El·e·na [el-uh-nuh, uh-ley-nuh; It. e-le-nah] /ˈɛlənə, əˈleɪnə; It. ɛˈlɛnɑ/ –noun a female given name, form of Helen // A proud student of His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche // Personal assistant with a BSc (Hons) Psych from Uni of Warwick // These are snapshots of my life, in words and pictures

It starts young

June 12, 2011 0

(Taken with my iPhone)

The little monster pictured is Dharma, Rinpoche’s new dog. On the day Dharma was brought home to the Ladrang, Rinpoche rescued three other dogs from the pet shops. All of them have now since been rehomed to good families (including my old English Literature teacher!).

Many people have issues with pet shops, saying that in rescuing dogs like these from the pet shops, we are encouraging puppy mills to continue producing pups. Here’s my response: the pet shop they were rescued from has a reputation for euthanising puppies which are too old to be commercially-viable.

Would YOU have risked the four dogs’ death, just to prove a point to the pet shop who would have ignored you anyway, and simply replaced them with more dogs from the puppy mill?

Dharma, Tara, Dzamser and Manjushri (now renamed to Bruno) now have lovely new homes, where they are safe, warm and will be well-cared for. Take Dharma for instance – one day after he was introduced to the Ladrang, his training began. This includes crate training which teaches him the right place to pee and poo, and teaches him how to be independent and entertain himself without making too much of a fuss. It also allows us to travel with him because he will be used to the crate, and keeps him safe when there’s too much activity in the house…

Dharma may look a little miserable now but when he’s older and well-trained, he will provide us with years of companionship, love and care, and we in turn will be able to provide him with a longer life than what he was destined for in the pet shop.

Rinpoche is a strong believer in animal welfare and responsible pet care, and will walk the talk. It’s because I have a teacher like him that I went vegan, and learned to care for beings beyond my own nose :)

Oh, and below is Jamie Khoo’s response to people who protested Rinpoche saving four lives:

Dear everyone, I understand what you are saying. Let me explain that what Rinpoche is doing is a lot more than just buying a puppy from a petshop. I have personally been with Rinpoche before when he rescued some puppies from a petstore; at the same time, he spent a long time talking and explaining to the pet store people, to tell them to please not hold dogs / cats there anymore if they cannot sell. The pet store heeded his advice and listened to his explanation, and they have not put any more dogs and cats on sale anymore; they only sell fish-related things now. So Rinpoche works in many ways to help animals – both rescuing where he can, as well as trying to bring education about the importance of animal welfare.

Yes, the cycle will never end – this is samsara and the beings suffering are endless, not just animals but across all realms. I just spoke to Rinpoche on the phone about this very issue and he said yes, it is an uphill battle, it is a neverending cycle, but we do what we can within this cycle to help even 100 – 200 beings, or however many we can within our capacity. I know when Rinpoche does any animal rescue, he makes extensive dedications and prayers that with every animal he saves, may the merit be dedicated so we can help even more. So he will continue to do so, as much as possible within his capacity.

By the way, Rinpoche also helps stray animals, mongrels, animals in shelters, fish, birds, tortoises… Whenever he goes out of the house, he makes sure there is dog food in the car so he can feed stray animals. When we were in Nepal, he stood with friends in the middle of some dark, crazy street one night waiting for an animal team to come rescue 3 sick dogs.

I have even seen Rinpoche how Rinpoche tries to help flies! no joke (read it in Call me Paris)

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