Tara Saves Lives

Photo by Wib Middleton

Compassion and loving kindness to animals who have been abandoned…

I had the great honour to connect with H.E. Tsem Rinpoche yesterday via Twitter. I went to his website and read some contemplations, teachings and quotes, as well as his biography. I feel extremely blessed to have met with him online. Rinpoche’s website is very beautiful: it conveys peace and gentleness from the moment it opens on the screen. I am grateful to have the opportunity to read the words of a great enlightened being who displays the purity of Bodhicitta.

I am a director and on-site worker of the Tara’s Babies animal rescue, which was established in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina left many animals in desperate suffering. My teacher, Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo, could not bear the suffering and sent some of our Sangha to New Orleans to help. Jetsunma teaches us by active compassion, and in particular caring for animals. I have had the blessing to live on-site and care for the dogs (and a few cats) since it began. We are not flash, and our facility is still basic. But there is much love for every animal. We are hoping to start building an environmentally sustainable, solar-powered facility this year. We are working with amazing people from Engineers Without Borders.

Rinpoche said he would like to make a donation to our animal rescue and I am extremely touched by the kindness and generosity of Rinpoche. It is a blessing to recognise the living compassion of our Teachers that permeates the confusion and suffering of our world. Without them to show us, how lost we would be.

I looked at your Kechara website, and saw what Rinpoche and his students are doing. I wish you every success. We have rescued about 15 dogs from Taiwan, and I imagine the situation in Malaysia is similar. Our rescues were saved by a remarkable woman, Mrs Wu, who is at the forefront of animal rights in Taiwan. She herself has saved countless dogs, and nurtured them with love and medicine. I will attach a photo of one dog she found dying on the streets – old and hairless, probably never loved. Mrs Wu made her healthy and then she came to us. I adopted her and although she is still wary of people, she is very contented here as part of my pack; I have seven dogs and two cats, and often foster one. For me, Lucky represents the anguish of suffering and the possibility of change, through compassion.

We will set aside the donation from Rinpoche to go towards heartworm treatment for Murphy. He was in a dog pound in Arkansas and had only 2 hours to live when we rescued him. He is a beautiful and friendly dog, was obviously a pet at some time, but is heartworm positive so he needs treatment. In this way, Rinpoche is helping us to save his life a second time.

I am very moved and humbled that Rinpoche also wishes to make an offering to me. That will help me care for my crew, one of whom recently had treatment for heartworm. All of my animals are rescues, four of them through Tara’s Babies. But most especially, Rinpoche’s offering of a Tara Statue touches me deeply. As you may know, Jetsunma has been recognised as an emanation of White Tara, and it is only through her blessing that I have this incredible opportunity to learn compassion from the ground up, from the inside out. Tara is always in my heart.

I am very happy we have connected, and hope we can support each other to build places of refuge for animals in need. Please give my heartfelt thanks to Rinpoche not only for these generous offerings, but for his teachings, his kindness and the blessings he brings us all.

Many thanks,
Ani Kunzang