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Most volunteers at any animal shelter, myself included, love spending 1-2-1-quality time with the animals, particularly the ones who have been traumatised. We feel a sense of helping them on some level. Volunteers who are asked why they are doing this work often say: because I would like to give something back.

Actually we receive A LOT.

One morning, when I was walking Tara, a 7- 8 year old brown coated boxer bitch, she stopped in her tracks and spoke very clearly to me. Animal communication is not an exchange of words but rather a message is sent as a feeling first, which then translates into an inner knowing, which in our minds is formulated into words or a sentence.

She addressed me by saying: you believe you are doing good for us here by coming to walk us for a few hours. Yes, of course, I thought that is why I come here every week. Tara went on: I have to tell you that we all are only here because we are a waste product of your (human) society and behaviour. We are just like all the other things you throw away.

Tara’s message was so clear that came to me in a way I had not thought of before.

She told me, All shelters everywhere would be empty if you would get your act together.

Such firm, simple and true insights.

I know there are many organisations that are tirelessly working to bring awareness about stopping cruelty to animals and working towards a better treatment of animals.

However, Tara’s message struck me on a much deeper level.

Who are we to behave in this way?

Which connection have we lost in our development to cause such waste products?

How can we change?

Who is helping whom, I thought. Looks like the help is coming from the animal world to us rather than the other way round as I presumed in the beginning.

We are living fast lives: fast motorways, fast internet, fast “food and fast fixes are important to us. We want to cram in more things in a day, do more work and inevitably create more waste.

I had an idea! Perhaps for one day in a while we could try and re-connect with what is around us, create a low-waste day by walking or cycling, cooking unpackaged vegetables, collecting and using some rainwater, staying aware of when we use the bin, leaving off the TV, or even have a meal by candle light. I am sure after one day we will feel different, perhaps have a better appreciation of what is around and in us, and connect with something deeper which we did not know about.

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IMG_1350March 2015

Each Thursday morning it is outdoor circuit training “whatever the weather whether we like it or not”. All different cells of the body are being stimulated on that morning, various sets of muscles, the spine and skeletal system, the physical and emotional brain, the endocrine system, the lungs and organs. Training starts as soon as you open the first kennel cage at the National Animal Welfare Trust (NAWT).

Up to 14 dogs are ready and waiting for the volunteers to spend a nice time with them. Minzi, the chihuahua, teaches you balance. As you intend on your walk with her to step forward with your right foot, Minzi decides to just claim the same spot by running under your foot. Most of our walk is tailored around to practise balance, poise and good eye and leg coordination to avoid any collision. Bounce, the large german shepherd dog, can’t wait to be out on the lawn and certainly stimulates your arm, shoulder, and leg muscles by pulling you along at his speed whilst you are hanging on to the other end of his lead.

Next are Chloe and Cindy, two king charles spaniels,who teach you a staccato walk. Two steps forward together or sideways, stopping and then stepping backwards. At the same time unwinding both leads either in front or behind you. Excellent for muscle control. Charlie, in the next kennel, has been watching and sniffing you as his nose seems bigger then his body. Out on a walk he follows a scent with you having no idea where this might take us to or where to place your next step.

Observation and being fully prepared makes our walk fun. Anni, the tiny terrier, who’s legs must be 10 times stronger than mine, runs several laps around the paddock without stopping. This mini marathon livens up your lungs. Next, I walk Lena, the golden retriever. She prefers to stay close by you and your treats but likes to jump up to give lots of kisses. Again, it is a good idea to stay completely alert , be ready and quick for rewards when she is walking nicely with you.

At every cage there awaits a different physical, mental or emotional challenge. The morning is completed by taking Lulu, the saluki, who had been patiently waiting all along for his turn to the playing field. And as you step onto the muddy rubber matt leading into the field, you do the splits.

I am leaving fully worked out, sweaty, wet and muddy, sometimes dry and best of all you receive a huge payment which is paid directly into your heart account in notes of unconditional love. Wouldn’t want to miss any of those Thursday morning workout classes.

If you would like to apply for being a volunteer at NAWT please contact them:At NAWT

Address:
NAWT Hertfordshire
Tylers Way
Watford-By-Pass
Watford
Hertfordshire
WD25 8WT
Phone Number:
0208 950 0177 (option 2)
Centre Manager:
Jackie de Friez

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V-dog food

Environmentally friendly V-dog food

Vegetable box

Vegetable box scheme

February 2015

Theo is continuing to enjoy his vegan food. More and more of his dog friends are joining, so the benefits of a vegan dog diet can reach beyond their own lives.

An article in the Guardian from 13th November 2009 was headlined:  “Britain’s problem with pets: they are bad for the planet.”  It talks about the high carbon footprint of our pets, comparing their food with the ecological footprint of citizens from Vietnam and Ethiopia.  However, the author was certainly not referring to our vegan pets, because a vegan diet has a much lower carbon footprint, which translates into using less water, resources, energy, transport, crops and labour for the production.  Vegan food is also lower in pollution and waste production. Of course we also know vegan food has the attributes of being clean and compassionate, since no animal needed to suffer or give their life to feed our pets.

The good news is that our pets do not need to sacrifice taste in order to be environmentally friendly. Vegan food is appetisingly natural, and does not contain additives, which in themselves can cause serious health and behavioural problems.

So our pets, apart from giving us unconditional love, can also do their bit for the environment by having a light carbon paw print.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 3 vegetable bouillon cubes
  • 425ml boiling water
  • 375g All purpose flour (gluten free)
  • 375g Spelt flour
  • 250g Rye flower
  • 250g Rolled oats
  • 250g Cornmeal
  • 2 tablespoons Active dried yeast
  • 2 tablespoons Garlic powder or 2 fresh squeezed garlic cloves
  • 125ml Vegetable oil

vegan dog treats biscuits

PREPARATION

  1. Dissolve bouillon cubes in boiling water. Set aside and let cool down to room temperature.
  2. Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Gradually stir in oil and bouillon liquid until it forms a dough.
  4. Divide into several balls. Knead each ball on a floured surface.
  5. Roll dough out between 1¼ to 1½ inch thickness and cut with biscuit cutters. You can get nice doggie ones.
  6. Place on greased baking pan and bake for 1 1/2 hours at 150 C.
  7. Cool on rack.

These biscuits will last for 2 months stored dry in ceramic jar.

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INGREDIENTS

  • Millet
  • Red lentils
  • 1/4 grated courgette or other greens (chopped up small)
  • Lettuce leaves (finely chopped)
  • Yeast flakes and/or dried sea weed
  • 1/4 teaspoon flax oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon liquid aminos (optional)

 homemade_vegan_dog_food_recipe_dinner

PREPARATION

  1. Combine millet and red lentils
  2. boil with twice as much water for 20 to 25 minutes.
  3. Let the broth cool.
  4. Grate 1¼ courgette and add steamed (raw) carrot.
  5. Finely cut lettuce leaves
  6. mix all ingredients well together with the broth.
  7. Sprinkle yeast fakes or dried sea weed over the top.
  8. Add 1½ teaspoons of flax oil and/or liquid aminos.

Use amounts of grain according to size of dog.

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