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One of my first days learning about animal rescue in Bangkok, Apple took me to a woman who we call Granny. Granny is an elderly woman who lives in poverty. She works 12 hours a day as a dishwasher at a food cart for the equivalent of $10 USD a day. This comes out to be about 83 cents an hour. She lives in a small apartment in Bangkok and has an intense love for Thai street cats. Over the years this love has grown out of control and she has become a hoarder.

The first time we entered her apartment I was in shock. The smell was intolerable and almost all of the cats were in cages stacked to the ceiling. She has 30-40 of them. She showed us where she slept on a pile of newspaper in between the cages in a space the size of a small table.

How did it get to this point? She took cats that were in danger of being poisoned, stranded in floods, and any danger that was brought to her attention she felt the need to remove the cats and bring them to her apartment. She has had the inability to walk away from threats to the cats around the area.

Granny thinks she is helping the cats, but as most of us know this is not the best way to do it. Apple helps Granny manage by bringing her cat food and litter and sterilizing the cats to prevent them from growing in numbers, but what really needs to happen is they need to go to homes and get out of their cages. Apple has rehomed 13 so far to Thai families. She has gone great lengths even taking one on a 12 hour trip in a taxi to it’s new home to escape a life of living in a cage any longer.

When I was in Granny’s apartment, Apple pointed out 4 beautiful Siamese cats to me. These cats were in horrific pain due to dental issues. They were drooling everywhere and couldn’t even close their mouths. One had a hernia the size of a golf ball and another had a polyp in it’s mouth. Apple said that they desperately needed medical treatment to at least be free of pain and no one would adopt them due to their medical state.

I talked to the board of Demi’s Animal Rescue about these cats and the help they needed and the board voted to get them help so they no longer had to suffer. From there it was on. All four cats had dentals, were vaccinated, microchipped, examined, the hernia was removed, and they were returned to Granny’s house full of meows that they weren’t able to do before!

We took them back for their booster shots and unfortunately their health went down hill. Three of the four cats were showing signs of severe flu symptoms. This is where Apple and I had to re evaluate. In Granny’s tiny and dirty apartment we knew they wouldn’t get better even with the medication. So where do we go from here after coming such a long way? Well we needed to recruit more help. We made a call to an amazing German animal rescuer named Adrian. He had a spare room in his house and is very experienced with medicating and helping save lives. He lived in a town called Pattaya about 2 hours south of Bangkok. He agreed to treat the cats for us, and we ran to the pet store to get everything he would need.

Even though it was later in the day we jumped in a taxi to take all 4 Siamese cats to him down south, straight from the vet. We got them set up, clipped their nails, and Adrian fed us from his delicious Thai restaurant.

We finally got home that night around 1am, after all was said and done. We felt good that they were in good hands and that they were going to get better in a clean and healthy environment. We could not be more thankful for everyone that come together to save these lives. They now get out into the room to run around and stretch their legs. They get fresh air and food that is free of cockroaches.

The next step for these cats is to fly them to Demi’s Animal Rescue. We are in the middle of scheduling flights for the cats and they will be up for adoption at Demi’s Animal Rescue in the coming months. We also are actively looking for flight volunteers flying from Bangkok to the US. If you’re interested or know of anyone please get in contact with us, as we are trying to get down Granny’s cat numbers and improving both Granny’s and the cats lives.

I want to point out a very important lesson that can be learned here…

If this happened in a western country and someone involved in animal welfare saw Granny’s house, what would happen? We all know what would happen, she would be reported immediately and all of the cats would be removed and taken to a shelter where many if not all would most likely be euthanized.

I think it’s healthy to question this method. The cats should not be living like this, I think we can all agree… but is that the best way to solve the issue?

I really admire Apple’s approach. She works with these people. They are not necessarily the enemy, but simply just want to help and don’t know how or may not have the resources. Granny loves her cats, she really does, I have seen it. She is willing to let us re home them even though with each one she is brought to tears at seeing them go.

There is no reason we cannot see situations like this as an opportunity to HELP instead of a chance to DESTROY. These people often want what is best for the animal, so next time you see an animal in need consider this. Can you try offering to work along side them first?

I believe that there are many people out there willing to accept help and it will, in the long run, be better for the animals if that is the case.

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I’m Letty and this is my diary!

I joined my foster family from Every Creature Counts back in 2017. Sadly, they had to close their doors, but Demi’s Animal Rescue took me and my sister, Mia, in to their care so we could stay with my awesome foster! Mia and I are both pretty shy, but we are hoping that our diaries will give you some insight into our lives and that you just may fall in love with one us! We do not need to go to a forever home together, but we do need another kitty in each of our homes to help us continue to to grow! If you’d like to read Mia’s diary, click here!

Visit www.demisanimalrescue.com for more information on how to meet me!

2018-01-24 Dear Diary, foster mom tried convincing me ‘Stuff On My Cat’ is a legit game.   Someone needs adopt me soon and end this abuse.  She took advantage of my floofiness to nest more toys on me.  I just can’t believe my fluffy fur was misused like this!

2018-01-09 Hi, Me again. Can you believe my human foster thought these poses weren’t totally “bringing it”? Just to prove I could do “prettier” we took this picture too.

2018-01-03 Hi, we were having a quite family evening. I conned Uncle Toretto into taking care of my bath while Mia enjoyed a catnip toy.

2018-01-02 Dear Diary – admittedly, it’s taken me a few calendar pages, but now when I show up to hang out, I like to be right next to my foster mom, purring, sometimes belly up, and usually squeaking for attention (that’s me, not foster mom

2017-12-20 Hi, I’m showing off how a lazy cat hunts. I have crazy skills, I know.

https://www.facebook.com/carol.donahue.90/videos/1838372119537305/

2017-12-20 Tonight’s festivities involved a new squeaking bird toy (with a feather tail!) It was a family affair with our Uncle Toretto who was the responsible adult and thoroughly tested the new toy before us kittens had at it.

2017-12-15 Check me out posing with Uncle Toretto. I’m adorable, I know.

2017-12-12 Milestone moment!!! I hung out with the human for a few minutes to get attention tonight (as opposed to my normal “please pet me while I hide under the chair” position). I purred the whole time and if she stopped petting me, I gave a pouty kitten face.

 2017-11-19 I may be shy, but I also know how to strike a super chill pose.

2017-11-19 This is us with our brother, Brian. See what he’s doing? This is why playing with him would be challenging. Since this picture Brian has found his forever family. We’re excited for him and really happy to get our toys back to play with.

2017-11-16 It’s me, Letty – I risked life, limb, and having my head scratched just for Beachside yummies tonight. Seriously – I don’t think Friskies could pay for better advertising to demonstrate just how yummy these treat are. I mentioned risking life, limb and being touched, didn’t I?

2017-11-10 Here me and Mia are with our brother, Brian. We were planning our adventures for the day. Can you even spot me in this photo?!

2017-11-09 I am still very shy and it was a bonus that I popped out of hiding to hang out with the family tonight.

2017-11-04 – Kind of big news in our kittenland – I continue to (slowly) come out of my shell. Mia & I had breakfast while standing on our foster human and we let her pet us.

2017-10-08 We’ve settled in here recently and get storytime most evenings. It’s pretty nice, the human sits still and we get to run around her. We got to play with the dog’s cone of shame – what a great hideout. This is my brother (Brian) & sister (Mia), I’m here, but under the chair and tougher to see. My foster family has to look under the chair to visit with me, I’m just not quite sure about them!

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In my adventures with Apple’s Animal Aid I have seen both the dark side of people and also the lengths individuals will go to help animals. It’s been emotionally trying, but births a level of motivation to change the current status for animals around the world. Bangkok has been an incredible experience for just that and I believe it is essential for every human to go through when they hit a plateau. When working in animal welfare you become numb. You see so many kill lists, animals in need, people that need help, and you become used to it. As my old ballet teacher would describe it, I have recently “torn the calluses off of my heart and been able to feel again.”  This is essential for motivation and productivity, although it is not always fun, it is important. If you over do it, you will also enter a dangerous area, but to just become aware of others struggles is an important thing.

On our way to pick up some cats to take to the vet, Apple led me to a temple. Apple is famous for leading you to unexpected places and you don’t ask questions until later. Behind this trash ridden temple was a man that was excited to see us, and by us I mainly mean Apple. His name is Chin and he resides in a makeshift space made partly out of a dog kennel behind the Temple. He crawls into it every night to sleep curled up in the small space. It becomes ridden with roaches which he has the wounds to prove. This space has no electricity so after dark he uses candles when he has the extra money. The temple has some water he can shower with attached to the building. To shower he fills up a bucket, drags it behind his small “home” and is able to shower that way.

When we arrived we walked into construction workers clearing out some trash for the Temple. They also agreed to build Chin a slightly more suitable living space. This space is about the size of a small bathroom, but will be better than his current situation. The temple does not provide him with any drinking water, food, electricity, bedding, etc. They keep him around to feed the 25 cats that live there and keep the Temple area tidy, but repay him with very little. During the day Chin used to bike around to collect plastic bottles to trade for money, but with growing age and medical issues his back cannot withstand the kilometres any longer. This has removed his main source of income and being illiterate it is very difficult to find a way to replace it.

Apple’s Animal Aid brings him cat food for the cats that he loves so dearly and sometimes will also give the man money for basic living and food. Apple’s Animal Aid has been able to spay and neuter all of these temple cats and keeps on the job as people abandon their pets here. We hope to set him up with a mattress, camping stove to boil water for warm showers or cooking, small cart to transport the buckets of water easier, cheap pre paid cell phone, electricity and some basic living needs that will make his life a little more enjoyable. If you’re interested in helping please email me at Demi@DemisAnimalRescue.com and we will go and deliver these things to Uncle Chin and his temple cats.

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Alright… I am going to show a darker side to not spaying and neutering your pets… In the first area of Bali we stayed in called Jimbaran we were walking along the road when we heard the loudest most desperate sounding cries.

It was coming from this little guy. Practically a newborn, eyes and ears still closed and stuck inbetween two pieces of broken concrete. It broke my heart and I became so upset that I felt the need to show people to promote change.

I was put in a very difficult position. I could take the puppy, who clearly needed to be bottle fed and try and find someone to do that by the time I flew out of Bali or I could hope that this little fellas mom was taking care of him. Due to his plump body and a local pointing out a nearby nursing dog claiming it to be his mom, I put him in a more comfortable spot and hoped for the best…

I don’t know if I did the best thing, but I hope I did. Trying to find care for an animal in a new country is hard and in a place that isn’t abundant with shelters and rescues, you find yourself at a loss. This is why we need to step up and this is why we need to push education and spay and neuter efforts in these areas.

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In case you missed my introduction post, please scroll to the previous blog post to find out what these updates are all about
One day in Bali, we took an all day tour to look at a range of things this beautiful place has to offer. This included temples, waterfalls, villages, and their famously known rice fields.
As we were hiking back up these brilliantly design fields there was a coffee shop which we decided to stop and have a coffee at over looking the scenery. As we sat down at the table I noticed two kittens that were playing and romping around. When I proceeded to head to the bathroom, which was right by the kitchen I noticed MANY more cats and kittens. The kitchen was filled with them, including this little guy.


This group of kittens couldn’t have been more than 4 or 5 weeks old. I had the pleasure to meet who I think was their mom, who was feeding on some coconut scraps that were thrown on the ground.
The cooks seemed a little confused as to why I was crawling around their kitchen taking photos of all of their cats and petting them at that.


I have noticed that demonstration is such a powerful thing. I think if we shamelessly do what is right in front of others, they will think, and maybe even change. I do not think that these people hate these animals, or abuse them, but I think that they have become accustomed to having them roam the streets and don’t think much about it. If they see someone not afraid to pet their dirty fur or concerned about their mange and crusty eyes, they may grow a concern as well.


Education is such a powerful thing that goes missed far too often. I believe that the people in the countries, cities, and towns where strays are abundant would be willing to help if they simple KNEW. These are not cruel people, all they need is to know what to do.

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It has been a while since I have posted here to update our followers what I have been doing on the other side of the world. I finished up my amazing year in Australia and spent almost two weeks in Bali, Indonesia. I am now set up in Bangkok, Thailand for my last two months of traveling before I return to Denver. Since I arrived in Asia, pet homelessness is around every corner and I became obsessed with documenting it. I thought I would share my findings here with our followers and open up a window to the issue we are fighting in Colorado, but on the other side of the world. Not many of my findings are easy to look at, but I think it’s important to remember that pet homelessness is not a Denver issue, not a United States issue, but a World Wide issue. Our work feels important, but it also feels minimal when you realize how BIG the issue is. It is not the time to feel discouraged, but motivated to work harder and save more lives.

This dog I found while exploring a popular area for tourists called Seminyak. He looked well taken care of compared to a lot of the animals I found. He was laying in-between a long row of motorcycles before he relocated to relax near a busy street. This is common. Locals and tourists will step over these dogs (and cats) as they are heading to their next destination, most not blinking an eye. There are some organizations in Bali doing spay and neuter and adoption efforts. It is clear to tell the difference between dogs that have owners or a care taker and the ones making it on their own. This is an introduction to a series of posts I will post here.

I would love to hear your thoughts and feedback in the comments on this series…
Much love
Demi

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Regardless of who you voted for or whether or not you support our new president, United States animals are currently in GREAT danger.

Since we elected Donald Trump I have kept an open mind and have made a real effort to educate myself instead of becoming the person who ignores the facts for the sake of sticking to my opinions.

He crossed the line this week, when he hit animal welfare, an area I truly didn’t think would be touched, especially this soon into office. I had to grab my wine after my boyfriend heard a loud, “OH HELL NO!!” from the patio I was working on.

Two Major Animal Welfare Events Happened This Week:

  1. U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service Removed Thousands of Records related to the Animal Welfare Act

These records kept the doors open on an amount of transparency relating to research that uses animals (including cats and dogs), puppy mills, circuses, zoos, and related entities. These records gave the public information on annual and inspection reports. This obviously causes huge issues for people trying to take a step in the right direction regarding animal welfare.

I tried conducting some of my own research on the motivation for this sudden and unexpected move… Only two things came up.

  1. The government released an “explanation” that they keep directing people to. After reading through it I realized it was not at all an explanation, but instead a statement of what they did. There was no answer as to why they did it.
  2. Some people believe that the removal of the database correlates with a bill that was proposed called the “Federal Accountability in Chemical Testing (FACT) Act.” This would require animal testing labs to report how many animals they are using in addition to other things with the goal of replacing animal testing with more effective methods. Why is there a suspected connection? Well, the database was removed the day after this bill was proposed.

The information out there on this is scarce and I am really hoping more information comes out quickly. Animal Rescues that takes dogs from research labs can’t even locate dogs to take in. It is pure chaos and is leaving animal lovers helpless.

  1. Donald Trump Chooses Brian Klippenstein For The Head Of The United States Department of Agriculture

Brian Klippenstein is the Executive Director for an organization called “Protect the Harvest.” I went to their website to learn more about who they are. Upon arrival on their home page, they referred to the closure of Ringling Brothers Circus as the “Saddest Day on Earth.”

Their mission statement states:

“Most Americans are completely unaware.

 Extreme special interests in America have evolved into a wealthy and successful attack industry determined to control our farmers, eliminate hunting, outlaw animal exhibitions (like rodeos and circuses), and restrict animal ownership.

The result is an America that is less free and less prosperous, with reduced access to affordable food. Protect The Harvest was created to defend and preserve the freedoms of American consumers, farmers, ranchers, outdoor enthusiasts, and animal owners.

 Our Mission: Inform. Protect. Respond.

We have three objectives:

INFORM America’s consumers, businesses and decision-makers about the threats posed by animal rights groups and anti-farming extremists.

PROTECT our freedoms and way of life by creating lasting legal safeguards for farmers, ranchers, hunters, anglers, and animal owners.

RESPOND to the activities of radical groups by opposing their efforts to pass laws or enact regulations that would restrict our rights, limit our freedoms, and hinder our access to safe, affordable food.”

 

-The website goes further to accuse animal rights activists of trying to eliminate pet ownership and putting it into the same sentence of abolishing breeding by stating, “Their (animal rights activists) goals of abolishing animal ownership and animal breeding is an extreme view not known by many.”

-They recognize breeding as a proud American tradition that should be protected.

-They continue by complaining about enforcing and adding legislation revolving around exotic pets. Claiming appropriate laws are already in place and stating their concern for it effecting zoos and exotic animal parks.

Klippenstein has also actively fought against legislation aimed to move animal welfare in a positive direction including the regulation of puppy mills.

I could go on for pages about 2017’s Crella de Vil, but the point here is the animals in the United States are in a VERY VERY bad position. As a group that speaks up for animals, now is the time to gather and be louder than ever. We will not let the issues revolving animals become hidden and we cannot afford to takes leaps backwards. If you have any more information on these issues, please put them in the comments.

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We have all seen it… The animal rescue community engaging in a 40 plus comment feed of someone who posted that they accidently let their unfixed pet have a cute litter…

It’s pretty much the type of post that brings out an inner Satan of anger in every good animal person, and fuels a wildfire so large that it spreads throughout an array of Facebook timelines and cannot be contained.

Stay calm in my next sentence…

We must be OVERLY kind to these people…

Yes yes I know… But why? And HOW? Try and hear me out on this one…

Just this week we had someone who had 2 female cats and 13 kittens that they were mothers to. They had no place for the kittens except for a friend who wanted two. They lived out in the country where low cost spay and neuter is non existent and they couldn’t afford $200 per spay surgery.

How Demi’s Animal Rescue responded was along the lines of this…

We want to help you. We wish there were more resources out there for you. If you will drive ALL of the cats to us, the adults you own and their kittens, not only will we take the kittens you don’t have homes for, but we will spay and neuter ALL of the cats for free. One of our board members even offered to drive and meet her half way.

Now you have to admit this person was going to get a kick ass deal. Take 11 kittens off her hands, her friend will get the two kittens she wanted, but now they will come spayed and neutered and her own cats will now be fixed free of charge.

This is how the rescue community or any animal lover should respond to these types of posts.

  1. Ultimately it gets the job done… The goal here is to fix these pets so that it doesn’t happen again, so get the job done.
  2. Make it easy and convenient. There is a reason why their pet isn’t fixed yet. Maybe they cannot afford it, maybe they work 2 jobs and don’t have the time, maybe they’re just lazy. Make it easy for people to do the right thing by offering what you need to.
  3. Be kind and patient. Accusing the person of being irresponsible, an animal killer, and horrible person WILL NOT encourage them to go get their pets fixed. People will only listen if you remain kind and helpful. I also don’t recommend running out of the gates with facts such as, “this many animals are dying each year in shelters, you need to get your pet fixed” or “getting your pet fixed will reduce your pet’s aggression.” I usually begin by figuring out if they have tried to get their pet fixed before and using that information to HELP them get it done.

It is a very large possibility that these people are simply uneducated on what is going on with homeless pets and they just need some education and help to do the right thing. You may be thinking that it is not your responsibility to make sure someone else’s pet is fixed, but if you are in the mission of saving animals, it is. It sucks and it shouldn’t have to be that way… but it just is.

You will also find that by being kind and helpful it is also possible that we may gain someone that is inspired to do more. They may pay it forward by adopting their next pet or volunteering, you just never know.

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I was simply unprepared for this challenge and for that I sincerely apologize. After spending 4 nights in Emmundi, we headed to Mount Tambourine, which is a rainforest on a mountain. Due to it being a rainforest, well… it was always raining. We paid for a power outlet, which couldn’t charge my computer because I could not leave it out in the rain. We went and bought a power cord to feed into the car and that did not fit our bulky US converters. So back to the store we went for a surge protector and it finally worked!

Although we couldn’t find wifi on the mountain I could at least write the posts each day and post them at once! Nope! We had fallen asleep with the window down and my computer left in the seat and it was wet by the time we got to it. It wouldn’t turn on until today, but I am so relieved it dried out and I wont be without a computer because I wouldn’t be able to afford a new one!

I know I write these posts in a joyful and fun way, or at least I try to… But I can ensure you this period of living in our car hasn’t been easy. When I thought I was going to go without a computer (which I do ALL of my rescue work from now) I cried in the middle of a coffee shop trying to get it to work. I really wanted to complete this challenge, but it just wasn’t in the cards for me, but I will continue from here until I get to 10 posts as promised.

Mount Tambourine was beautiful, but we just simply weren’t prepared. The rain, mud and bugs got to us pretty quick. It made productivity and progression extremely difficult.

We left a day early and headed to Byron Bay. So far things are a lot better here, besides the insane heat! We found a library with WiFi we can work at and the beaches are beautiful to cool off in in between.

We will be back in a house on Thursday in Redcliffe. Although it has been fun traveling around the past two weeks, we are excited to be clean, sleep in a bed, and to have AC (our car doesn’t have AC!!).

I hope you all forgive me if you follow my blog and I do sincerely apologize… It has been a rough couple weeks, but I did think you all deserved an explanation, even though it seems like a list of excuses…

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