Years ago, I walked into the newly renovated LIFE centre at SGH, a beautiful integrated one-stop venue designed for a holistic approach to eating disorders and other psychiatric illnesses. I was absolutely impressed by the seamless archietecture, the beautiful kitchen, and cozy consultation rooms. That day, on the preview tour of the centre, I turned to my colleague and muttered to her: Oh my god, money CAN buy happiness.
I realise I couldn't have been more wrong.
In the past few months, I am ever more convicted that there are so many things that money cannot buy.
Money cannot buy a life. Yes, you can treat illnesses which threatens a life, but once a life is lost, you can never get it back, even if you are Steve Jobs. There is nothing more precious than life itself. Not just human life, all life; the life of dogs. For every little life is a perfect creation with a purpose, however small it may be. Rescuers will agree with me that there is no greater joy than saving a dog, be it a bailout from AVA, helping a sick dog, or rehoming him or her into his new life.
2 days ago, a friend's dog passed away, and she was very affected. However, on the same day, she rescued a puppy, pulling the poor boy out of a drain. She texted me excitedly to tell me how happy she was to have saved a life, having lost another on that day. I replied: "Now you know how I feel all the time. :) "
It was her first rescue, and I know that it will not be the last.
Money cannot buy compassion and love - Compassion for other human beings and other animals; unselfish love for people and animals you may not even know. These come gradually, after we come realise that there is more to existence than 'I, Me and myself'.
Logically speaking, there is no explaining why animal rescuers and stray feeders out there do what they do - Spend all their time cooking for animals, stress over which dogs will be in trouble, call AVA all the time, send dogs from home to shelter to vet to home. It is a perpetual cycle of stress, heartache, despair, and more stress.
It is not for money, fortune, or fame, for feeding and rescuing dogs is a very expensive business with little or no material returns- all of the rescuers I know bleed money out of their pocket.
The rescuers and stray feeders do it because they understand that money is not everything. They understand that doing their bit to help others is more important than keeping lots of money.
Over the past year, I have met so many stray feeders who dedicate all their time to filling the stomachs of dogs/ cats, sterilising them, taking care of them - people who works all day, and yet gets up early everyday to cook for the dogs and cats; a petite woman who approached Francis Lee, shouting at him and trying all means to save a dog he had caught, disregarding her own safety; a couple who feeds all the way into the wee hours of the morning, people with day jobs who rush to their sites after work to feed, day after day.
All these people can choose to sit in a cafe to read a book and sip a cuppa tea, or stroll down Orchard Road browsing through the shops at their leisure, but they choose not too.
Why? Because they have a heart of gold. And that, money too cannot buy.
What is the point of this note, you may ask?
I guess I really just want to say a big thank you to everyone out there who has done your bit for the poor animals in one way or another - donating funds, volunteering with our shelter dogs, helping to transport dogs, advocating adoption, etc.
And a really big thank you to all the rescuers and stray feeders out there. You have my utmost respect, and I sincerely admire the selflessness that you embody.
2 days ago, when AVA called me to ask me to give the green light to put down the 2 Sin Ming dogs, I was so desperate I was almost in tears. No one wants to be responsible for deciding the lives and deaths of others. I wrote a plea on my wall, not expecting very much. However, within a few hours, 65 people have shared my desperate cry for help, and on the same night, a kind shlelter had agreed to take the dogs in. The quick responses and big hearts are priceless. You canno buy that. I was so grateful for everyone's help, and I am sure the 2 dogs whose lives everyone has contributed to saving are as well.
People have asked me why I am not spending my time monitoring the stock market or learning how to invest to make more money.
The answer is simple: Because money cannot buy many things. Most of all, money CANNOT buy happiness.
And I am very thankful over the past year to have the good fortune of knowing all of you rescuers and stray feeders out there, who showed me this.