Never Lose Hope
In January and February 2015, I worked in Barbados for five weeks, and since I had weekends off, where else would I spend my time while in Barbados?
At Hope Sanctuary.
Not just a sanctuary in name, it is a true haven for almost 200 rescued dogs and cats. The staff show amazing kindness to the animals, most of whom have seen some of the worst cruelty you can imagine.
It's hard to believe there could be such cruelty in Barbados....paradise to most of us.
What first strikes you when you visit Hope Sanctuary is the beautiful location,
the gardens and running areas for dogs, the spacious cattery, the cleanliness.
As soon as you enter the grounds, you know the sanctuary is a work of love.
There's a 5000 square foot cattery that holds 75 very happy cats. It's divided into a few separate spaces, so shy cats can hide away. There's also a separate area for sick cats.
All the dogs live in areas that are like your backyard-and even better than that, they have several friends who share their yard, and they get out to play every day with even more friends.
Animal Cruelty in Barbados
When you meet the dogs, you realize that many are still traumatized by their
past. In this idyllic country, you may wonder—why are these dogs and cats
Their stories easily spill from the lips of Cornelia, founder, director, and
caretaker of Hope Sanctuary, and what she tells you is harrowing.
The main animal welfare issues, based on old beliefs and a lack of
information about alternatives, are that dogs are kept on very short chains,
given no water and very little food (you can see these skeletal creatures
chained behind many homes); they have no shelter (in the Barbados heat,
humidity, and drenching rains!); they are covered with ticks and fleas, and end up with all the diseases transmitted by internal and external parasites;
and something I had never heard before—cats are kept on chains, just like the
dogs! Each animal has its history, and Cornelia knows them all.
Hope Sanctuary Needs our Help!
You may wonder why, in a relatively prosperous country, Hope Sanctuary
needs to fundraise beyond its borders. Over the last decade, because of the global financial crisis, Barbados’s main source of income,
tourism, has declined significantly.
But it’s more than that--every visitor to and resident of Barbados
will exclaim over the cost of basic necessities: the costs of food, water, power,
and fuel are far beyond what we’d pay in the US, Canada, even Europe.
So it’s very expensive to run a sanctuary, but also, potential donors have much
less to spare. And because everything is so expensive, Barbados-based
companies aren’t as generous as they are in the US; for example, rather than
donate torn bags of pet food, supermarkets will tape them up and sell them.
Against this backdrop, Hope not only provides sanctuary, they also work in
communities, with the young and old, to change beliefs and attitudes about
treatment of animals. Hope addresses the root causes of the problem—they
help people who live in poverty, yet who rely on their dogs and cats for
protection, for “mousing”; and for companionship. Hope helps families
provide better care—spay/neuter, vet care, running lines and dog and cat
food, and information—so that dogs and cats don’t end up at the sanctuary.
Along with the sad histories, Cornelia can tell you of the many success stories; the most hopeful is that there are so many young people who know that there’s a different and better way of treating animals,
and Hope is there to support their efforts.
Why do I feel so strongly about Hope?
It’s a model sanctuary, in a country that’s so difficult to raise money in and one in which there is an inordinate amount of cruelty. Yet Hope has not let this affect their high standards.
And it is a sanctuary for animals, as well as for people: Hope invites you
to visit, spend time with them, enjoy the beautiful surroundings— the lush vegetation, the sea, the companionship of the dogs, and the
serenity of the cats.
Come to Barbados, and see for yourself, and I think you’ll agree with me—
Hopeis an organization so deserving of support!
Are you ready to help?
If you'd like to donate to Hope Sanctuary, here's what your donations can do:
On average, it costs:
B$35/dog per month (US$17.50)=B$420/year (US$210) for 1 dog for dog food
B$30/cat per month (US$15)=B$360/year (US$180) for 1 cat for cat food
It costs approximately B$190,000 per year (almost $100,000/year!) to keep the Hope Sanctuary operating!
All dogs are spayed or neutered. The Hope uses Dr. Dennis Blackman - Animal Care Clinic, St. John for spay/neuter and other vet care for sanctuary animals and community animals. Cost depends on several aspects, but if you'd like to support s/n, let us know.
You can read much more on the Hope Sanctuary website: