Making kind choices in your everyday life.

2017 – and it’s a wrap

Posted by on Dec 30, 2017 in Year's End Wrap | 0 comments

With a few more grey hairs (even Garp, on his little eye patches) and wrinkles amongst us….this is my little family as we wave goodbye to 2017 and greetings to 2018.

 

Here are some of the highlights which I read / ate / listened to / admired throughout the year.

Books

Movies

TV Series

Music (am trying my darnedest to extend my playlist – please help my meager list)….am currently liking

  • Japanese Breakfast

Inspiring People

  • Jo-Anne McArthur – her photography and Unbound Project highlighting what incredible things women around the globe are doing for animals. Her books (We Animals and Captive)are phenomenal.
  • Eleftheria Prodromou (Ellie) – founder of Penny Marathon. I met her at Marrickville Markets during the year and her devotion to  helping animals is off the charts. I love following her on facebook to see what heart warming missions she is on (currently abandoned Greek street dogs).

Fab websites for recipes and inspiration

Eating Out

Highlights

  • Sydney Flash mob choir (sign up, it is really fun)
  • Ubud, Bali – can’t get enough of that place
  • My Blue Mountains sojourn
  • Walking the 28km Otford to Bundeena track with treasured friends
  • Book of Mormon in Melbourne (soon to be in Sydney. If you haven’t seen it, you must. Inappropriate and hilarious).
  • Extracating myself from my comfort zone and doing 2 big presentations in front of lots of people (eek) about the indisputable domestic violence / animal abuse link. Join / follow Lucy’s Project if you want to know more.

2018 – looking forward to 

  • Raising lots of money for Animals Asia by selling my lovely clutter. (Was meant to do this last year. Luckily, more time has given me lots of friends’ lovely clutter too)
  • Doing the 30km Coast Trek in March with 3 dear friends for the Fred Hollows Foundation
  • Doing Veganuary again in January to whip my “almost vegan” self back into line. I’d love you to join me !
  • Lots of travel – both near and far
  • Tracking down some much coveted  Tasmanian Artisa plant based cheese (specifically the Launceston blue) – it’s always sold out when I try and get my mitts on it !

I’m keen to show up on this page more. I want to concentrate more on what wonderful things are out there in the world of kind living. I am an utter bandit for writing out lists and saving recipes / places I want to see, swim in or stride upon / people I want to catch up with / little, kind businesses I want to support / picnics I want to have. I want 2018 to be the year that I DO more of these things and share my experiences here. Hope you will join me – virtually or in person xx PS I would LOVE to hear what made you happy / intrigued / fulfilled / moved in 2017……please let me know in the comment section below.

 

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Smoothie Bowl

Posted by on Dec 16, 2017 in Kind Companies, Recipes - breakfast | 4 comments

 

On this sticky Sydney summer’s day, I’ve finally got around to making a smoothie bowl. It was utterly delicious, oozing with healthiness and quick to make. Here’s how I made my creation (serves 2) :

2 tightly packed cups of baby spinach leaves into the blender with half a cup of coconut water (normal water would be fine too). Blend.

Add a chopped up frozen banana and about a cup of frozen mango and cherries. Blend some more.

Pour green concoction into bowl. Add little rows of whatever takes your fancy. I included raspberries, hemp seeds (now legal in Australia !), blueberries, mint leaves and granola.

More on the Granola…….It comes from a lovely company in Eveleigh (they are also in Melbourne) called Two Good. 2 liters for $25 in a reusable jar. Money well spent – not only for the scrumptious taste but my purchase meant that another jar was sent to a local domestic violence refuge. The same concept applies for all of the other lovely things (like salads, meals in a jar, pickles, Christmas hampers, boxes of tea and body creams and shampoos/conditioners) they stock. Plus they employ disadvantaged women, make deliveries by bike and reuse the jars. Definitely a good, kind company to support !

 

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Lonesome (but not lonely) in Leura

Posted by on Nov 4, 2017 in travel | 3 comments

“It’s Just Me, Myself and I” – De La Soul

I’ve said this before but it does deserve repeating. We must not forget to be kind to ourselves as we endeavor to tread kindly about this earth. Mingling with a big gaggle of extroverted people may well make you feel happy, alive and wonderful. For me, however, it is some unadulterated alone time, sometimes away from my nearest and dearest, which is essential for my sanity and soul. I try and treat my rather  hardcore introvert within at least once a year. This time I picked Leura for my solo journey.

Just a mere hour and a bit on the quiet train carriage of the Blue Mountain line, sipping in a thermos of tea (yes, I am now of a certain age) before I was in the midst of the beautiful Blue Mountains.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My smug / excited face when I knew that all my review stalking of airbnb had paid off and  that I had selected the most perfect accommodation choice.

 

My morning view

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everything about my airbnb find Elphin was truly delightful – including it’s owner Lou (who I gladly put my solitude on hold for to natter to on a few occasions). Groovy decor and quirky pictures galore, a gas stove, privacy, peace and quiet, the sweetest dog who’d venture down for a visit, a bath (mandatory for me), comfy bed, bird noises and ethereal mistiness in the gully to gaze upon. Such bliss. When I was not reveling in my alone time in my little palace I :

Ate out :

  • Delicious bibimbap and apple / ginger tea at atmospheric little Korean restaurant Sinwiye in Katoomba. There were quite a few vegan / vegi options. I’ll try their renown vegi dumplings next time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m going to keep Laughing Elephant up my sleeve for my next visit. It is reported to have great vegan Banh Mi and Pho and is nice n’ handy to the Charles Darwin bush walk.

Bush walked :

The Charles Darwin Walk from Wentworth Falls railway was idyllic. I did a circular trip which took me about 3 hours. It was sufficiently quiet people-wise – just a few selfie stick wielding tourists were roaming around – but not too quiet either which would have freaked me out (alone walking in the bush can feel a tad creepy / Wolf Creek-esque). The falls were not at their peak glory due to the lack of rain but were beautiful all the same. As was my icy foot soak in one of the many watering holes along the way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Street walked :

 

 

 

 

 

With the obligatory “I want to buy a cute little cottage in the mountains” domain search and subsequent street stalk….

 

Cute hey ? On sale for about 530K

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shop browsed :

I didn’t buy anything, only browsed, but  Leura Whisk is filled with groovy things. The owner’s are obvious animal lovers with a Voiceless collection tin at the counter and a poster to urge adoption of homeless dogs.

Had a massage and a facial :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Facials are a once a year indulgence for me. Oozing femininity, softness and gorgeous smells, I picked Awen Natural Beauty after googling cruelty free products / facial. Being lavishly pummeled by the beautiful and serene Ange was a blissful change from the rather rough / no nonsense Chinese massages I am used to. I felt like a spoilt little princess by the end of it – in a good way ! The very ethical products used to lavish me were Edible Beauty and Juniper – they felt and smelt divine and I floated out of there like a cloud.

Now, back in the shouty world of traffic, early mornings, work and chaos it’s time to plan the next sojurn.

I’d love to hear about any solo travel spots you’ve relished…..pray tell !

xxx

 

 

 

 

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Good Buys

Posted by on Oct 13, 2017 in Kind Companies, Shopping | 0 comments

“Every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want” – Anna Lappe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Garp says YES, to people being able to marry whoever they damn well want to. In doing so, his mum (me)’s purchase of his utterly spiffy neck tie also supports the work of Penny Marathon (check them out, they do such great things for abused and neglected animals – you too will want to run a marathon when you learn about what they do!)

First things first, it has been an obscene length of time between blog posts. There has been no particular reason for this – just life and all it’s chaos getting in the way of my witterings. Alas, I am back, hopefully on a more regular basis. There’s lots I want to say and share with you !

As every second person seems to be doing these days, I’ve ventured into the quest of decluttering and simplifying the little world around me. Spring is the perfect month for such activity – it has seen me inching around the house at a glacial pace, drawer by drawer trying to rid my surrounds of THINGS. I am on the added mission (which I’ll post about another day) of sending as little as possible to landfill in this process.

My post is a bit ironic. As I try to rid my house of excess, I’ve also been bringing a bit more into it. However, they have been conscious purchases, ones I need and things I intend to be around for a long time (aside from the chocolate, wine and candles – not so long for these!). They are ones which result in good things happening – not just in respect of my enjoyment of them but for what my money is doing for the small businesses (and the causes they support) they have come from. Here’s a little list of delightful ethical wares I’ve discovered of late together with a blurb about what your money will support through your purchase.

Chocolate

The Chocolate Yogi : This all vegan, local business makes delicious flavours such as Frothy Toffee.  Some of the money from your purchase goes to support Sea Shepherd and the Orangutan Projects.

Swim Weam

Tahitian Lime : Gorgeous cossies and dresses from a local Cairns company (they list their 8 dogs as staff members !) who give 10% of their profits to the superb animal charity BARC in Bali.

Shapes In the Sand : stunning Australian made cossies. They are made from recycled materials and invest in projects including the Australian Marine Debris Initiative which collects rubbish from beaches in remote areas in Australia.

Shoes and Bags

Humankind : beautiful vegan shoes, wallets and bags. 10% of profits go to animal charities.

Miomojo : I have been lusting after one of their bags for ages. Stunning, ethically made bags of all shapes and sizes. 10% of profits go to incredible animal charities such as Animals Asia.

Candles

Scent to Rescue : Delicious, affordable, extensive array of scented candles. Handmade in Western Australia. A staggering 100% of proceeds go to animal charities such as Greyhound Rescue and local WA animal sanctuaries. I love these candles so much. Easy communication with Lynda via facebook to organise purchase and delivery.

Keep Cups

Thankfully all the rage these days since ABC’s  War On Waste series. Love these Sea Shepherd ones – 15% of profits go back to supporting Sea Shepherd and their brave ocean quests ! Great ones are available from Edgar’s Mission too – have a peek.

Tee-Shirts

There are so many fab ones out there. I am in love with my recently purchased Where Pigs Fly one – modeled below. All purchases / sanctuary visits go towards supporting their incredible Hunter Valley based sanctuary for abused farm animals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I spied these ones recently from Katmandu – which I’ve got in mind for my quirky t-shirted loving fella. $5 from each top goes to the Australian Himalayan Foundation which does great things for the education and health of women and girls in and around India and Nepal.

Calenders 

I am eagerly awaiting the announcement of the new Sophie Gamand calendar for 2018 which will be filled with beautiful souls like deaf Sky, shown here, who is awaiting a home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sophie’s is one of my favourite, most heart warming Instagram pages. Her stunning flower head pieces adorn the heads of abandoned bullie breed dogs to help them find new homes. The images aim to transform the sometimes negative impression that some people hold towards bullie breeds.

I loved my Edgar’s Mission 2017 diary this year so I will definately be buying their soon to be available one for 2018 (with lots of rescued farm animals peeking out from each of the pages). When I place my order, I’ll be getting one of their new cookbooks too – Cooking With Kindness. Packed with recipes from all the Melbourne vegan foodie places I love – like Smith and Daughters and Veggie Bar. It looks delectable. Edgar’s Mission is just wonderful and they have lots of great ideas for presents. All of which support their invaluable work for neglected and abused farm animals who are lucky enough to find sanctuary with them.

Wine

I do a shout out to Goodwill Wines whenever I get the chance. They donate an outlandishly generous 50% of their profits to all kinds of charities from Animals Asia to the Asylum Seeker Refuge Center. They’ve raised over $200,000 – incredible ! Their wines are fab.

On line Shops

I love Ecolosophy who practice what they preach with sustainability and contributing to local projects. They have a great array of all kinds of lovely things.

My latest find is Flora and Fauna who frequently donate to wonderful projects like the Australian Koala Foundation. They have so many cruelty free goodies on hand – some of which (like The Chocolate Yogi and Sea Shepherd Keep Cups) I’ve mentioned above. I’ve started buying all my skin care products from here.

I’m aiming to make all my future purchases considered, kind ones. Ones which will result in a win-win outcome. A win for me in having a long lasting, well made item I need and – most importantly, a win for the animals and others in need when they get some funds or awareness as a direct result of my purchase.

Any good ones you can share with me to help my kind buying ways ?

xx

 

 

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The Highs and Lows of Veganuary

Posted by on Feb 5, 2017 in Recipes - breakfast, Recipes - Savoury, Recipes - Sweet, Soup, Topical | 2 comments

“Animals are my friends…and I don’t eat my friends.” – George Bernard Shaw

 

It’s been nearly a week since I proudly completed Veganuary, along with my very un-vegany partner – which makes me doubly proud. It has been a brilliant show of solidarity with nearly 60,000 people world wide joining together to abstain from all animal products for the month of January. My pre January diet was about 80% plant based with the remaining 20% made up of a tiny bit of fish, a fair amount of eggs and the occasional product containing dairy. Here’s what I discovered / learnt from the full experience :

PROS

People are overwhelmingly kind

My partner’s very blokey fire brigade crew all decided to have vegan meals for all of their shifts together – entirely off their own bats, to show their support for him ! Bless !

I found a couple of working week staples which I fell in love with

Overnight oats (1/2 cup of oats, pinch of salt, 1/2 cup coconut/almond milk, 1 tsp acai powder, 2 tsp chia seeds, 2 tsp sesame seeds, 1 tbsp maple syrup – mixed together and left overnight) every morn’ and

a quinoa buddha lunchbox creation (1/2 cup cooked quinoa, 1 tbsp kimichi (from green street kitchen), 1 square of flavoured tofu (Thai, Japanese etc)  1/3 avacado, 1 tbsp sesame oil, chopped capsicum, shallots, a few spinach leaves), every lunch.

Dark chocolate

Happily munched on the 90% Cocoa Lindt variety and adapted to it’s bitterness with ease (as opposed to my super sweet, milk containing Caramel variety which I usually eat).

Greek Delis are a good source of great vegan cheese

I was pleasantly surprised by this.  I learnt that Greek people abstain from animal products leading up to (and perhaps during) Easter. My purchase of a big block of their most popular vegan cheese (name unknown) from a big Marrickville Greek deli has kept me going all month. They told me that more options will be available closer to Easter.

Dairy Free Kingland  yogurt is delightful

Particularly the berry / chai one. It does not have that overwhelming soy or coconut flavour that some non dairy yogurts have.

I am in good company

There are many but my new discovery this month was the tennis champ William sisters.

My friends were happy to give a bit of vegan eating a go and joined us for a brilliant feast at :

The Green Lion – the new vegan pub in Rozelle, Sydney. It was a big hit and I’d thoroughly recommend it.

The list of sublime things to cook up is infinite. The standouts this month were :

Spicy Braised Tofu Tostadas,

*this ridiculously easy chocolate cake

Corn Zuchhini Fritters (in which I replaced the eggs with the aquafaba from the chickpea can – 6tbsp for the required 2 eggs) topped with avocado,salsa and Toffutti creme cheese

* even in the midst of a horrendously hot summer, this spicy Thai soup went down a treat.

* I am yearning to try this baked spinach and artichoke pasta. It’s on the menu this week.

My go to recipe sources just keeps expanding

The Happy Pear was my favourite discovery this month. I could happily live on their recipes alone. These healthy, inspiring Irish brothers are utter gems. I love their instagram feed of their early morning Irish sea swims.

Other people have removed the hard work / label stalking in supermarkets

Thank you Vomad. Your free guide specifically for Australia is outstanding (helps to identify products containing palm oil too).

I’ve scored a good one.

Not only did my fella dedicate 31 days to a plant based diet with no slip ups or complaints but he upped the anti at the end of the month. I had used some bribery to get him to commit to Veganuary by promising him that I’d make a $10 a day donation to his favourite charity (Medicens Sans Frontiers) per day that he made it through unscathed. He ended up donating the $$$ himself, enabling me to donate the same amount to my charity of choice (Project Hope) to let me say thank you. They have helped a situation I have been closely involved in over the last few days which is not my story to tell here. Suffice to say, the staff over at Southern Cross Vets are phenomenal.

CONS

  • Spending $12 on 3 miniscule donuts and cupcakes at a way too trendy little vegan Sydney place.
  • Put on a couple of kgs – too much good food to try !
  • I didn’t achieve the full conversion (or even partial really) of my fella as I had hoped – alas, he is adopting a couple changes (like my overnight oats) so I am happy.

So, looking at the pros versus cons…the way forward for me looks pretty clear. For me it is the most intentional way that I can express my love and respect of animals. It is also the most practical way that I can do my bit to fight against climate change (google animal agriculture and climate change, pick a reputable source, and you’ll see what I mean).

Despite it’s name, if you want to dip your toe in and give it a try, you can sign up with Veganuary at any time. The resources, information and recipes are great.

As per the beautiful words of Pam Ahern from Edgar’s Mission “If we could live happy and healthy lives without harming others, why wouldn’t we?”

Why not indeed ??

 

 

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2016 Over and Out

Posted by on Dec 30, 2016 in Uncategorized | 1 comment

“Now, as we close one chapter, the pen is gradually inking up, preparing itself to write the next.Mie Hansson

 

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As 2016 draws to a close, it is time to contemplate the year that was (including discovering how hard taking a 2 person and a licking dog selfie actually is !)

With no shortage of world wide tragedies and losses of amazing people (including one close to home – a much loved relative who succumbed to depression), I’m going to keep the focus on what made me happy this past year.

Favorite movies

An arvo movie, followed by an early dinner/natter with a treasured friend/mum/partner – is one of my favourite things to do. There’s been some good ones in 2016 – 45 years, Rams, The Daughter, Mia Madre, I Daniel Blake and Patterson. This list has made me realise what a “human interest” movie lover I am (OK, most of them had an animal or two in them too).

Engrossing TV

Happy Valley, Wentworth, The Night Of, Flea Bag, Rectify, The Fall, Catastrophe. All fantastic and either funny or gripping. Itching to get into the latest Scandi drama – Midnight Sun (SBS on demand)

Must read books

On par with a brilliant movie is an engrossing read. My recommendations from the year are : A Man Called Ove (Fredrick Simpson), The Anti Cool Girl (Rosie Waterland), Another Love (Amanda Prowse), A Little Life (Hanya Yanagihara), A Happier Hour (Bex Weller) and A Year in Provence (Carolyn Tate).

Inspiring people

There’s many out there but these 3 lovelies impressed me..

Jan from the Beet Retreat

I have yet to have the pleasure of meeting this wonderful woman but I do feel more than a touch of kindred spirit-ness with her. Jan spent a couple of decades in the Victorian Mounted Police before opting out for a completely different life, more in line with her values. Now in her almost mid 50’s (unfathomable when you see what she looks like), she runs a vegan B&B, The Beet Retreat, in country Victoria and does incredible things to advocate for animals (like running obscene distances). Jan is the epitome of compassionate, healthy and positive living. Her Facebook page and Instagram are fab ones to follow (her kelpie Mac is pretty damn cute too).

Mel Wojtas – The Hive Village Project

I had the pleasure of meeting the lovely Mel at the Lucy’s Project conference. She is a young, single mum who has faced and triumphed over domestic violence. Her drive to set up a village of self sufficient homes for people escaping domestic violence (AND their animals – so desperately needed) is utterly inspiring. An enjoyable, simple way to support her project is a night out at the movies to see the documentary Call Me Dad on 6th Feb 2017 in Ryde, Sydney.

Zach Skow – Marley’s Mutts Dog Rescue

From America, this man has made such a turn around in his life. From being at death’s door as a result of alcoholism and drug abuse, he is now healthy and investing his everything into saving dogs in desperate need. He also recognises the benefit of the human / animal connection in his prison programs (Pawsitive Change) where inmates are buddied up with a dog who needs some TLC before being re-homed. These stories are fascinating and heart warming to follow. (just quietly but…. Zach is quite easy on the eye too). Find him on facebook or instagram.

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Zach and some beautiful rescued hounds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cosmetics for my old lady skin

Cruelty free, not outlandishly expensive and effective- as far as is possible for my 46 year old skin anyway. Am loving…

La Mav – particularly their serums (Flora and Fauna are a great online shop to buy cruelty free products like this)

Lush – Skin drink facial moisturiser, Let the Good Times Roll scrub and Ultrabland facial cleanser.

New music discoveries

Profoundly lacking (aside from Sia’s new album – This Is Acting). Suggestions please !

Delectable (and kind !) eating out discoveries

Two Chaps (Marrickville, Sydney), Kindness Cafe (Darlinghurst, Sydney), Fina’s 2 (Fitzroy, Melbourne), T’s Tantan (Tokyo, Japan)

Finding my tribe

My last post was purely on this topic and I do not know enough superlatives to describe how outstanding I find this group. From sending off a little email inquiry a couple of years ago, the butterfly effect led me to the life changing Lucy’s Project. Domestic violence (and other violence related offences) and animal abuse – the link is clear. So much more needs to be done. This group of wise souls has had such a profound effect on me, my work and has brought with it new friends, direction and challenges. 2017 will hold great things for this magnificent group. I am thrilled to be a part of it.

Podcasts

Nitty Gritty Committee, The Slow Home Podcast, Mia Freedman’s No Filter & Freedom of Species. All are brilliant – they help me learn so much about all sorts of weird and wonderful things as I stride around doing my 12,000 steps !

Websites 

Louder Minds and it’s associated closed facebook group – have allowed me to be completely accepting and more understanding  of the way I am.

Head Space is gently easing me towards the year’s end too, one 10 minute meditation session at a time.

Zen Habits and all of it’s soothing tips to lead a calm, intentional life.

Best recipe stalking sites

These are about to get a massive workout (for my household’s Veganuary challenge) – there are endless fab ones but if I had to single a few out, they’d be…Vegan Richa, The Lazy Cat Kitchen, Carrots and Flowers, The Buddhist Chef and The Gentle Chef. Cook book wise, I adore my “Bed and Broccoli” cookbook (they have a gorgeous looking new vegan B&B in country Victoria too) and use it constantly.

Utterly random enjoyable things

Yoga with Adrienne, trying to get to 12,000 steps each day on my fitbit and making soap and epsom salt/essential oil bath salts

In 2017, I’m looking forward to……

  • Veganuary. I currently eat a few organic eggs a week and have the occasional bit of cheese and smoked salmon so…. I am so close to what I know is the kindest way to tread through this life. The real challenge will be my fella.. Post coming up just for this awe inspiring moment where the ultimate meat/eggs/dairy lover goes animal product free for 31 days.   I am totally proud of him – despite the  big time bribery involved ($300 is going to his favourite charity Medecins Sans Frontiere if he makes it through the month animal product free). There is still time to sign up and join us !
  • A sanctuary visit to Where Pigs Might Fly in the Hunter Valley.
  • FINALLY, after being an avid supporter of Animals Asia for well over a decade, we’ll be visiting the bears at the Chengdu rescue centre in China later in the year. Cannot wait. Which segues me into….
  • Decluttering my sea of stuff (and getting my buddies to as well) and selling the collective wares at a market stall to make lots of money for the beautiful bears at Animals Asia for Honey Money Days.
  • Some huge work aspirations – trying to create change from within (#lucysproject) ! Whopping project.
  • Lots more walking. Bundeena to Otford – coming soon !
  • I’d love to see if any creativity lies within and do a drawing / painting course. I love the look of the on line Lisa Congdon ones on Creativebug or a real life one from Shani (from the Rare Pear Studio) – who pops across to Sydney (from Cowra) a few times a year to do classes at Little Lane Workshops in Brookvale, Sydney.
  • Another mid year solitary sojourn – any suggestions ??

So from my little family to yours, have a wonderful 2017. I hope you will continue to tread kindly through it with me. Love Ing xxx

 

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Finding Your Tribe

Posted by on Nov 13, 2016 in Domestic Violence | 4 comments

“Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much.” ― Helen Keller

A rare vision of me public speaking !

There is something quite exhilarating about finding a group of people who get you……..and you, in turn, utterly get them. When you are together with such people you feel that you can collectively conquer the injustices of the world. Without them you can feel a bit adrift and alone in your fight. Please indulge me whilst I share the happenings and sheer brilliance of the tribe I have found through Lucy’s Project.

Lucy’s Project was started a few years ago by lawyer Anna Ludvik who wanted to do something good and desperately needed in honor of her stillborn daughter, Lucy. Her dreams have snowballed into a growing gang of smart, compassionate, driven people who all share the same vision – one where the indisputable link between animal abuse and domestic violence is recognised and acted upon. This project has drawn together a collaboration of people including vets, social workers, police, lawyers, academics, refuge workers, domestic violence survivors, psychologists and animal welfare groups. All are drawn together through their collective love of animals AND people and their desire to put into place practical solutions to respond to the epidemic of  domestic violence through their respective roles.

I am one of the tribe members and am on a mission to do what I can through my working world (one I keep very separate to this blog) to help. I proudly overcame my utter horror of any kind of limelight by giving a presentation at last weekend’s Lucy’s Project Domestic Violence and Animal Abuse International Perspectives conference. I feel so motivated and excited to do more. The new friendships and bonds with my fellow Lucy’s Project tribe members are wonderfully refreshing.

Here is a taste of what this fab group is learning about, promoting and doing (whilst our politicians and decision makers are largely ignoring this almighty elephant in the room)

Acknowledging the recent Australian (and similarly reflected worldwide) statistics (thanks to the beautiful Dr Lydia Tong) that :

  • people who hurt animals are more likely to injure / kill people (and to commit violent crimes in general) In fact, it is one of the main predictors of domestic homicide. Why oh why are our decision makers not giving animal cruelty the recognition it deserves ?
  • children who witness animal cruelty are more likely to become perpetrators of both animal cruelty and domestic violence in later life. The damage it does to children is overwhelming. The work of Frank Ascione is so informative. He was a pioneer in recognising these vital links.
  • victims of domestic violence often delay leaving domestic violence situations due to fears for the safety of their animals. Yet, there are not enough places for them to take their animals to.
  • Animals (particularly the one that the abused person is closest too) are often abused, physically and physiologically, to punish or control or terrorise the human victim.
  • the importance of the bond between an animal and a survivor of domestic violence cannot be underestimated.

But the good news is that….

  • there is a small but growing number of refuges in Australia which will take people AND their pets.
  • The United States gives us a fabulous model to work with to create more refuges with shelters thanks to Allie Phillips and the SAF-T program.
  • Vets are receiving more training about family violence and how to address customers who present animals with non accidental injuries(thus potentially indicating family violence in the home). Sentient is doing some great work around this topic.
  • The RSPCA offer some innovative and helpful programs which can assist practically (including Living Ruff, POOPS, Safe Beds for Pets) and educationally.
  • An informative and heart warming hub of information of a website is waiting in the wings, detailing where domestic victims can take their pets and showing real life stories of survivors talking about escaping domestic violence with their pet. My Saving Grace – I can’t wait for the launch of this site.
  • Police can help through Apprehended Violence Orders and enforcing animal cruelty offences (along with the Animal Welfare League and RSPCA) and helping with resources.

There is so much that we can all DO to help

  • Do you know a real estate agent ? Or someone about to rent out their house ? Encourage pet friendly rentals to become the norm rather than the exception. Pets are family members too after all.
  • Make animal abusers more accountable and traceable by supporting a database for animal cruelty offenders in Australia. Sign here  (a friend is running this petition and she’s nearly there – so, please add your signature).
  • Are you an educator or do you know a teacher ? Encourage a program such as Thinkkind to be introduced into school curriculums. Having kids develop respectful relationships for our most vulnerable (animals) is so important in regards to the likelihood of them developing into decent and kind adults.
  • Become a foster carer for an organisation such as the RSPCA or Paws And Recover. Having somewhere for their animal to go may be the one thing which makes someone leave their abusive relationship. Or if your area is lacking in fostering services, start one up. Rural areas are particularly lacking in such resources.
  • Become a member of Lucy’s Project to learn more and become part of this tribe.
  • Donate to or tell one of these the grassroots groups I’ve spoken about in this post about a grant you may have heard of. SunsuperAustralian EthicalVoiceless – all have some good ones. Local councils often offer community grants too.

Need some further inspiration ?

  • One of the presenters at the conference last weekend was Glyn Scott. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house when she recounted her life story. When I am next having a hard day, I am going to think of what Glyn survived and I know my woes will look comparatively tiny. Like Anna, Glyn has created light from darkness to do something so fabulous and good. I’ve just ordered her book (Hope Was All I Had – available for pre-order through the website) and I follow her beautiful, inspiring organisation on facebook – “Love, Hope and Gratitude Foundation Inc.”
  • Dr Freda Scott-Park. I loved hearing about the compelling research from this Scottish vet around family violence and how vets can become involved in preventing it and protecting pets in a violent home.
  •  Carl Coorey-Ewings is a very un-ordinary 18 year old school boy who has been researching this very topic (domestic violence and animal abuse – the link) for studies in his final year of school. Educating young men about this issue is so important and that’s exactly what Carl is doing.
  • Follow what Mel is doing with her crowd funding campaign for some self contained units where all family members (including pets) will be welcome. Mel is one of those amazing people who found a need lacking when she needed it. So, rather than despairing, she invested her heart and soul into making sure others do not go through what she did and created The Hive Village Project.
  • Sign up to the National Link Coalition newsletters. They are the source of so much information.

What is something you can do or are doing in your work or private life to help a cause which you are passionate about ? In an alarming world where Donald Trump is soon to become one of the most influential people on the planet (shudders), the time is never so dire. What can YOU do ? What tribe can you find to do it with you ?

 

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