Saturday, October 1, 2011, she joined WSPA

Moon bear
Thanks to

As we pulled up to the supermarket carpark (and parked as far away as possible... for extra exercise), the WSPA (World Society for Protection of Animals) posters were plain to see.  There was a sorry-looking bear with a ring through his nose, and a very sad little donkey with liquid eyes just imploring you to do something.  A stronger magnet for someone with PWS you could not hope to choose.  Immediately my daughter went straight for the posters and engaged a rather patient young man in conversation:
"What's wrong with those bears?  Who did that to that donkey?  How can people be allowed to do that?  What do you want me to do to help?"

The conversation became seriously involved with how Moon Bears (named for the moon-like crescent on their chests) are captured, their claws and teeth ripped out, and used for bear-baiting.  They are also killed for their gall-bladders. Although it has been illegal since 1989, it still goes on.   WSPA rescues the bears by intercepting bear-baiting fights, and also by offering better incentives for money earning (raising crops, selling produce etc), and then puts the poor clawless, toothless animals into a special reserve where sometimes a claw or two might grow back, but the teeth don't, so they live on soft foods and fruit.  Francie absorbed all of this, at the same time telling me she was going to join up and she would make sure her budget included the $3.60 (NZD) a week necessary.  This link is a video of what happens - warning, it's very graphic, but it does show the refuge with happy bears at the end.

Of course, my mind was racing back and forth between the interest she would get through joining WSPA and the fact that her miniscule budget barely allows her to feed her cat and buy some personal items like shampoo, not to mention tobacco (that's just another story).  The nice young man, eager to make a convert, said she could get out of it at any stage, or postpone payments if needed.  Of course, Francie was metaphorically captivated and eager to plant her signature on the contract. 

It always interests me how our kids with PWS see the world - they instinctively know who is worse of than themselves, they have a clear idea of their own values, they have a desire to help, to nurture (and to feed) those who can't help themselves.  This was such an occasion.  It will give her an interest, and a kind of ownership, an authority, if you like, over something that she can do for something for someone else.

On the way home in the car she said (absolutely true to form):  "Well, at least my $15 will go towards some fruit for the bears!" 

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