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Islands in the Storm

When one envisions images of Indonesia, it's usually of beautiful white sand, warm turquoise water and lush tropical jungles in the sun. Sadly there is a darker side to this paradise when it comes to the monsoon seasons and animal welfare. There are literally no laws governing unwanted and abused animals there and just a couple of tiny shelters. Stray animals run rampant in the streets and suffer from wide spread starvation and a myriad of sicknesses they spread amongst themselves.

The city of Bandung on the island of Java is no exception. It is the backyard breeder capital of the country with horrible repercussions for the unwanted animals. There is only one haven for the unloved street cats and its run single handedly by a little wisp of a girl named Josie. She has named her shelter The Whiskers' Syndicate and its home to close to 60 cats and kittens. Upon reading Josie's posts on her site some of her amazing heroic rescue missions are enough to warm your heart with her empathy and compassion and also make your hair stand on end at the same time. Josie started saving animals at a very young age and comes from a long line of animal rescuers in her family, going all the way back to her Grandfather. No cat or kitten in need is left behind, even if it means climbing through the sewer to get to a cry for help in the dark.

The Whiskers' Syndicate was formally established in late 2008 and has since moved to a permanent home in 2012 of 1000 sq. ft including the yard. 168 cats and a couple of dogs have been rescued since. Some were lucky enough to be adopted, some succumbed to their illnesses. The majority are part of Josie's Trap, Neuter and Return program, the first of its kind in Indonesia.

Josie's haven is solely funded by her holding down three jobs and through the generous donations from her followers. Monsoon season this year has been especially brutal as the typhoon that devastated much of the Philippines also took it's toll on Indonesia. Savage winds and torrential downpours completely flooded out the shelter and damaged the roof of The Whisker's Syndicate. Appliances in the house were ruined; mud and water left nothing on the property untouched.

Emergency appeals have gone out since December in the hopes of finding the funds to repair the extensive damage to the shelter, but with Christmas spending and paying for it afterwards have left donations at a minimum. With the funds that have come in so far, Josie has been trying to get the repairs underway. There's still a lot more help required. Some people will say, "why help animals in another country when there's animals in need here at home?" I say why not. Animals suffering and in need are global and there are no boundaries. In the U.S., Canada and Europe there are many resources that shelters can turn to for help when disaster strikes. In places like Indonesia, there's no where to turn and no relief coming. Very thankfully SPCAI jumped in to help last year and bought a water tower for the shelter so that they have fresh water. Josie and The Whiskers' Syndicate's survival depend on Josie's exhausting hard work and the generosity of animal lovers from everywhere. It's so vital to Indonesia's street animals that this sanctuary remains open to them.

If you would like to help in the quest to repair the shelter and aid in replacing all of the lost blankets, cat beds, toys, etc, please take a look at the link below to Josie's site, her stories are all there, and there's a Paypal link down below that goes directly to Josie if you could spare just a little. Any amount of help is hugely appreciated and no amount is ever too small.