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Book Feature: Here For A Reason, Dr.Chan Kah Yein

 


Dr. Chan Kah Yein of AnimalCare has recently authored a new animal welfare book entitled “Here For A Reason”, which focuses on educating the public on Care-Neuter-Release/Return-Manage (CNRM), providing useful guidelines on caring for street animals. We interviewed Dr.Chan to learn more about the book and obtained interesting insights from her, which we will share in this article.

Q: Can you explain what this book is about, and its primary objectives?
A: This book is about ways on how we can help street animals. The main “feature” of the book is the CNRM program, which is the Care-Neuter-Rehome/Return-Manage concept, the very core of what AnimalCare promotes. Its primary objective is to encourage more people to help street animals.

Q: What inspired you to write this book?
A: I’ve wanted to come out with a guidebook (a “how to” book) for the ordinary person-on-the-street on how to help animals as I believe everyone can do it (help animals). You just have to be guided on what to do and you learn along the way. That’s how I started too. This guidebook was actually written three years ago when I started AnimalCare, but I could not get all the illustrations finalized at that time. That is why it was delayed. But the delay turned out to be a blessing in disguise because with the benefit of the three years’ experience, I added more content into the book to make it (hopefully) more complete now!
My previous books were all narrative in nature in that I just told my own stories, but this is different – it’s a guidebook and some people have told me that they needed something like this to help them get started.

Q: This book features interesting illustrations that appeal to young audience. Is that your target reader for this book?
A: Yes, that was my target 3 years ago – to reach out to the young. I believe they are our future and it is important that they develop this compassion for animals at a young age. But while preparing the book, I felt it might be more meaningful to also include a section for the parents and adults. Hence, the second half of the book. This section contains more “serious stuff”, useful information on neutering, fostering and adopting. So now, I hope it will be a book that children and their parents can read together.

Q: This book is bilingual, presented in English and Chinese. What motivated you to write this book in two languages?
A: To reach out to the Chinese-reading community. I have been asked repeatedly to get my previous books translated into Chinese because there is a whole audience out there who wants to read them, but I could not find the translators. I’m glad a friend agreed to do this one. I really hope the idea of CNRM can reach out to a whole new audience out there and more street animals will benefit from it.

Q: Can you share with us some unique aspects of this book?
The first section (the comics) is meant for children and adults who would rather not read! It is written in very simple language too. The second section has tips on fostering, neutering and adopting and it complements the first section. The book ends with a personal touch – a short letter from my cats to their best friend, my old dog, Bobby. I had written this book also as a tribute to my dog, Bobby, who had helped me foster every single kitten I brought back. Bobby passed away in September, shortly after the book came out. So all in all, the book means a lot to me. Bobby and my first litter (whom he helped foster) was what motivated me to start AnimalCare.

Q: Can you tell us more on your successful implementations of such CNRM programs?
A: I introduced the One-Street CNRM where residents and individuals are encouraged to help the street animals around their homes. AnimalCare reaches out to these people, such as those who need the financial help and have no means of raising funds on their own. We provide the subsidies for their vet bills. I’m glad we have reached out to many, many people and some have written to me to say that they have been motivated to start because of my previous books or the stories I put up on my blog. To date, we have helped more than 2400 animals in subsidizing their neutering and medical fee and e-rehoming. On the average, we help about 60 cases a month, and mostly from newcomers to the field. This has been very encouraging.

Q: It is generally believed that CNRM is more difficult for dogs, as local councils are still catching them regardless of whether they are sterilized. How do we address this issue?
A: The root cause is the lack of compassion for and understanding of the nature of dogs. Other issues may be that dogs bite so they are perceived as being “dangerous”. I learnt from a local councilor that the biggest complaint from the public about dogs is that people are simply afraid of them. Based on this, what is needed is education which hopefully leads to more understanding of the nature of dogs and how to handle them, for example, how not to provoke them. So far, AnimalCare’s one and only request is for the local councils to please spare our ear-notched (neutered) animals. We’re being realistic and are not asking for much. I hope in time, the councils would be willing to consider this request. On our part, we will reach out to the grassroots and get as many street dogs (and cats) neutered to reduce and control the street animal population. Once the complaining stops, the killing stops.

Q: How do readers obtain a physical print of this book?
A: They can write to me at chankahyein@gmail.com or log on to our website: www.MyAnimalCare.org to request the books. We only ask for postage reimbursement as the book is free.

Q: What is your next step on educating animal lovers? Are you planning on a new book?
A: Our work is ongoing and I hope the blog is a source of educational material by itself. There is much to learn from every case that we encounter and every post that I write. In the last 5 years, I have written five animal books and three other books on the simple life, so there are certainly no plans for a new book yet! I have written everything that I would like to share for now so unless some inspiration comes along, there are no plans for a new book!

 

This book “Here For A Reason”, as well as Dr.Chan’s other book titles, can be freely downloaded at AnimalCare’s website, or at WAGazine’s Inspiring Books page below:

 



 

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