Year of The Dog

Not exactly now, but soon in February the world will enter the Year of the Dog. Earlier this year I visited the Deise Animal Sanctuary in Ballymacarbry, Co Waterford to take some pictures for this blog post. Here is a link to their Facebook page.  The page is active, and a phone number is also available on the page for those who want to come over or donate.

This is Patricia Edwards. Pat. She and her partner Rob came to Ireland from the UK 20 years ago. Pat and Rob have a small holding in the Comeragh mountains where they established The Deise Animal Sanctuary about decade ago. Pat used to work as an Animal Health Trading Standards inspector in Wales, and she is familiar with the matters related to animal welfare. It is certainly very useful, but the greatest thing about Pat is her big heart and unconditional love towards all creatures.

Many kinds of abused, neglected and abandoned animals and birds found their way to this happy place. I am a cat person, so I asked about cats and learned that there were fifty cats at the moment, most of them sleeping in the barn till the evening meal. Some day I will come back and write a proper blog about all the residents, but this is just a short Dog Post from a Cat person who wishes some happiness in the Yang Earth Dog Year as anyone else does.

The dogs have plenty of space to run and play in the afternoon. When I came to the Sanctuary, most of the dogs were locked in their enclosure, and started barking as I approached. There were probably twenty or more dogs inside, and some more dogs followed me from the gate. Pat told me to open the enclosure and get in to take photographs. As I went in, all the dogs, big and small, came closer and instead of taking pictures I was patting their backs and rubbing their heads for another half and hour. I was in tears. I could see the signs of abuse and mistreat, and Pat also told me some horror stories about how some dogs were rescued and what they had been through, and it just broke my heart to see the trust and love to a stranger these dogs expressed. I felt so ashamed for my species.

After all the interested got their share of cuddling and ear and head rubbing, I walked around and took some pictures.














A couple of dogs were locked – quarantine?

And this young pup was also locked. I don’t know what he went through, but I didn’t see any trust in his eyes. He probably needs some time to forgive.

On my way home I was thinking about all these lucky survivors who ended up in the Dog Paradise here in Comeraghs, and about those unlucky ones who died of neglect and abuse, or were euthanized because they had injuries not compatible with life. The legislation related to the animal welfare in Ireland has to be revised as cruelty to animals is on the rise.

They say that a Year of The Dog is generally an eventful year of good changes in mentality and lifestyle. A step up for humanity. Let’s hope that 2018 won’t be any different and all the changes we face are positive and beneficial to us. Please, 2018, be a good dog! 😉

Happy New Year to all my fellow bloggers! ❤

PS For the next six months I am planning to blog every second week.

www.inesemjphotography.comHave a great New Year party! 🙂


  1. Thanks for sharing this and the previous post on the Donkey farm. As humans, we like to give each animal a quality that (in all likelihood) is only understood by us. I doubt a donkey thinks it’s dumb or the lion knows it’s the King. I wonder how animals see us? What goes on in their minds? What names do they call us? 🙂 We’re not winning them over anytime soon — if we keep making the same mistakes. 😦

    1. So true 🙂 Poor donkey is unlucky to be branded by us as dumb and treated with no respect. In fact, he is actually very smart. He refuses doing things because he knows they are not good for him. Too heavy, to dangerous etc. Animals seldom make mistakes, not like us humans who are literally made of mistakes 😉

    1. I was thinking of visiting Pat, but it is impossible these days for many reasons. You know, I am not a fan of sharing things with the world at large .. It is sufficient to say that I will probably visit him in June – July. Last autumn they were all right.

      1. I totally agree with the non-facebook attitude. 🙂 Some things are best left unsaid. Having said that… I wish you the best possible recovery. In due time. June-july is but a few months away. And morale is an important part of any recovery. And your friends are here to support you. Take care my dear.

        1. Thank you Brian. The morale sometimes fails, and has to be picked up. Such is life. One more post in February, for my 4th Blogging Anniversary, and then a break. I will be fine, but extra efforts take a toll.

          1. Understandably so. If it is any solace, I feel the same some morning or other. 🙂 And eventually one picks up the morale. Have a nice uplifted week Inese.

        1. Love is love, doesn’t matter how small is the object 🙂
          Last year wasn’t easy, and a half of this year will disappear for me, but I hope I will be back to normal in the middle of the year ❤

  2. Happy new year, Inese. And I agree, I hope things get better, somehow I feel that is right… that we have better conscience than previous years. Dogs and cats cand love us and we have to try to correspond their kindness to us with kindness.

      1. I am taking my time. The other problem that week was the wp reader would not load except in Chrome, then when it did, it would hardly let me like any posts and I just thought, I can’t faff with this today xxxxxx

        1. It think it is a recurring problem. How often I see that I have read a post ( and even commented on it!), but my ‘like’ is gone. Happens on a regular basis xxxxxxxxxxx

        2. It does indeed. My reader was opening something like five blogs. Now I could switch to email notifications but then my inbox gets totally swamped. It is working better now. Mike Steeden said he had been having problems too.

  3. Ines, your photos bring out their tortured souls and spirit for life and hunger for love. A heart wrenching visit but also positive in the help they are now receiving and the location looks stunning. Wishing you a very Happy New Year. Xx

  4. Happy New Year, Inese! I’m not surprised you were touched by these dogs and their stories. Spending any amount of time with a dog always makes me feel like we have a special bond; of course, I’m a dog person so I may be biased, but I feel like all dogs are lovable.

    1. Thank you Carolee! I think all creatures are lovable, especially when they are in need of compassion. Your heart just breaks in pieces when you look into all these eyes.

  5. Wonderful post Inese. You can actually see the pain in their eyes. But at the same time they know and feel relieved to be rescued. Amazing work these people are doing!

    1. Thank you Mithai! Some of the dogs were rescued from their abusers, but some were pampered and loved before their owners got bored and dumped them. I think it makes a big difference. Pat is an angel with enough love to heal any wound, visible and invisible.

      1. Yes it does make a huge difference. Pat is truly contributing great deal to the world, one dog at a time. I’m sure soon all the dogs will embrace the love and leave their past behind.

  6. Sorry, I arrived late to this post as I saw you comment on a post but missed all the many kind “likes” you left, Inese.
    Dogs, cats and small animals and birds get my pity and some donations. They deserve a blog post like this, showing they just need to be fed, given water and Love.
    Hope you have a lovely, healthy and blessed New Year, Inese. xo ❤

      1. Thanks for the many blessings sent my way, dear and special friend.
        My heart goes out when I drive past cats in fields, sitting for a mouse to come along. Take care and you are in my prayers. May you be safe, healthy and happy. XO 💖

  7. Once again your pictures tell a thousand stories….and you have captured so beautifully the essence of these beautiful animals. May the coming Year of the Dog bring good things for all animals and human being alike. Good health and peace. Janet :)x

  8. Pat and Rob have created a little paradise, both for their canine guests, and all who visit. As tempting as it is, I suspect that sharing this wonderful post with my wife would lead to a new addition (or two) in our family 😉

    Happy New Year Inese!

    1. Haha, I wouldn’t be surprised. In such place your heart is just torn apart. All animals need love, but dogs and cats also need a human family.
      Happy New Year to you and your little family! 🙂 Think about one more dog 😉

  9. The abuse of animals, to me, points directly to a depraved mind. The compassion of those who make a difference for these dogs is heartwarming. Beautiful and touching photos, Inese. Wishing you a blessed new year. ❤

    1. Thank you so much, Diana! I follow the Deise Sanctuary on Facebook and see new posts every day, some of them heartbreaking.
      Hope 2018 is kind to us all ❤

  10. You and your wonderful friends speak beautifully for the dogs. I’m ashamed, too, of humans’ poor and damaging actions towards such loving creatures. Those are the true monsters.

    Thanks for the link to help out. I feel lucky to know a lovely and outspoken heart such as yours, Inese. 🌹💝

    1. Thank you for your kind words, dear Friend. Fortunately, these dogs are safe from the monsters, but if none of them ever gets re-homed, soon there won’t be any room for taking in new animals.
      Thank you again for your kind comment ❤

  11. Happy New Year, Inese – may it be a good year for all kinds of things, but most of all, may it be a “good dog”!! Thank you as always for your wonderful pictures and the inspiration!!

  12. I’m also a cat person but all the dogs you’ve photographed look so friendly, intelligent and vulnerable – I’m sure I would have spent some time ear rubbing too. And to be honest I have to admit that I’m quite relieved that you haven’t written about what these poor animals had to go through, I can only too well imagine the horrors. It’s abhorrent what humans can do to one another and to animals as well.
    Wishing you a wonderful and very happy New Year dear Inese! 😄😚❤ xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    1. Thank you Sarah! Yes, it was not my intention to share the horror stories here. We all have read them in the news, and not once. I wanted to write about those who pick up the broken pieces and make the abused and unwanted dog’s life whole again. I wanted to write about love and hope. May be someone who reads this post will drive all the way up the mountain by the unnamed road, and pick up themselves a dog, or a cat, parrot, bunny, canary, whoever they want to give a home and love to.
      Wishing you the best year ever, Sarah! May your dreams come true! ❤ xxxxxx

      1. I can not help but love those people who give so much to make those poor animals feel loved and cared for. And if I would live closer, I would drive up all the way up the mountain!
        I am sure your story will inspire a lot of people to do just that.
        Wishing you a truly marvelous and happy year too, my dear friend! ❤ xxxxxxxxxxx

        1. Thank you Sarah! Have a very happy year you too!
          I would go there often, but they are quite far away from where I live, and the road isn’t exactly safe to drive in our weather as I have a very small car. Even the Google team never got there – no pictures of this road on Google maps 🙂 But you can search ‘Deise Animal Sanctuary maps’, zoom, and then you will see what the area looks like. Soon I will post more pictures of this trip 🙂 ❤ xxxxx

  13. HAPPY NEW YEAR, INESE!!!!! This is a heartbreaking, and heartwarming post all at once. I have many dreams about retiring to a rural area and having a place for animals. I love them, and something needs to be done to end the practice of factory farms. I am ashamed of many of my species, as well.
    LOVE TO YOU!!!!

    1. Thank you Resa! If it is your dream, I am sure you will have a place for animals some day. This kind of dreams come true 🙂 Sending lots of love your way!

  14. I can’t bear that anyone should want to mistreat dogs and abuse their trust. There’s a man who used to live near me and rescued dogs from all around the world. I remember one dog he’d found in a Vietmanese meat market, where it was about to be slaughtered for eating. It had marks on its sides from where it had been continuously whipped. What was so touching about this dog was that he was so affectionate, despite what he had been through. They are such forgiving animals.

    I love your photos and am so glad to see all those lovely dogs have been rescued but, like you, I worry about all those who are still out there somewhere, suffering abuse and neglect. It is one of the themes in the novel I’m writing just now (specifically about dogs used for fighting), but I admit to finding the research extremely galling.

    I will be reblogging a post in the next few days, about a fellow blogger who is raising money for The Dog Trust. Just in case you miss my reblog and haven’t already stumbled upon the post, here’s the link to it

    Wishing you a wonderful New Year!

    1. Thank you so much, Sarah! Look forward to reading your novel. You know that small dogs and cats are used as bait to train the fighter dogs. The fans of the ‘sport’ know that too but don’t care of such details.
      Wishing you a fantastic New Year, and may all the creatures be safe and happy!

      1. They use other animals such as rabbits for bait, too. Some of the cats and smaller dogs are pets that have been stolen. Recently, near where I live, two thugs approached a man out walking his dog and tried to grab it off him. They even admitted they wanted it for fighting! Fortunately, the man managed to hang onto his dog and get away from the thugs. What a world we live in D:
        Wishing you a fantastic New Year, too, Inese, and safe havens for all creatures great and small!

  15. It’s nice these dogs get some open pack space to hang out in rather than being stuck in individual kennels. Happy new year of the dog (from another cat person.)

    1. Thank you Dave! Yes, there are no kennels unless specifically needed. Big and small, they are all hanging around together. I had no idea how such a huge pack of dogs would react to me entering their space, but I never expected any of them to come looking for a cuddle.
      Happy 2018!

  16. I love dogs and cats – would not be able to decide between them. Beautiful images of the dogs – glad they are in a comfortable environment – lucky dogs! Happy New Year Inese!

    1. Thank you so much Syd! I am a cat person because I wouldn’t own a dog without a good reason 🙂 I am a little bit afraid of dogs. But I always pat their back and rub their ears. It feels good 🙂 Happy 2018!

  17. Great post, Inese. What a great place, although it is sad to think places like this are necessary. Let’s hope the law changes and animals get protection. Happy New Year!

  18. Aww what a lovely post ❤ ❤ ❤ They are doing important work and oh I just love dogs. And I am in tears now… because it seems that I am losing my best friend too in 2018. His allergies got worse again, and the medications doesn`t really help anymore. Our vet is on holiday now, but she will be back week after next. We are going to see her, and if she thinks that there are not really anything left to try, which could really help… then we are saying goodbyes to our beloved dog. We do not want him to suffer, even it`s one the hardest things ever.

    1. Oh no, too many losses… It is heartbreaking when animals get sick and there is no way to help. Then you have to make a hard decision, because you love your dog. You know he had a good life, and he enjoyed your friendship. He was happy, and it is the most important. Our furry friends have a short lifespan and saying goodbye is expected from the very beginning. It is so very sad. I hope that 2018 is kind to you ❤

  19. A beautiful post to spread the news, my friend. That last pup…yes, I think you’re right about the lack of trust. He’s got this sort of observer look, that sizing-you-up look. I wonder about his story…

  20. It’s wonderful to see these dogs being so well cared for and hard to understand how anyone could ever hurt them. People like Pat and Rob deserve every praise for the work they do and like you, I hope laws everywhere are tightened regarding animal abuse.
    As you know, I’m longing for a better year next year, too, and reading this about the Yang Earth Dog Year has really cheered me up! Thank you for sharing your beautiful photos. You’ve captured some great poses! Have a very Happy New Year, Inese. ❤

    1. Thank you so much, Millie. I hope all the changes will be good for all and for each of us. Shouldn’t be any mass violence in 2018, so they say. We can only hope ❤

  21. I think there’s a special place in Hell for those who abuse or neglect animals, and a special place in Heaven for those who rescue those animals. The photo of the Rottweiler mix just breaks my heart – he (she?) looks so sad.

    1. Thank you so much! Yes, that Rottweiler pup did look sad, and he didn’t come to me as the other dogs did. I think he just needed more time to forgive the humans who betrayed him. It is great that these dogs have food, roof and love, but many of them remember happy days with their family before they became unwanted. Abused dogs are happy here, betrayed dogs are forever sad.

  22. Please be a good dog, 2918, indeed!!! The year of the fire rooster was over abundant with the promised challenges, Inese.
    I’m a cat person too, but I enjoyed your series of beautiful dog portraits. Pat and Rob look like truly kind and living people. Wishing them and you all good and wonderful things. Happy New Year, my friend. Huge hugs.

  23. Happy New Year to you and I also hope the upcoming dog year will be a good year for changes.

    My heart goes to the work by Patricia Edwards and her partner for their work setting up the place for these poor animals. I think I am a cat person but I also do like dogs and other animals too (although I am scared of snakes so badly but still like them as the same).

    1. Thank you so much! I think the same as you – I am a cat person but I love other animals too. I am a little bit afraid of dogs and I didn’t know what to think when all these dogs – and some of them really big- came to me. But I knew they just wanted some love, and I was talking to them and rubbing their ears, and silently crying as I couldn’t help them much.
      Wishing you a wonderful and happy New Year, and many good surprises 🙂

  24. Some of those fellows look bedraggled and weather-beaten. Certain others appeared traumatised by bipeds. But they do look happy by and large. I have always preferred dogs over cats for the simple reason no cat can ever be as doting or friendly as a dog. They can be vicious too, as in spoilt Dobermanns or German Shepherds, or outright pesky like a Pomeranian. And yet, they will rarely treat humans with the condescension the way our feline friends are capable of doing.

    1. Thank you so much! I love the felines for their free spirit 😉
      All these dogs were once owned by Dog people who didn’t want them any more. The fifty cats were not owned solely by the Cat people. They were generally owned by the same Dog people who needed a cat living in the back yard and taking care of mice. So, the story behind all these animals is complicated. I just hope some of them are re-homed.

        1. Some of them have a real horror story to tell. Left to die but miraculously survived; beaten; used as bait… I will write more some day. There are many unfortunate people in this world, and many unfortunate animals, and in most of the cases it is not their fault at all.

    1. Thank you! Being a cat person means that I probably wouldn’t want to own a dog, but I love them and sure I feel compassion towards them. Surrounded by twenty rescued dogs of all sizes I felt overwhelmed with emotions. They trusted me. Why? My species betrayed them. I was in tears.
      Have a Happy New Year!

    1. Thank you so much! I wish they could be re-homed, but I doubt it. On some stage the sanctuary won’t have any more space, and they will stop taking in any more animals.

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