Deborah Binns runs AKI partner organization, Kingston Community Animal Welfare. She's been rescuing animals in and around Kingston, Jamaica for over 4 decades and never gives up on an animal in need. I asked her how she started out in rescue and what keeps her going.
How did you start helping dogs and cats?
To answer that question I would have to take you back almost 47 years ago when I was just 6 years old. At the time my grandmother lived with us and she had a beautiful grey cat named Smokey. Unfortunately s&n was not as popular or accessible as it is today, so Smokey had many babies. On one occasion when Smokey had kittens, my grandmother put them in a bag and took them to a nearby gully. When she returned I ran to the gully with my best friend, who was also my neighbor, and we saw the bag caught on a branch where she threw it. The kittens were fighting to get out.
I didn’t take them home fearing she would throw them away again. My friend kept them at her house. Her parents helped us find homes.
That memory stays with me till this day, the sight of those helpless kittens meowing loudly and fighting to escape from the bag so that they could live, it awakened an empathy and love that will forever be a part of me. I didn't speak to my grandmother for weeks! Although ironically, perhaps I should thank her because from that day I rescued every kitty and puppy in my neighborhood that got dumped, turning my backyard ( to my parent’s dismay) into my own shelter!
So you've been saving animals without a break since you were 6 years old?
Yes! At the age of 6, I had 29 rescued cats ( and a few pups) living in my yard, and they all had names, every one! I especially remember Poe Poe, a battered orange tabby who was a very old stray cat and who loved milk. He spent his last days with me.
Once you start rescuing animals, it's hard to stop, at least it would be for me. I don't think I'll ever stop.
What keeps you motivated over all these years to continue to rescue dogs and cats?
An undying love and compassion for every animal that walks this sorrowful earth and an indescribable urgency to protect them from abuse.
The benefit of knowing indescribable joy when looking into the eyes of a rescued animal and seeing the gratitude they feel but can’t verbally express.
Knowing that this is my way of making the world a better place, and that I have the ability to change a life in a very positive way, being aware that it’s not only people’s lives that matter. Animals matter too.
My tears. Because I don’t cry easily, having a little pup die in my arms will make me weep.
See the Kingston Community Animal Welfare page on the AKI website for more info, and where you can designate KCAW for your donation.