To give or not to give

13 Jan 2020

It had been on my mind since last December to contribute to the veterinary bills of a shelter dog called Dahua.

Because of my other long term financial commitments in animal relief, I wasn’t sure if I have enough to make a small once off contribution to her vet bills that have amounted to slightly more than 5k.

On Boxing Day 2019, this 9-year-old girl dog survived a surgery to remove a growth in her spleen. The next day she had two cardiac arrests and she was gone.

Dahua was the sole survivor of dog poisoning that killed her mom & siblings. Although much loved by her rescuers and shelter caregivers who took her on adoption drives, she never got adopted.

The shelter has been posting appeals for donation to cover Dahua’s vet bills. I wanted to help but was unsure if I should since I only have a part-time income.

So I made a wish as my birthday was near. I wished that whatever cash gifts I get, they will go to animal relief work.

But I would have to give first.

Yet this morning at the ATM, I hesitated. I wanted to transfer $200 to the shelter for Dahua, but ended up giving $130 instead, for fear of not having enough for myself.

After that I did some grocery shopping, making sure I bought just what I would eat. I did however, buy 4 red Chinese radish to welcome Spring. 😄

Ollie welcomes the red chinese radish.

On my walk home from the supermarket, I stopped by the park bench for a rest & saw a mynah picking up twigs to build her nest. The bird got me thinking of the pregnant mouse found by May Sarton, still holding in her paws bits of straws for her unfinished nest as she lay dead from ingesting poison laid out by farmers. My thoughts went naturally to Dahua again as she had been poisoned when she was a puppy.

What humans casually consider as pest or strays have very real life & death struggles of their own.

As I was sitting there thinking about these animals’ often unseen and hard lives, I received a message from my bank:

“So-and-so would like to send you SGD 200.00. Use the passcode provided by him/her to accept this amount at…”

Is this a hoax?

I texted my friend whose name was on the bank’s message for confirmation.

Indeed the SGD200.00 was from her. She wanted me to use the money in any way I deemed fit for animals.

I was teary. Less than 2 hours ago, I was lingering at the ATM, wondering if somebody like me with reduced earnings, and aging, was still in the position to donate $200 to help an animal.

“God told me to send the money,” my friend texted. She had been very busy at work. But divine intervention had led her to make the money transfer at the period when I was asking if my giving would deplete me.

My friend and I are from different spiritual backgrounds. She’s been questioning God’s existence and the teachings of her religious community. She felt that her role in the giving episode was a gentle reminder that her faith hasn’t been in vain and her relationship with the invisible God is real.

And I learnt now faith is not really about the absence of doubts nor the presence of unquestioned obedience. Or feeling capable and being in-charge.

Faith for me is perhaps the constant practice of testing & forging ahead, guided by the practice of kindness to the most vulnerable, despite the doubts & uncertainties at the back of my mind.

Dahua trusted her caregivers, and in faith they had put her through the surgery.

The dog’s physical life may have ended on 27 December 2019. But less than a month later on 13 Jan 2020, she has become the portal through which two friends felt the giving hands of the Divine.

What a well-lived life!

Dahua being loved and giving love.

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