Daw Tin Tin Hla cares for street animals when no one else will
Daw Tin Tin Hla (50) sews for a living, but lives for animals.
In the city of Mawlamyine, hundreds of feral cats and dogs roam the streets. While most are afraid of humans and keep their distance, they'll often resort to fighting each other for the bits of food they are able to scavenge. It's a hard existence, and it's not unusual for a fight overnight to result in the wounded or worse left lying on the road in the morning.
Daw Tin Tin Hla sees these animals in another way, and has taken it upon herself to give them a better life. While she is unmarried and has never wanted children herself, she feels as though the animals are her children. Growing up, her father loved animals, and they had several cats and dogs around their home. In addition to her Buddhist faith, it was his example that she followed to care for other living creatures.
So, every few days, she'll buy dried fish and crackers from the local market and walk around town to feed the animals. She even carries an injectable medicine to treat the dogs and cats against common fungal infections found here. Whenever she finds an animal she can't treat, she'll call the local veterinarian and pay for the treatment herself.
"Even if they can't speak, I can understand their expression"
When she discovered four young pups in the street by her home, they were starving and barely alive. Over the next two months, she woke up early each morning to bottle feed them back to health. As the months went by, they would often come to the entrance of her home in the evening to sleep in safety, bringing a huge smile to her face. A year and a half later, the son of a rich man took two of them for himself. She was devastated, and her grief left her with trouble sleeping. Soon afterwards, the local authorities threw meat laced with poison into the streets overnight, killing the other two and dozens of other animals.
There are many sad times, but she's resilient. Being around the animals makes her feel happy, and they need all the love and caring that they can get.