Several months ago I got a call from a visiting Guyanese/Canadian businessman. He told me he reads my letters to the editor on the Internet and wanted to meet me in person. I didn’t know what to do since you hear so many stories about strange people on the Internet, but from my experience dog lovers are usually nice persons so I gave him my address. He came to my gate and we started telling dog stories and hit it off immediately. His name is Ian Tennessee. He confirmed he is an animal lover and said he wanted to help me in my volunteer work in any little way he could. I quickly thought of a hundred different things I needed, but not wanting to frighten him with a long wish list I told him my urgent need was for dry and canned cat and dog food. Ian has turned out to be a super great person and regularly sends me dog food, face masks for picking up diseased dogs and for garbage collectors and other items needed by low income animal lovers.
A couple of months ago, while visiting the Rupununi, I was having dinner at the Oasis, near Annai in the North Rupununi, when I noticed a tall, thin woman hanging around the tables. I spoke to her, asking if she wanted something to eat. To my surprise she said she was waiting on scraps for her dogs because she has no food for them. I said, “You must really love those dogs,” and she said, “They love and protect me.” That night I gave her some money and my remaining food for her dogs. I returned to ‘garbage city’ thinking of that poor woman and how, in her life, her dogs come first. So, the next time my good friend Ian sent dog food, I sent a full bag to the Rupununi to be shared with her and another family.
Recently a friend stopped by the Oasis in the Rupununi and saw Bernadette and asked how her dogs were doing. He said the lady was so happy she couldn’t stop smiling as she told him how her dogs enjoyed the food. She gave vivid details about each of her six dogs and the expressions and sounds each made as they tasted the wonderful multiflavoured dog food. I am so happy Ian is making a difference in her life.
Ian, using his own finances, recently sent several bags of dog chow. I shared it out with animal owners in the city who have dogs but little income. Of course, I sent two large bags to families in the Rupununi.
Editor, every day I am approached by people needing help with their animals; their major requests are for food, payments to vets for spaying & neutering, medication for skin problems and help in transporting dogs and paying $1000 fee for the euthanasia of sick dogs, among other things.
Dalai Lama XIV said: “My religion is simple. My religion is kindness.”