For Love Not Money

 

The Pushkar Camel fair is a yearly event that brings thousands of camels, horses, and cattle to be traded in the dusty fairgrounds outside of the picturesque and other­wise tranquil lakeside town.  For one week Pushkar is absolutely swarm­ing with nearly 100,000 animals for sale, enter­tain­ers, vendors, crowds of tourists, and tribal people from all over Rajasthan.  From sunrise to long after sunset the town is thump­ing with activ­ity.  The sounds, smells, sights and crowds are overwhelm­ing and typical India at its most extreme.  Animal abuse neglect and cruelty is unavoid­able.  However the hordes of tourists (western and Indian) taking camel rides seem to be ok with it.  I will save that story for another time.  This one has a happy ending and is about one beauti­ful horse that I found at the fair named Patrick.

At the begin­ning of this month I spent a few days at the Camel Fair volun­teer­ing with Help In Suffer­ing who had set up an emergency clinic for camels needing treat­ment at the fair.  It was early morning and I was making my way through the campgrounds towards the HIS clinic.  The traders and their families were waking up and making morning chai over fire outside of their tents.  As usual my eyes were on patrol for animals in need of medical treat­ment.  I noticed a white horse in the distance cease­lessly swaying from side to side.  His movement was definitely abnor­mal and reminded me of the stereo­typ­i­cal behav­ior of a caged animal driven mad by his imprisonment.

With each step closer the sever­ity of the horse’s condi­tion became clearer.  His swaying was relent­less, his bones were protrud­ing, and he had a mass on his penis that looked to me to be a tumor.  He was stand­ing in such an awkward way I feared that he had deep-rooted psycho­log­i­cal problems or maybe he was just too weak to stand properly.

As I got close enough to touch him it was plain to see that he was terri­fied of people and had obviously endured a lifetime of abuse and neglect.  I immedi­ately asked his “owners” who were very poor and unedu­cated villagers to bring him over to the clinic for free treat­ment.  They refused.  They said that he was too danger­ous to handle and repeat­edly smacked him in face the to prove their point.  I pleaded with them to stop hitting him and get him some help.  They laughed at my poor attempt to commu­ni­cate with them in Hindi, and insisted that he was a very aggres­sive animal and hitting him was the only answer.  My blood was boiling.  I walked away to get some help.  But before I left I looked into the sad, and defeated eyes of this beauti­ful boy and promised him that I would be back and somehow get him out of this situation.

 

 

The Brook Hospi­tal for Animals who special­izes in equine care also had an emergency clinic set up beside the HIS clinic to treat horses.  With a veteri­nar­ian from Brook, 2 volun­teer veteri­nar­i­ans visit­ing from the UK, and a team of trans­la­tors, we went back to see the horse.

The tribal family was surprised to see me back so soon and with my posse.  The vets got right to examin­ing the horse.  His condi­tion was definitely serious, and he was immedi­ately given some vitamins and pain relief.  Again the doctor from Brook asked the family to walk the horse the 200 meters over to the clinic for more treat­ment but they refused.  Every­one took a turn explain­ing that the condi­tion of the horse was serious and his life was at stake but his owners didn’t care.

I needed to figure out a way to save this horse.  Since I don’t live perma­nently in India nor have property here, there was no way that I could person­ally take the horse.  I had to find someone else to take him.  I decided to call a nearby shelter Tree of Life for Animals (TOLFA).  I knew that the founder of TOLFA was temporar­ily in England and that she had someone manag­ing the shelter in her absence.  I had never met this woman before so I figured that calling her out of the blue and asking her to adopt a stallion was a long shot but I had to try.  When I finally got Jemma on the phone I quickly explained the entire situa­tion without letting her get a word in.  As I reached the end of my story and plea for help I took a deep breath and waited for her to speak.  I was ready to start think­ing of a plan B when her reply brought tears to my eyes and goose bumps to my arms!  Jemma’s words were “we absolutely need to save this horse, without question we will bring him to TOLFA and figure out the details later.”

My faith in human­ity was restored.

It was time for me to make another visit to the white horse and his soon to be previ­ous owners.  This time I meant business.  I knew that they would never surren­der the horse without profit­ing from him, so I had to buy him.  I didn’t exactly want to give my money to those people but getting him away from them was the only thing that mattered.  I did manage to barter them down to a fraction of the price that they first asked.  5 hours after I first laid eyes on the swaying horse, I bought him for $50 and calmly walked with him away from his tortur­ous past.

 

Once back at the HIS/Brook clinic he was flooded with atten­tion and care.  He was immedi­ately given all of the food and water that he could handle, Brook gave him on-site medical treat­ment, Jemma and I gave him his new name, Patrick.

It took mere minutes for to him to shed the scared and tense posture that he had for so long.  As his belly filled up he stopped swaying and he welcomed affec­tion.  Patrick never once tried to bite any of us.  He had clearly been starved and abused for most of his previ­ous life.  He will never know these things again.  From now on Patrick’s life will revolve around love, food, and kindness.

HIS loaned us their camel ambulance and driver to trans­port the beauti­ful white stallion to the TOLFA shelter 20kms away.

It was such an amazing rescue.  It’s not very often in India that so many wonder­ful organi­za­tions get to come together to save the life of one animal.  I am so thank­ful to the folks at Animal Aid for teach­ing me that every life is worth saving, Brook for provid­ing medical treat­ment, HIS for trans­port­ing Patrick, and TOLFA for not even think­ing twice about provid­ing Patrick a safe and happy home.   Each one of these organi­za­tions is doing outstand­ing work in India to help suffer­ing animals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You too can be apart of making Patrick’s future a bright one.  If you want to help Patrick please donate to TOLFA .  All funds received in his name will go directly to the food, medical treat­ment, and loving care required to keep him happy and comfort­able for the rest of his days.  Since his rescue Patrick has completely stopped swaying from side to side.  He has had surgery on his penis (which was not a tumour), he has put on weight and is feeling great.  TOLFA also rescued a mare named Penny on the same day as Patrick! Now they are talking of expanding!

 

For many people all over the world, keeping animals without finan­cial gain is a foreign concept.  After buying Patrick several confused local people came up to me and asked, “but what are you going to do with him?”  My response was “love him” and the love that I feel in return is greater than anything that money could buy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

To watch video footage shot on the day of Patrick’s rescue please click here!!!!

 

Share SHARE
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to For Love Not Money

  1. Tina Takach says:

    Very, very upset­ting. Ignorance is a big problem when trying to get people to under­stand the plight of animals. Some people just do not under­stand that animals are just like us…all the same feelings. No wonder Patrick tried to bite the woman…that is the hand that constantly hit him. Thank God he is now safe and will be loved. Seeing this kind of abuse breaks me down…and I need to rebuild again. Thanks for all you do. Tina

  2. Patty W says:

    Julie, thank you for all you do — from your wonder­ful photo journal­ism that opens our eyes globally, to the individ­ual acts of compas­sion like the rescue of Patrick. Because there are people like yourself, there is hope for our world. Bless you.

  3. louise says:

    Recently found your website quite by chance. Am in Canada and I know of our compas­sion­ate world traveller and photog­ra­pher Jo-Anne McCarthur. I did not know that another one existed. As I sit here and contem­plate what I have seen of your work in India let me just say that you are my “shero”, just another in the long list that I have been fortu­nate to hear about. Thank you for rescu­ing that poor unfor­tu­nate tortured horse and mare. I would have given you the money needed without question had it been possi­ble. I am confi­dent that you walk this earth with invis­i­ble wings Julie. I knew of India’s poverty but not of the animal abuse. Thank you for opening up my eyes. Another shock­ing example of how a country is sadly lacking in “moral progress”. Keep up the good fight. I am a now a devoted follower.

  4. Barb Hautanen says:

    What great teamwork to save Patrick. But, you deserve a special “Thank you!” for being relent­less to get him help.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Follow Me