Have had a wonderful week with my sister Anne and family in the UK - where we also enjoyed the award-winning Christmas play, "Skellig", at the Bloomsbury Theater in London, with all seats so generously donated by the Birmingham Stage Company as a fundraiser for Animals Asia.
Our special Animals Asia staff around the world have put a lot of effort into this very silly, but very Christmassy blog. I hope you enjoy it – and our very first Christmas music video inspired by our latest arrival in Chengdu – little Jingle bear!
There's never a right time to hear bad news, but landing at Heathrow Airport this morning and hearing a voice mail from Heather that Assisi had passed away was the last thing I wanted to hear.
It seems hard to believe that just a few weeks ago I joined Alice, Morgan and Laura in the USA for our 2009 Roadshow. A whirlwind of time and emotions as we joined friends across the country, who put heart and soul into helping the animals of Asia by organising such innovative and amazing events.
In between all the excitement here in China and Vietnam, the days are ticking by for our big event in the UK this Christmas. The award-wining play, Skellig, will be staged at the Bloomsbury Theatre in London as a benefit for Animals Asia.
The day was perfect - and only marred by seeing so many people wearing fur. So much so, that I couldn’t help asking one volunteer, Eliza Leung, if she knew that the trim around her hood was real. Initially, she couldn’t believe it was true because it had been so cheap to buy – and she willingly offered to throw it away.
Our education, Dr Dog and Professor Paws teams in Chengdu and Guangzhou have been super busy over the past few weeks – running themselves ragged helping dogs and cats in China. Irene sent a fabulous update and pictures from Guangzhou in southern China recently showing our community education event with Guangzhou Police and a local animal welfare group, "Private Home of Pets".
The Dr Dog Devotion Awards day in Hong Kong so stormingly organised by a few of our dedicated Hong Kong team was the perfect example of the community coming together for the love of dogs (and cats). Great job Marnie (pictured with me here), Cassy (next pic, on right), Jasmine and Claire (pictured below on stage with the kids) and Edwina and Tele!
Just before I left home on the morning of our Dog Devotion Awards in Hong Kong, I asked Eddie what he would like me to say in my welcoming speech. “Well,” he said thoughtfully, “you could say that we dogs want more rights. For example, we want the right to have our tummies scratched whenever we roll over. We want the right to share your biscuits, to run on the beach whenever the sun shines, and the right to drink the water out of the toilet bowl without you people screaming in disgust!”
Two new bears have joined our Animals Asia family – a young female in China and a middle-aged male in Vietnam. I’ll write more in my next blog about the tragic story of “Misa Hai” in Vietnam, who was kept in a terrible, dark cage for 14 years.
Jill heads Animals Asia’s team of over 300 enthusiastic staff. She divides her time between mainland China, Vietnam and Hong Kong, and travels frequently…READ MORE
Jill Robinson MBE
Jill heads Animals Asia’s team of over 300 enthusiastic staff. She divides her time between mainland China, Vietnam and Hong Kong, and travels frequently around the world to give presentations at conferences and speak at fundraising events. A hands-on leader, she is involved in all major decision-making. She works with the vet and bear teams during rescues and health checks and advises closely on construction projects. She visits dog and cat markets and zoos and safari parks throughout China to document the abuse of animals, and visits hospitals and homes for the elderly with her own animal-therapy dog, Eddie, who was rescued from a meat market in China.
She writes her own blog, her own speeches and presentations, is a regular contributor to newspapers and magazines and a frequent guest on radio and TV shows. She has also co-written a children’s book about moon bears and co-written a number of scientific papers with Animals Asia’s vet team.
Born in the UK, Jill arrived in Hong Kong in 1985 and spent 12 years working in Asia as a consultant for the International Fund for Animal Welfare. Repeatedly faced with scenes of widespread animal cruelty, Jill decided to introduce the concept of “animal welfare through people welfare” and founded “Dr Dog” in Hong Kong in 1991 – the first animal-therapy programme of its kind in Asia.
Jill founded Animals Asia in 1998 – five years after an encounter with a caged bear on a farm in southern China changed her life forever. Learning that bear bile could be replaced by herbs, she vowed to put an end to bear bile farming. Since then, Animals Asia has rescued 400 bears in China and Vietnam.
Jill is a Council Member of the World Federation of Chinese Medicine Societies (WFCMS) Herbal Committee and shares her home in Hong Kong with her family of three dogs and five cats.