My Greek kitty crew

Saturday, August 29, 2009

A 1000 beautiful words

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For years I've been collecting pictures and little stories about animals that has inspired me or, where there was a plea of some kind of behalf of the animal that I swore that I would try and be the voice of.

A few years back I found this picture which for me spoke 'a 1000 beautiful words'. It's a Malaysian man whose home has been washed away by a catastrophic flood. And yet, he is happy because he managed to rescue his  two pets - a cat and duck. 

The wise man who has inspired me in my life was once asked (because he travelled a lot); "Don't you miss your home?" And he answered: "My home is where my values are, and I carry my values with me where ever I go."

Well, I somehow felt those words went so well with this picture.


Thursday, August 27, 2009

OH MY GOD!!

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Yesterday I watched a program on Animal Planet about a woman wanting to overcome her fear. She was afraid of swimming with sharks (who can blame her??). 

The program showed how she swam amongst small sharks, and to begin with... fear-ridden. When she overcame that she swam with bigger sharks - still more fear-ridden but also overcame that. The ultimate task was to swim amongst tiger sharks. Have a look at this picture and see its size compared to the humans right in front of it. Gods knows what runs through your head when you voluntarily throw yourself into the sea knowing there's a tiger shark down there. Well, she did! Terrified to begin with but gradually began to overcome it. More tiger sharks appeared (amongst all the 'smaller' ones too), and when she realized that they were 'just' curious she began to overcome her fear. 

After that she went back to dive in with all the 'medium' sized sharks. It sounds peculiar... but it was really beautiful to behold. It was filmed a place where there's clear water and it was majestic to see them swimming together without the presence of fear. 

In brain science they say that you get the same reaction inside your own brain as that which you observe. Well, it was a real palpable experience. It was like you could feel the fear go away... although I did appreciate that it was her jumping in the water!!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Think...

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A friend of mine who lives in the countryside recently told me that their neighbours had taken in an orphaned baby deer. Some hunters had shot the mother deer.

You know... some day someone really must explain to me what possesses someone to deliberately snatch the life out of an animal. Think... the hunter comes along and rips the life out of the deer and wrecks a family. How dare he? What entitles him??

Like the Dalai Lama expressed - it's an at once disgusting and distressing act.

And to quote this passage from a few weeks ago:

In man's charge over the animal kingdom, it behooves man to protect and not abuse the animals (Gen. 1: 26-28).


Friday, August 21, 2009

An unseen cascade of colours

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Fascinating facts and insights from John Downers book

"The plumage of many birds sparkles with hidden ultraviolet signals. Even familiar birds such as starlings use UV as a lighting effect in their plumage and females choose males with the most alluring ultraviolet shimmer. More exotically, parrots, cassowaries and zebra finches all have ultraviolet plumage patterns. These signals are so important that, when a male bluethroat had an ultraviolet block applied experimentally to his plumage, he immediately lost his attractiveness to the opposite sex, even though the visible colours were unaffected. Older birds tend to reflect ultraviolet most, and these more experienced birds also have the most success in courtship."

"To enable them to detect UV, birds have an extra colour cone in their eye. In addition, they can see the same range of colours that we can and this must give them an incredibly enhanced impression of the world."

Wauw... imagine all that's in front of our very eyes but in a world unseen to us!

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

A beautiful spectacle

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When I was about 6 years old I went camping with my family at a beautiful nature area. I remember there was this pen with a few horses where children could have a ride. 

One evening I stood on the other side of the fence watching the owner grooming the horses and putting them back into the stables one by one. When she was done with the last horse she asked me if I wanted a ride. Shyly I declined  - it wasn't at all what I was after. I can understand why she thought I might be wanting a ride, but I was just absolutely mesmerized by the horse and it's sheer size. I believe it would probably have been the first time I saw a horse and I remember how almighty it's presence felt.

I've never been a horse girl like many young girls but by God I love it's sheer power and magnificence. Today I love watching a wild galloping horse... I think it reminds me of the human spirit running free. It's a truly beautiful spectacle.
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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A cheeky little chap

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Yesterday Gods Little People got a fine award over at Such Life In The Tropics. We're delighted and hereby celebrate it with one of the happier stories :-)

"This cheeky mouse put its life in the hands of a leopard. The rodent does not look emaciated, thus we must assume that it was oblivious to the danger of a leopard. The only narrative that makes sense is that an English mouse had no experience of an African leopard.

Actually the great cat is a leopardess who is called Sheena - a resident at the Santago Rare Leopard Project in Hertfordshire, England. At one stage Sheena attempted to nudge the mouse away with her nose, but the determined little chap carried on eating.

It was Casey Gutteridge who captured this amazing scene he said: "I have no idea where the mouse came from - he just appeared in the enclosure after the keeper had dropped in the meat for the leopard. He didn't take any notice of the leopard, just went straight over to the meat and started feeding himself. But the leopard was pretty surprised - she bent down and sniffed the mouse and flinched a bit like she was scared. In the meantime the mouse just carried on eating like nothing had happened."

"It was amazing, even the keeper who had thrown the meat into the enclosure was shocked - he said he'd never seen anything like it before."

Sheena has been in the Santago Rare Leopard zoo since she was just four months old. She is one of 14 big cats in the private collection started by Jackie's late husband Peter in 1989."

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A kind and safe home

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For each time I've visited Greece and come home without one of the countless homeless kittens, I personally believe I should be awarded a "Toughness Award". Overall they are faced with a life full of misery, disease and appalling treatment. Having once worked at a cat-shelter I did very soon realize that I couldn't personally save them all even though I would really love to. 

Do you know anyone who can and wants to home a Greek kitten? If so, write me an email. My companions at The Greek Cat Welfare Society are desperately looking for overseas homes for kittens. They come free of charge with a passport, microchip - and if they are old enough they will also be vaccinated.
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Sunday, August 16, 2009

A happy heart

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A friend who knows I love chocolate once gave me a magnet which reads "Chocolate is proof God wants us to be happy". I believe you could put the word 'animals' instead of chocolate and it would be just the same.

Don't they just make your heart happy?!!

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Soul and spirit

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It was a wise man that once introduced me to the term 'Gods little people'. He referred to humans as Gods big people and animals and plants as Gods little people. He went on to teach something truly beautiful about how to think about human dealings with animals. He explained that humans have both a soul and a spirit but animals only have a soul - and that it is only through a spirit one can connect to God. Animals therefore, only having a soul, can only feel and experience God through humans. This understanding made the whole difference for me. I've always abhorred animal cruelty, but now it's with a profound understanding. Can you possibly imagine what it must be like for an animal only feeling and experiencing God through humans... and then imagine humans being cruel to them??? This means that their experience of God will be a cruel one. Well, it's not just what we consider a direct act of cruelty - think about animals being bred into a life of exploitation for its fur, caged chickens or animals testing. 

Whether you're religious or not, spiritual, philosophical, theosophical or something else... most humans can relate to the concept of there being a greater intelligence - and imagine if our experience of that was that it was cruel to us. How unthinkable. How painful. How excruciating would existence be? I found these quotes which seem to point to the same: 

"Men and animals alike possess a soul in the sense of breath (nephesh/soul). However, in the sense of possessing a part or element that lives forever, as man possesses, animals do not possess an eternal spirit (cp. Matt. 25: 46). The animal simply and totally returns to the dust, the spirit of man continues to exist (Eccl. 3: 21, cp. 12: 7)."

"The fact that animals do not possess an eternal soul in the sense that man does, does not de-emphasize their value as companions to man. Pets can and do become an important part in the lives of millions. Also, in man's charge over the animal kingdom, it behooves man to protect and not abuse the animals (Gen. 1: 26-28)."


Sunday, August 9, 2009

Concepts of kindness and respect

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"Incorporating the simple concepts of kindness and respect into their lives, and teaching the children to respect and protect even the smallest and weakest among us, will help them value themselves and one another".

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Saturday, August 8, 2009

The voice of the voiceless

.Giant panda: On the top three of worlds most endangered species according to WWF


I am the voice of the voiceless
Through me the dumb shall speak
Till the deaf world's ear
Be made to hear
The wrongs of the worldless weak.

And I am my brother's keeper
And I shall fight his fight
And speak the word
For beast and bird
Till the world shall set things right.


Poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Friday, August 7, 2009

Camouflage wonder

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Butterfly camouflage -
and owl!

Enigmas & mysteries

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Sometimes there are enigmas and mysteries right in front of our eyes and we see it not. I was absolutely fascinated when I saw this first time.

© Butterflyalphabet.com



Wisdoms from a snail

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It's a fun challenge to see what new or 'undiscovered' I can see in a picture like this. I'm searching pictures and the realms of animals big and small and this is what happened today...

What wisdom can one gain from a snail? Well, I'm tempted to say: 
What's the rush - you'll get there in the end!

And I believe it's not far off actually. In life when I've been real busy, late and in a hurry to get somewhere fast, I've always found that being in a rush, getting hot and hooting at others to move over doesn't help one darn bit. It doesn't get you there any faster. Actually, I have to admit, that if I've hooted at others, or pressured anyone in traffic so that I could catch the green light, they always seem to arrive at the next RED light (because you always catch the red light when you're busy, don't you) at the same time as me.

Well, you loose yourself don't you. And how can you really arrive somewhere on time when you are not with yourself? That surely must be the 'trick' behind why the slow driver seems to arrive at the same place as you, even though you've driven like mad to get there. They on the other hand have been with themselves, probably even able to enjoy the ride.

It's said about Indian sages that they will sit around in an airport for 24 hours if they have been flying, waiting for their soul also to arrive. The human soul simply doesn't move at the speed of an airplane. 

So, here's to the wisdom of the little snail on your way!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

What would you do?

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Many years ago I had the God awful experience of running down a cat. I was in the car with a colleauge when it happened and I immediately pulled in to the side to run back and face one of my worst fears. The cat lying still on the road. I felt SO distraught - no words can possibly describe it.

Maybe it was willingness to face the fear that did it, but it seemed that out of nowhere a woman (God bless her!!) came to help. She had enough presence of mind to get the cat into the side (where it started wriggling), wrapped it up in a blanket and told me that she would drive it to the vet. I asked for her phone number so that I could call her later to hear how it'd gone and pay any outstanding vet bill. It turned out that on her way she had pulled in to a gas station to check on the state of the cat. At first it was lying real still and she thought it was finished but suddenly it'd leapt boisterously out of the car. She searched for the cat but it was nowhere to be found. The cat was in my prayers for ages, wishing and hoping that some miracle would have happened and it was fine and had found it's way home.

Upon returning to my colleague waiting in the car who'd witnessed the whole thing, she said: "I can't believe you had it in you to go back to the cat". Well... there is no way I could imagine being responsible for hurting an animal and leave it to suffer. I don't get it when I see animals lying on the road abandorned. First of all out of respect for the animal and secondly because you never know whether it's dead or alive. I once saw an article with a picture that left an indible imprint in my memory. It was the picture of a cat that had been run over and so badly injured that it was unable to move. It wasn't dead and therefore lay for hours on a rainy morning in the rush-hour and suffered repetitively being splattered with rainy mud. At some point someone must have contacted the person from the sanctuary who wrote the article and who'd (out of outrage) taken the photo to tell the story with a plea for humans to do the responsible thing. Well for me at least it had such an impact.

I tell these stories hoping it might effect someone out there to also do the resposible thing.

Aw!!!

.Photo Xinhua/Reuters

Nimra, a one year old cat, sits with her kittens and seven chicks!!
Nimra has been taking care of the chicks after their mother's died.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The suffering of which you spare yourself the sight

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“Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight.” 

Quote by Albert Schweitzer

One could come to think of many a thing if one were to go down that road. Of all the suffering that goes on in this world. I don't particularly want to use this blog for winding up emotions unnecessarily - I don't believe human emotions are meant to be used for that kind of meaningless exhaust. But if you see something that really sincerely stir your emotions and feelings to a degree where you're able to act on what you see and not just sit back unable to do or to move, then it will have served a good and progressive purpose. 

Last year, as part of a zoology study, I had a look behind the curtain of animal testing. It was an insight exactly to that which you want to spare  yourself the sight, but I didn't do it without letting my voice be heard with EU officials (my part of the world). And I did indeed get an answer. This is to say that you can use your voice on behalf of those who hasn't got one. It can never be wasted because in your world it's your stance as a human that counts.

You might want to watch The Cove - a documentary style movie (along the lines of An Inconvenient Truth) about Japan's horrific dolphin slaughter.


Another human with feelings

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Yes, MJ deserves a mention on this blog. He was known for his love for both children and animals and I love this picture because the sweet, tender and loving nature of his soul is so visible. 

Often when I've read or heard of an animal having been mistreated, abandoned or other - or seeing a dog waiting outside a shop anxious for it's owner to return... it always fills me with the same feeling: Does anyone take notice of that little soul in there? Is is really SEEN by the humans dealing with it? Does anyone bother to take notice of what it is REALLY trying to say??

I'm left with a similar afterthought about MJ. I believe he had rare tender and fine feelings (recognised by the people who's read his book with poems and reflections), but it is evident that he felt very misunderstood and not seen for the gentle spirit within.

Normally I get very strong feelings about animals under the mantle "do not hurt" and I have to say that I get the exact same feelings watching this picture, but here it is both about the animal and the human!!

MJ is here pictured with his pet llama Louie, which he rescued from a circus where the llama was used for performing.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

True love

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I found this story under the title: "What is Love? A True Animal Love Story". It is the story of two birds where one gets seriously injured. These pictures shows the story as to what then unfolded:

The male bird finds his mate injured and in an appalling condition.
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,He brings her food and attend her with love and compassion.
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,She dies and shocked with her death he tries to move her.
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,He stands beside her and scream saddened of her death.
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Finally aware that she would not return to him and she has departed, he stands beside her body, sad and full of sorrow.
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The photos of the two birds are said to have been taken in the Republic of Ukraine where the bird was trying to save his mate. Millions of people cried after watching these pictures in America and Europe. It is said that the photographer sold the pictures for a nominal price to the most famous newspaper in France and that all the copies of that newspaper were sold out on the day of the publishing of these pictures.

This story and these photos makes me think about a high profile zoologist who once said that animal emotions only is something humans attribute to them. I litterally couldn't believe the man, given the fact that he deals with animals on a daily basis. Anyhow, I know for certain that he can't be the only person with such an arrested view BUT... whether he is right or not, seeing these sad pictures makes me unbelievably grateful that I am a human with feelings and if nothing else - I am free to let the depth and insight of what these two birds shared reach me in all the right places!