same position 24/7, in their own urine and excrement, suffering from foot rot. They are beaten and tortured time and again.”

Some mahouts think nothing of whipping an Elephant to make it bend to his will, such as climbing into a truck. But the abuse doesn’t end there.

Most of Kerala’s captive Elephants are bulls. When they enter their annual musth – mating season – their testosterone levels and energy surge, so the mahouts tighten their shackles further until the creatures are unable to move. In addition, food and water are restricted to weaken them.

But then comes the cruellest torture yet. Several men, often drunken, beat the chained Elephant for up to 72 hours relentlessly. The practice is based on a superstitious belief that the Elephants may have forgotten their commands during their musth, and is designed to break the Elephant’s spirit, “reminding him that his masters are in control”.

All bull Elephants in Kerala undergo this horror every year.

These practices are banned by the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960 and the Wildlife Protection Act 1972, but campaigners point out that the laws are routinely ignored.

Elephants are paraded with no ownership papers or parade certificates, or with fake fitness certificates, breaking the Wildlife Protection Act 1972, which says they cannot be exploited for profit, AfE says. Recent laws banning the use of disabled, sick or pregnant elephants in festivals are also ignored.

“The plight of these Elephants is arguably the worst case of animal abuse in the world. The suffering that temple Elephants endure is unimaginable”

“India has very good laws, but they are ignored daily and the abusers go unpunished,” says Ms Mossman. “Not only are Elephants intelligent and sentient beings, they are an endangered species. It is the duty not only of India to enforce the laws to protect them, but of the world to hear their cries of suffering and respond to end the brutality against them.”

She and KSE agree that making profits and keeping the status quo are at the root of the problem. “These sentient animals are seen only as commodities, earning huge sums of money for their owners and the temples,” says Ms Mossman. “Exploited under the veneer of culture and religion, they are big business. Everyone, from the chief minister downwards, has a stake.”

The 3,000 temples that rent out Elephants to festival organisers are run by four devaswom (socio-religious trusts), appointed by the state government, and each temple earns many millions of rupees from festivals.

Any Elephant that makes it beyond 60 is purposely neglected and abused – treated as a disposable item – so the owners can make hefty insurance claims, according to AfE.

Sangita Iyer, who was born and raised in Kerala and made an award-winning 2016 film, Gods in Shackles, revealing what goes on behind the scenes at the festivals, is convinced greed is to blame.

“Elephants are allowed to die so the owners can receive the pay-outs. There’s a whole insurance industry surrounding this, in which the owners and brokers make the most profit.”

A dead tusker that suffered intestinal blockages is covered with a cloth. Most captive elephants die young after years of pain (Action for Elephants UK)

According to India’s Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre, which in 2014 petitioned the Supreme Court of India to order better conditions for the animals, another factor is young men showing off. “Today’s mahouts are in it for the glamour and the thrill. Unlike the mahouts of the old, who learnt the ways of handling the Elephants over time, these guys know only oppression and violence,” one rescuer says.

Nor does Ms Iyer particularly blame festival-goers. “Most people are unaware of the crushing burden these Elephants carry, in the literal sense, on their backs, and in their hearts and souls. Most people don’t realise the brutality that these sentient beings undergo to entertain them. They are so hypnotised by the majestic, ornate Elephants and lost in their own selfish world that they don’t even look at the raw bleeding ankles.”

However bad the suffering of the individuals, the abuse has wider repercussions. KSE warns it could even lead to the extinction of Indian Elephants.

“As each of these Elephants die from overwork, intestinal impactions etc, the surviving ones are going to be overworked even more. It’s a vicious cycle and will probably end only when there are no Elephants left”

Taking young Elephants from the wild has a serious impact on wild Elephant populations in India and elsewhere, activists fear. People’s lives, too, are being put at risk. Some elephants, driven frantic by their suffering, break free and run amok. Behind media reports of people being killed by a rampaging Elephant there almost always lies a story of a brutalised animal.

There have also been 300 incidents of Elephants running amok in the first three months of this year. Earlier this month there were unconfirmed reports of Elephants running amok at festivals in Ernakulam and Kollam districts. Unofficial counts put it at 20 incidents in one week.

Action for Elephants is warning prime minister Narendra Modi these rituals are not just harming the country’s most iconic wildlife, but also India’s multi-million-pound tourism industry and reputation. “We hope tourists and visitors to India will make ethical choices and will shun all forms of Elephant tourism that use elephants in any unnatural way, whether in festivals or for trekking or rides or any other purpose,” a statement by the group says.

“In this day and age, when we have gained so much knowledge about the intelligence, emotional capacity, and social bonds of these majestic creatures, and when we know how endangered they are, we believe that all countries have a duty to protect them, treat them humanely, and give them sanctuary.”

India is positioned to take a global lead in ethical wildlife tourism, the letter says.

As long as the current system of cruelty is allowed to continue, the more it will negatively impact India’s tourism and tarnish India’s reputation and image in the world

Signatories include primatologist Jane Goodall, TV star Michael Palin, author Jilly Cooper, TV presenter Anneka Svenska and radio presenter Nicky Campbell, as well as MP Zac Goldsmith.

Filmmaker Ms Iyer believes educating the public is the only way to achieve change. “Ignorance and arrogance make for a bad potion, and unless and until we are able to create attitude shifts in the public eye, there’s little hope for these sentient beings.

“There is no point in fighting the owners or brokers. Enlightening the people is the only way to stop the audience from participating in festivals that use live Elephants and reduce demand for such cultural festivals. When the demand dies down, the Elephants will be ultimately phased out.”

The Indian High Commission in London did not respond to a request by The Independent to comment and refused to send anybody to open the door when visited in person.

There are some glimmers of hope, however. Occasionally, news of progress made by welfare workers on the ground emerges, and an elephant rescue can become a stand-out memory for followers. The film that startled Ms Gaffney was called Raju the Elephant Cried on the Day he was Released from Chains. His rescue made headlines.

Ms Dresner says she followed each step in a protracted legal case to free Sunder with her heart in her throat. “Finally, when he was freed, the joy was overwhelming. Like so many others, I then followed his progress in his new home at Bannerghatta Biological Park, crying (happily) with every bit of good news: his healing leg, his first swim in the pond, his making new friends, his putting weight on his skeletal frame.”

Fellow demonstrator Joanne Smith agrees. “The terrible delays with the court case were so hard to take but the day Sunder was given his freedom was thrilling,” she recalls. “It proved to me that we can make a difference with hard work and determination.”

In the past two years, three temples have done away with renting Elephants for festivals. One used mechanical stand-in; another used an 8ft dummy made of plaster of Paris and bamboo. Organisers say they may even offer the model to neighbouring temples for their own festivals, allowing the idea to catch on.

The London protest and letter also have the support of Absolutely Fabulous star Joanna Lumley, whose message was: “One of the most influential Indians of all time, Mahatma Gandhi, said: ‘The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.’

“India! Listen to his words and implement them. The world supports your laws against cruelties to temple Elephants, but only you can ensure that they are enforced.”

And that, say campaigners, really would be worth a celebration.

Gods In Shackles

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Elephant Hit By Train In West Bengal’s Dooars Passes Away After Struggling For Hours.

Another man-animal conflict story was reported in West Bengal when a train engine hit an Elephant trying to cross the tracks, critically injuring the animal.

The incident happened in the Jalpaiguri district of the state.

The Banarhat-Nagrakata train route passes through a major Elephant corridor often leading to such tragic accidents involving Elephants.

The heart-wrenching video that surfaced on various social media platforms showed the critically injured Elephant trying hard to drag itself out of the railway track, as people watched in helplessness, after being hit by the engine of the intercity express.

The video shows the impact of the injury on the poor animal while people watch helplessly. In 2004, the Dooars line was converted from metre gauge to broad gauge; a move that saw a sharp increase in Elephant deaths.

But despite all the precautionary measures and efforts, such as speed limits and buzzers, trains on the Dooars route have continued to kill Elephants.

In the period between 2013 to June 2019, a total of 67 Elephants were killed in train-related accidents.

Actor Randeep Hooda said in a twitter post “The agony of the Elephant is quite evident in the video, the impact can be gauged by the damage to the engine.

I humbly urge the ministry to drastically reduce speed of trains through this area, humans can easily manage slight delay to keep wildlife safe”

For the sake of the Elephants, let’s hope they listen and reduce the speed of trains through the corridor.

A petition is being filed asking Indian Railway to review the permitted speed of 50kmph in the day time in dense forest areas. The maximum speed before the increase was 25kmpg and had shown a sharp decrease in the accidents and death of Elephants.

Please sign the petition HERE

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I’m A Celebrity Bosses Ban Live Insects From Bushtucker Trials After Backlash From Animal Rights Groups.

I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! bosses ‘banned the use of live insects for bushtucker trials’ after facing backlash from animal rights activists.

According to reports, the apparent change to the format of the show will remain a permanent fixture.

‘They have been planning this for some time,’ an insider claimed to the Mirror. ‘And actually, last year beach worms were the only critters eaten live but this time around they’ve decided to implement the change fully and permanently.’

This comes just days after animal rights activist Tayana Simons wrote a piece for Metro.co.uk calling for the use of all live animals in the programme’s trials to be banned.

In the column, Tayana writes: ‘Not only does this harm the animals involved, but it also normalises animal cruelty to audiences of millions, including young children.

‘This isn’t just a view shared by animal rights organisations such as Viva! which has campaigned against the show since it began, celebrities such as Chris Packham and Lucy Watson have also voiced their opposition to the use of animals in the trials.

Chris Packham’s Twitter post to I’m A Celebrity presenters Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnely

‘The horrific scene of celebrity Ferne McCann eating a live spider received a massive 1,500 viewer complaints, while in 2010 the show was fined by the RSPCA in Australia for killing and cooking a rat purely for entertainment.

this celebrity ‘trial’ of Ferne McCann eating a live spider received 1,500 viewer complaints

‘The Bushtucker Trials epitomise a flippant disregard for non-human animal life which does not belong in this century. They need to end.

 ‘If the animals used in the show were socially valued animals such as cats or dogs, there would be an uproar at scenes of them being grabbed and flung by the neck, tossed around in overcrowded caves or having their body parts eaten on live TV.’

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The BARBARIC ‘Blood Sport’ Of Dog Fighting On The Increase In The UK.

Dogs are being mauled and left for dead as the blood ‘sport’ of dog fighting grips Britain.

Dog fighting was outlawed in England in 1835, but carries on in a secret underground world run by organised criminals.

The dog fights usually take place in backwater car parks, industrial units or farm buildings where grown men take bets while goading their pets to rip each other apart.

A Typical Dog-Fighting ‘Event’

Many of the dogs used in fighting will have broken bones, missing teeth and serious injuries to their head, ears, front legs and chest as they are forced to fight to the death, going head-to-head in a pit. Many, including Staffordshire Terriers, English bull terriers and American Pitbulls among some banned breeds, are forced to fight and then left to die, never receiving proper veterinary treatment in case their owners get rumbled. 

Some pets have even been found to be pumped up with steroids to make them more aggressive. Smaller, weaker dogs named bait dogs are used to teach fighting dogs the ropes and get severely injured in the process. 

According to the League Against Cruel Sports, dog fighting operates at three levels.

Street rolling is when dogs are forced into spontaneous fights in parks and housing estates.

Then there is the amateur rings, often involving lower level criminals.

Meanwhile professional dog fighters are often dangerous hard men with links to serious organised crime.

Strict training regimes and rules apply and large sums of cash are wagered on the outcome of fights that typically last from 30 minutes to two hours.

In all these cases, the animal’s interests are put last.

A Dog Covered In The Blood Of Its ‘Opponent’

Sadly, many of the dogs used by dog fighters are never found and those who are rescued are often found to be banned breeds under the Dangerous Dogs Act and cannot legally be rehomed.

Others need experienced dog owners to give them a second chance at life.

The League Against Cruel Sports (LACS) has also been leading work in the UK and Europe into tackling this barbaric blood sport.

In 2018 the LACS received around dogfighting to a confidential hotline alone, while the RSPCA had a shocking 8,000 reports in just four years from 2015 to 2018.

A Dog Is held By It’s ‘Trainer’

Greater London has the highest number of reported crimes, followed by the West Midlands and Greater Manchester.

Mike Butcher, the RSPCA‘s dog fighting expert said: “Dog fighting is a cruel and barbaric practice that has no place in modern day society.

“Dogs who win fights are prized and are often treated like Kings. But those who refuse to fight or lose are often abandoned or barbarically killed.

“The dog fighting world is a dark and frightening place. But it could be happening in an inner-city warehouse next door to your office or on a rural farm in your quiet village.

“We’d urge the public to be our eyes and ears and report anything suspicious to us to investigate.”

If you suspect dog fighting near you, call the RSPCA 24-hour cruelty line on 0300 1234 999, or The League Against Cruel Sports’ animal crimewatch line on 01483 361 108.

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A Victim Of Dog-Fighting Recovering From His Injuries

These Photos Of Dogs Who Have Just been Rescued Will Inspire You.

As you might have guessed, dogs can be unsure and scared during adoption. Why wouldn’t they be? The process involves removing them from the environment they have likely known all their life! They are then placed in a place that is completely new to them. Luckily, this is not always the case. Some dogs are happy to go through this and instantly adore their new owners! We are glad to report that such meetings have been caught on camera. We are sure the following images will warm your heart.

First Bite!

Excitement can occasionally bring out the animal in all of us. And who can blame us when it happens? It sometimes leads to adorable moments as you can see in the photo below. It shows the dog biting his new owner’s nose. “Got your nose” is certainly fitting for the moment you see here.

First Bite

Worth Keeping

She found the adorable dog alone on the roadside. As a compassionate human being, she wanted to take the poor pooch to the local shelter. However, her plans took a 360 when she saw adorable the dog was!

Worth Keeping

First Selfie

Well, this is one pup you can take as many pictures with as you want. She was not hesitant about posing for a photo. That ear-to-ear smile is truly endearing. We bet the guy was happy he took her home with him!

First Selfie

Put Your Hands Up

Can you guess what this cutie thinks about the adoption? We certainly can. Her face clues us in on how she feels! The same thing goes for her new owners. It looks like a bright future is in store for them.

put your hands up

Loving Look

Oh, will you just look at how much they adore each other? Skeptics might think she only wants to get more treats! However, we are certain that they will both love the coming years they will have together.

LOVING LOOK

Happy Smile

It seems like this dog is truly living the life. What else could be better than a hug from your owner and sunshine on your face? Nothing at all. We would not be surprised to see this photo on a shampoo ad.

HAPPY SMILE

Lovey-Dovey

When you adopt a dog, hugs and kisses should be automatic. Sorry, we don’t make the rules. Tata the pup clearly enjoys this sweet moment. We can totally see why adoption made her as happy as can be!

LOVEY-DOVEY

Rock-a-bye Baby

She could not help cradling her new dog as soon as they met each other. She seems to adore him completely, and he does not mind the attention one bit. He seems to enjoy it a lot, as a matter of fact.

ROCK-A-BYE BABY

Hold Me Close

Emotional doesn’t even begin to describe what it is like when you take in a new pet. This guy was so touched by the surprise his significant other had in store for him! He loves it and will love it forever!

HOLD ME CLOSE

A Perfect Match

You will have so much fun when your dog can pose like this with you. Can you see how he manages to make the same expression as his owner? Not a lot of dogs can do that, and we feel jealous of this guy.

A PERFECT MATCH

Bear Hug

Aww, that look of contentment on this boy is nothing short of adorable. Moreover, we just love how the dog is looking at him to see that he is delivering the best hug in the world. They sure make a good pair!

BEAR HUG

Old & Young

When her husband died, she felt more than a little lonely. We understand, of course. It’s a good thing her son was brilliant enough to get her a new dog. No doubt about it, this dog will be cared for very well.

OLD & YOUNG

Who’s More Excited?

Getting a dog will never not be exciting, but the kids especially enjoy it. After her parents introduced her to Harley the pup, she was absolutely thrilled! It must’ve been unbelievable that they could keep him!

WHO’S MORE EXCITED?

“I’m Going Home!”

His collar matches her shirt, and his smile matches her smile. This is a match made in heaven! Max was happy that he finally found someone to take good care of him. What a good pair these two make.

I’m Going Home!

Nap Time

When dogs are comfortable, sleeping will be very easy. The pup was very contented in the arms of this woman right here. We would feel the same way as well! There is nothing for him to worry about now

NAP TIME

Kisses Galore

Although there are dogs that go for hugs, some of them like kisses better. Of course, these acts are always reserved for their owners! How would you react if your dog gave you a kiss fest as thanks?

KISSES GALORE

Secret Time

When you have a secret you just want to share, it’s not wise to do so. Unless you do it to your pet! The trustworthy creature here seems to enjoy her secret. Maybe it has something to do with adopting him.

SECRET TIME

Puppy Eyes

Kodak is probably named for his photogenic smile, and we love it. The beautiful Labrador and Shephard mix was saved from a hoarder. We are glad that he finally found his forever home!

PUPPY EYES

Better And Better

You can see the first time Krystal cradled her new pup below. There is a world of difference between the first and second photo. The latter was taken after she was cleaned up and taken in by her new mum.

BETTER AND BETTER

Pure Bliss

We know dogs are unable to see as many colors as we can, but it seems apt to say that this dog can see all the colors of the rainbow. When you find your new home, it will suddenly seem like life is better!

PURE BLISS

Everything The Light Touches

We are sure you remember the iconic scene in Lion King when this line was delivered: “Simba, everything the light touches is our kingdom.” For this pup, this was the version he got: “Everywhere the grass touches is your playground.”

Everything The Light Touches

Home At Last

Rex did not have an easy life before Dan decided to adopt him. Before this moment, he got severe neck trauma and suffered from this affliction. It seems like he can now forget about those days and look forward to new ones!

HOME AT LAST

Please ALWAYS consider adopting your next dog. Saving one dog will not change the world, but for that one dog, the world will change forever!

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Senate Unanimously Passes PACT Act, Which Will Make Animal Cruelty A Federal Felony!

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a bill that would make animal cruelty a federal felony. The Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act, or PACT Act, bans abusive behavior including crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating, impaling and other bodily injury toward any non-humans.

The bill was introduced by two Florida congressmen, Democrat Ted Deutch and Republican Vern Buchanan, in January. It was approved Tuesday by a voice vote.

Representatives Ted Deutch, left, and Vern Buchanan, sponsors of the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act (PACT), in Washington in July. The House unanimously approved the bill.

The PACT Act expands the Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act, which was passed by Congress in 2010 and made the creation and distribution of animal crushing videos illegal. However, the new act closes a loophole by prohibiting the underlying acts of animal abuse, according to the office of Congressman Deutch

“There’s no place in a civilized society for maiming and torturing animals – period,” said Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, who is a co-sponsor of the Senate bill. Current federal law prohibits animal fighting and only criminalizes animal cruelty if the wrongdoers create and sell videos depicting the act. Under the PACT Act, a person can be prosecuted for crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating and impaling animals and sexually exploiting them. Those convicted would face federal felony charges, fines and up to seven years in prison.”I’m glad Congress is finally sending the PACT Act to the President’s desk to be signed into law,” Blumenthal said.Right now, all 50 states have laws in their books against animal cruelty on the state level. If President Trump signs the bill, authorities can go after the wrongdoers because they will have federal jurisdiction and will not be bound by state laws. They can also prosecute criminals if the cruelty occurs on federal property.

The Humane Society Legislative Fund called Tuesday’s Senate vote a well-deserved victory. “We’ve made the case for this measure for many years, and view it as one of the largest victories for animals in a long time,” President and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States Kitty Block said. She went on “Over the course of 30 years in animal protection, I have encountered terrible animal cruelties, but acts of intentional torture are the most disturbing because they demonstrate how some people treat the most vulnerable in our society,” . “Reps. Ted Deutch (D-Fla) and Vern Buchanan (R-Fla) are tremendous advocates for animal protection, and we thank them for their leadership in closing this important gap in the law.”

The bill has been endorsed by the National Sheriffs Association and the Fraternal Order of Police.

9-year-Old Pavel Sells His Custom Pet Paintings For Food and Supplies For Animal Shelters

Even the youngest of us can make a sea change in society only if we have the determination and dedication to do so. This is being proven by Pavel Abramov, who took up the responsibility of helping an animal shelter. The boy sells custom pet portraits in exchange for food and other supplies for the animal shelter. 

Pavel Abramov paints one of his pieces of art to help animal shelters

This idea came to his brilliant little mind when his family lost their pet “Barsik”. It had a great impact on his juvenile mind and since then he couldn’t bear to see stray animals suffering. About one year ago, Pavel and his mom Ekaterina Bolshakova started the “Kind Paintbrush” project.

Living in Arzamas city in Russia, the mom-son duo has also been managing “What a little volunteer is capable of?” This is a group on VK- a Russian social media site. It shows how a child is capable of bringing about huge changes. They don’t get any funds from any organization; neither do they have a manager or employees. It’s just the two of them and their patrons.

Pavel at a local animal shelter.

Pavel makes a contract with pet owners whereby the boy sells custom pet portraits of their pets in exchange for food, medicines, toys, etc., for dogs living in the animal shelter. What is more interesting is that he meets the pets whom he drew after finishing the painting. He likes getting to know about the rescue story of every single pet, of how they came to live with their current family.

Pavel and a cat ‘model’.

The 9-year-old kid is the youngest among all the volunteers of the sole animal shelter in Arzamas. It cares for more than 100 dogs and thus needs pet supplies regularly. Pavel sells custom pet portraits to the pet owners and in return asks for whatever supplies the shelter requires at that time.

Ekaterina Bolshakova says that the whole family takes pride in their son’s project “Kind Paintbrush”. As every kid of his age, Pavel wants to do several things and thus runs short of time. He wants to become an architect and build an animal shelter. Well, for now, what he is doing is enough because not every boy sells custom pet portraits in exchange for food and other supplies for a shelter!

You can see more of Pavel’s works here: Pavel’s Gallery For Rescues

Pavel’s art sells for supplies for rescues.

Thank you Pavel, you are a true HERO!!

Pet Therapy ‘Pet Shed’ Lunched At The James Cooke Hospital

When you have to spend a long time in a hospital bed it can be hard not seeing much of your friends – especially the four-legged kind!

But not anymore – Staff at the Trinity Holistic Centre at The James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough have pulled out all the stops to open up their own pet shed.

The purpose-built facility in the holistic centre garden now provides an opportunity for families to bring in small animals such as dogs, cats and rabbits so that patients can be reunited with their much-loved pets – providing they are well enough to leave the ward.

Patients will be accompanied by a staff member or therapeutic care volunteer from South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust throughout their pet therapy session and strict hand washing rules will be in place to comply with infection control rules.

The pre-arranged visits can be for up to an hour, but for safety reasons only one pet can be on site at any time and they must be kept under control by a family member.

Lauren Farrow, Macmillan information and support centre’s business manager said: “We wanted to use our garden to help patients who are missing their pets to spend some precious time with them.

“Pets are such an important part of our lives and can really affect our sense of wellbeing so this project fits really well with the holistic work that we do.

“Guidance from the Royal College of Nursing champions the importance of this kind of therapy so we were keen to make it a realistic option for our patients. After all, patients who spend long periods of time in hospital can actually have a quicker recovery if they have access to their pets.”

The Pet Shed was officially opened by Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston and patient Darren Strafford.

Darren, 50, of Appleton Wiske, has six dogs and is currently in hospital for up to six months after breaking his leg in two places in a sky diving accident.

He said: “I think it’s a fantastic idea. Dogs offer calmness and lift the mood and this gives you the chance to bring in your own dogs which is much more special.”

This project has been made possible thanks to the kind sponsorship of Middlesbrough and Teesside Philanthropic Foundation’s Golden Giveaway, Ageing Better, Serco and friends and family of Christine Wall.

Trinity Holistic Centre is a charitable organisation supporting patients, carers and staff at James Cook and at the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton.

The service is dependent on the generosity of its volunteers, supporters and fundraisers.

This Is Why You Should Never Ride On The Back Of An Elephant If You Are Travelling In Asia!

Elephant rides, an ‘essential’ part of your Asian holiday?……..

Elephant rides are an attraction regularly offered to tourists in several Asian countries including Thailand. But to get there, the animals undergo a very particular training that is actually akin to real torture.

Between 35 and 40,000, is the number of wild Elephants that remain in Asia, according to estimates. A figure to which should be added the more than 15,000 domesticated Elephants. If you go to Asia one day, you will certainly meet these majestic pachyderms with big ears. You may even be asked to ride on their backs for a ride.

Millions of tourists enjoy this ‘attraction’ every year in Asia, especially in Thailand. Nevertheless, it hides a reality that few tourists are aware of: to get there, the animals suffer a real torture. If the words can seem strong, they are not, as all those who have seen with their eyes what is really happening. Indeed, to be trained, Elephants undergo a ritual called “phajaan”.

The principle is simple: “break the spirit” of the Elephant. As two globetrotters, Seth and Lise, explain, “the origin of phajaan comes from the ancestral belief that one can separate the mind of an Elephant from its body so that it loses its reflexes and instinct natural wilderness and be completely under the control of man “. Concretely, it is to submit the Elephant until he agrees to do everything asked of him.

…..IF ONLY THEY KNEW!!!

Beaten, hungry and sleep-deprived

From a practical point of view, it is only by using violence that the trainers achieve it. Phajaan lasts between 4 and 6 days and is carried out on young Elephants. The animals are separated from their mothers and locked in narrow cages where they are chained. Without being able to struggle or even move a limb, they are then repeatedly hit in strategic places, the most sensitive.

THE PHAAJAN

In addition to being beaten, Elephants are kept awake, deprived of food and water under the eyes of trainers (“mahout”) who recite prayers that can be translated as “Elephant, if you stop fighting, we do not you’ll hurt more, “says a documentary. The torture does not stop until after several days, when the trainers believe that the spirit of the Elephant is broken, that his behaviour has changed.

Out of his cage, the animal appears submissive, impressed by the fear of the man who subjected him to this torture. Then begins a real training that will consist in teaching the Elephant all the necessary commands or gestures intended to amuse the tourists. Once the specimen is formed, it can be used as an attraction for most of its life.

50% of Elephants die during the ritual

It is estimated that half of the Elephants would not survive phajaan. Others would become aggressive: about 100 mahouts are killed each year by their animals. Still others would go insane or have trouble with their experience, rendering them unusable for attractions. Most would then be killed.

The surviving Elephants are used to wander the tourists, to beg or for work. In order for them to remain submissive, they are given a few booster shots by hitting them or pressing the sensitive spots again. In tourism, an Elephant can spend the day carrying people without a minute to rest, eat or drink. The rest of the time, most animals are tied up so that they are not dangerous.

A life that would often lead to the appearance of disorders including neurological. “If you ever have a chance to spot domestic Elephants, watch them,” Seth and Lise explain. “Chance or not, all the Elephants we’ve seen had signs of recent abuse, scars, obvious signs of poor health, some are more damaged than others, and it’s extremely rare to see one of these well-treated animals. “.

“It is largely because of tourists that this business works, so it is up to tourists to make the right decisions. The future and especially the well-being of thousands of Elephants is at stake,” they conclude in their blog.

Tourists have a choice – Elephanst DON’T!!


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