She has the largest, kindest heart. She's a fundamentally and intrinsically good person. She cares, deeply and selflessly, about the world. She wants to make it a better place--not in any dramatic, Let's-Change-The-World-Order way; she understands that small things are the biggest change-mongers.
And she lives with thirty-six dogs.
Most she's rescued herself, others were brought to her as fosters from dog rescue organizations. But these thirty-six are by no means all the dogs she's rescued. Whether with her own hands--and her rescue stories, if ever she gets around to writing them (or--dare I hope--letting me write them), will read like the best edge-of-your-seat thrillers--or by fostering, she's helped dozens of homeless, hopeless dogs find a loving forever family.
The ones she has are the ones no one else wants. They're sick, or fear-based aggressive, or just plain too old to win a place in a family's heart. And Djoeke has turned her home into a sanctuary for them. Even though she lives on a teacher's salary. (Yes, she's a teacher... Oh, that we could clone her and have her as every single child's teacher in the world!)
|Amigoe Express, Oct 3 edition. Djoeke's article was printed in the double pages in the middle!|
Unfortunately that means it was only available in print and not online.
Of course I wanted to write about that. I didn't know whether the paper would publish the article, but with World Animal Day (Oct 4) coming around, the timing was perfect, and it went to press last Friday.
Here's the kicker--and what's got me over the moon. A couple of tourists read the article in their hotel, and showed up the next day at Djoeke's door with giant bags of dog food and dog treats.
|Photo: Djoeke Giliam|
I cannot imagine I'll feel this honored if my writing ever wins a Pulitzer, even a Nobel. This is the real thing: touching lives, making a perceptible dent in the fabric of the world.
I'm humbled. And ecstatic.
Want to help, too? Visit Stichting DOG online (DOG = Djoeke Olga Giliam... How prophetically apt), or give her a huge hand with just a click: another animal welfare organization is running a contest to help smaller grassroots foundations. Vote for DOG!