Having organized our activities in a foundation, from the small Canary Island La Palma (28 degrees North and 18 degrees West) we want to share some of our experiences and intentions on this website.
We had chosen to live on this small island with only about 80.000 people some 20 years ago for its good all year climate, its friendly and helpful people, its natural beauty and diversity and especially the unpolluted and uncontaminated atmosphere. Trying to minimize our own destructive effect on the environment, this seemed to be a wise choice, as less car driving and no heating is needed. Our energy can be produced by solar and wind energy very effectively.
Although people are helping each other, sharing and giving their fruits and vegetables traditionally without money to the neighbours and even tourists, we had to learn, that their attitude towards animals sometimes is also loving with their pets, but principally animals are seen as objects, that can be traded, used and even misused according to the free will of their "owners". They are used to making money by breeding (mainly dogs), buying and selling them as any other merchandise. Young puppies are often used as Christmas gifts to the kids and then abandonned a few months later, when the family becomes aware of the irresponsability of the children, who see their pet as a toy and often neglect their needs. Adults dislike the additional work, cost and dirt, so many dogs are abandonned, running around on the roads and often killed by car drivers or even poisoned. Some are tortured and held in very bad conditions (especially the hunting dogs). The latest official politics is to cath straying dogs in traps and then kill them maybe two weeks later, if nobody claims for them. This was introduced, as some goat owners were claiming losses for killed animals to receive an indemnisation from a fund of the European for this purpose. The media were helping the farmers by spectacular TV-stories and reported numbers are at least doubtful.
So from the beginning of our life here, we took abandonned dogs with us to give them a home in our increasing family of beings. But we could not keep them all, so we tried to find new homes for them, building up relation to german animal friends, who also had them in pension for a while to then find them new homes in Germany. But not only dogs, we also saved two donkeys in our first place on the island, who were given up already (Mona being left tied up in a small stable with about already half a meter height of shit inside and Platero who was given up because he had fallen down a wall and had broken his spine). Though obviously given up, we still had to pay quite a lot to their owners for being allowed to save them. We then had to buy 4000 square meters more land around our house to give them some space to move and build a stable. After the number of dogs increased, we had a shocking experience: four dogs had been poisoned with prepared meat. This event caused us to sell our luxurious home with pool and buy a huge fenced land of about 30 hectars in a remote, but most beautiful, natural and uncultivated area of the island, reaching from the edge of the sea up to 500 meters of altitude. Ideal for animals, enough food for our horses and donkeys, but there was only an old building in ruins right in the middle with no roads leading there, no water, no electricity, just a footpath. So we had to buy also the neighbouring land with 11 hectars with two abandonned garages on it, where we startet to live, converting the garages into liveable houses and restoring the ruin into the "Casa Platero", which we rent now to tourists.
Here we could adopt and feed many more animals, horses and donkeys and many dogs. Our first donkey Mona died here at the age of about 45 years after a very long period of suffering with back problems. She could not stand up any more towards her end, so I had to go and search her every day on the huge land to help her stand up again, so in the end we fenced a smaller area and built another stable, where she was more sheltered. Platero died after a terrible forest fire in the year 2000, which burnt one fourth of the island and our entire land. No animals were burnt, during the fire they all could save themselves (we had to let the horses and donkeys free) and we could save all the dogs, cat and houses, beating the flames with bush branches with the help of some friends and neighbours, but Platero died the next day from a smoke intoxication. That was really an undescribable hell in our quasi paradise. Now we still have 4 donkeys, one horse left, 21 dogs left, uncountable rabbits, all kind of birds, mice and rats... Actually we are trying to reduce the number of animals by not keeping the lately rescued ones, as our health and age might not give us the time to care for them until their deaths.
We are not killing any animals. Most people don´t understand this and tell us, we should "relieve" suffering animals, but we think, what they mean is that they might not be able to acompany a suffering animal until natural death and they would like to be relieved themselves from this experience of being confronted with the dying process by better giving them a killing injection. We tell our animals what they will be experiencing when dying and thereafter in the bardo. We try to prepare them well for the clear light and encourage them to let go from all attachments and dissolve into it. We also tell them, that if they will have to find a new body to be reborn, they should choose one that permits them benefitting all the beings. We are on their side when they are dying (staying awake the nights before to not miss the moment), do Phowa and then read the instructions from the Bardo Thoedol (tibetan book of the death) every day for them. Doing this practice for animals might be controversal, but we know and learnt, that they understand and it works. It is also a good practice for us.
It is our wish, that our work to help animals and all the beings shall go on in our land after our deaths and from now on we want to reach out to include more people, willing to help and support.
Therefore we started the trust (foundation) „Drukpa, Fundación Canaria“, which is still in process of constitution. Its purpose is to spread humanitarian, compassionate values to a broad public. It is „Live to Love“, taking care of all the beings in need, propagating and living a harmonious, tolerant and peacefull living together of ALL, no matter what species, race, color, religion, culture etc., respecting nature and the the environment and not damaging it and actively using, promoting and producing non destructive and regenerative energy like solar or wind energy. We also propagate to live a healthy life, not destructive for oneself and others. That means vegetarian diet, no drugs and no alcohol for example. Spiritual aspirations and activities like meditation and other practices seeking wisdom, love and compassion shall be the methods of obtaining authentic happiness, equanimity and peace of mind.
Planned activities for „Drukpa, Fundación Canaria“:
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