TOPAZ Issue 2 / 2001
Welcome
The World Mosaic of Sound
A Template Seminar Centre
Design for an Animal Sanctuary
The Science of Intelligence
A curious examination in physics... or evidence of spiritual intelligence?
Film Review - Chocolat
Immunity boosters
Desiderius Erasmus
The Refuge Garden

EASE - The Development of a new Template for an Animal Sanctuary

Melinda HillMelinda Hill has had a longstanding interest in animals, having owned pets throughout her life, and is currently completing a course in Animal Care at Hatfield University.
She now plans to use the experience she gained from running an education charity in Holland for ten years to set up EASE, an innovative animal sanctuary in Hertfordshire, England.

The Environmental Animal Sanctuary and Education (EASE) is an innovative animal sanctuary planned to start in Hertfordshire in England in 2002. It will be aimed not only at providing a sanctuary for companion animals (pets) in need of rescue or rehoming, but also at creating a unique environment, particularly for people with special needs and children, where people can spend time with animals and learn about their care.

The human/animal relationship

For many years now I have felt that the relationship between humans and animals is a very special association of mutual companionship, interdependency and endearment, and is to be championed and celebrated as a natural richness of life. I also believe that people should work with animals in a way that causes them no pain nor detracts from their dignity or well-being, and that recognition and return should be offered to animals by way of respect, companionship, shelter and food. I see animals as the 'little people' of the planet, and believe it is for us to take care of them rather than abuse them or treat them cruelly.

EASEEASE's mission statement is ‘To create an environment of harmony and peace which offers refuge to animals in need, education about human responsibility for animals, and opportunities for people with special needs.’

These beliefs form the bedrock of the vision that is EASE, an environment that is a living demonstration of this philosophy. It will be a place where no animals are restricted more than absolutely necessary, where animals have the freedom to express their nature rather than being restrained in small cages, where they can live in safety and harmony until a new home can be found for them, and where no means of cruelty is exercised (even by the use of barbed wire and electric fencing, or punishment in training).

A unique environment

Located in 10 to 20 acres of countryside in Hertfordshire, England, EASE will create a very special environment by the specific usage of shapes, colours, materials and plants. These understandings, which draw upon the strength of the range of international skills available within the Template Network, are based on years of research into the effects these factors have on the environment.

A lake will be built to house rescued waterfowl, surrounded by an area especially formed to attract and sustain wildlife. Different landscaped areas will be designed, and each of these will be planted with herbs and flowers that naturally produce specific effects. Thus the garden of meditation will have flowers that aid contemplation and invoke a peaceful atmosphere, while the healing garden will be planted with herbs that create a disinfectant and calming atmosphere. The scented garden will be designed specifically for blind people to enjoy, while the garden of remembrance will enable people to plant a shrub or flower of their choice in commemoration of a lost pet.

Wherever possible the buildings, gates and fencing will be built from natural materials to minimise the negative effects that can be caused by the use of metal. Innovative designs for dog kennels are being developed to minimise the occurrence of 'kennel stress' and to provide a better quality of life for rescued dogs awaiting a new home. This will include the use of natural materials and coloured Perspex roofs to create a calming effect, while running water surrounding the kennels and the strategic planting of herbs will help minimise the stress inevitably invoked by the dogs' anxiety at being confined.

Children and people with special needs

Animals will not be the only ones to benefit from the distinctive EASE environment. The sanctuary will be open for visits from schools, particularly those with pupils with special educational needs, and the children will be invited to learn about animal care and human responsibility towards animals in a very practical way.

The sanctuary will also cater specifically for people with special needs - be that physical or mental disabilities, educational needs, visual impairment or old age. Wheelchair access will be provided to all parts of the sanctuary, so that disabled people can sit by the lake enjoying nature and watching the swans. Visually impaired people can visit the scented garden and delight in the plants and the sounds of nature, perhaps with a cat on their lap. Elderly people can visit and have a cup of tea and enjoy the companionship of a dog or cat and the helpers for an hour or two.

EASE will also offer the services of a trained pet bereavement counsellor to assist those who have lost or are losing a beloved animal companion. We will also aim to look after an old person's pet should they be unable to do so, thus enabling an elderly person to take on a possibly much-needed companion without the worry of what will happen to their pet should it outlive them. We may in time offer a retirement home for hoofed animals; and so much more... The possibilities are endless! Perhaps EASE could even develop a new template of animal care for the future and develop branches nationwide.

If you would like to help...

EASE has applied for charitable status and the first fundraising events have been held - a sponsored aerobics undertaken by 16 brave ladies, and a sponsored 'monopoly walk' in London - which together have raised over £1,600. An appeal to raise the start-up funding of £250,000 will be launched once charitable status has been granted, and applications will then be made for National Lottery and EU funding.

If you feel EASE is something you would also like to see exist and you want to offer help or support - be it skills, expertise or fundraising initiatives - please write to 15 Rectory Close, Essendon, Hatfield, Herts AL9 6HG, England or visit the website at www.ease-animals.org.uk. Donations can also be sent to the address above, and cheques should be made payable to EASE. You can also become a 'Friend of EASE' by sending a minimum donation of £10 (£15 for overseas Friends); you will then receive quarterly newsletters with updates on EASE's progression and be able to witness this exciting vision becoming a reality.

Melinda Hill, London.

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