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. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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 🙂

  4. 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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