Where do you seek refuge during challenging times? Most people create their own sanctuary at home and others go out for a detox and spa regime in a place of ultimate peace and natural beauty. What about those who depend on others for safety? Refugees, the elderly and animals all need protection from poachers and other harmful humans. We created The Sanctuary to be both a human and an animal sanctuary as well as a shelter.
Is it an Animal Sanctuary? Is it a Shelter?
What images come to mind when you consider the words “animal sanctuary”? Often it means a natural reserve where animals are surrounded by their natural habitat. They can behave as closely as possible to how they would be naturally in the wild. For example, elephant sanctuaries are increasingly common in Asia where elephants have been overworked which has led to physical injuries. They can finally rest and enjoy their lives in a sanctuary embedded in the jungle.
The difference with a shelter is usually more applicable dogs. Whilst dogs need to scavenge and play with other dogs, they also need human company with regular interaction. Generally, a shelter is also a temporary home for dogs as families are encouraged to adopt them. Moreover, these humane shelters have happier dogs that are more likely to adapt well into a family making it a fulfilling and enriching experience for everyone.
At The Sanctuary we’ve combined both ideas. We want to offer a haven for all dogs and cats where they can live as naturally as possible. In addition, we are a humane shelter that’s also cage-free. It’s important for dogs to socialise amongst themselves without the restraints of cages. In fact, just like being stuck in a cage all day, dogs that are in a crate all day will also start showing fearful, depressive or even aggressive behaviours.
At The Sanctuary, we won’t just rescue animals. We’ll also give them hope for the future through our three-pronged approach:
- Adoption – animals are a source of well-being and countless studies now show that having a pet decreases depression and stress. They also benefit because they’re family animals who thrive off human interaction.
- Sterilisation – along with sterilising dogs and cats, The Sanctuary will also offer medical care where possible and vaccinations as much as we can as part of our solution to support street animals.
- Education – not only do people need to learn how to communicate with animals but it’s also important to learn about how to care for them so everyone benefits from the relationship.
A Systemic Solution
Complex problems require looking at them in terms of all the different causes and effects that they encompass. For instance, are we aiming for dog-free streets or simply a controlled population of street dogs? People often forget that they help in controlling rodent populations and even remove dead birds often left by cats. As this article on the human-stray dog conflict describes, we also need to better understand them and their mating cycles if we want sterilisation to work effectively.
Most shelters do some great work sterilising dogs and cats whilst caring for them. If we want to make a real difference though, we have to go back to looking at the stray dog problem as a system. This research paper illustrates clearly the different causes and impacts of having dogs on the streets with some key recommendations. These specifically include training and local engagement.
Not only are we implementing these solutions but we’re also building an eco-hostel so that we can be financially self-sustained. We want to protect our animals from potential bankruptcy and another phase of life on the streets.
Our long-term solutions make our animal sanctuary and shelter a unique place for both people and animals:
- Involve the community – the only way we can create a harmonious environment where dogs are happy and without behavioural problems is to work with everyone around us. We’ll clean up the streets and help make animals healthy and safe for people and vice versa.
- Self-sustained – the eco-hostel will provide the funds we need to care for animals. Most importantly, we’ll have the space and a garden to grow our own food and to teach about self-sustained gardening. We don’t just want to help animals. We want to make this world a better place piece by piece.
- Provide training – we all need to learn how to manage dogs and they need to learn about us too. The Sanctuary will offer training classes for people and their pets as well as sessions on medical care and prevention.
A Unique Animal Sanctuary and Shelter for a Long-Term Solution
At The Sanctuary, we’re creating the best of both worlds by combining the concepts of an animal sanctuary and natural haven with the structure of a humane shelter without any cages. We believe we have a systemic solution to support both animals and people because of the training and education we will offer. It’s important that we work with the community so we’ll keep adjusting to feedback as we go forwards. This is a sanctuary and solution for all so that we can finally start living in harmony with animals.