Happy Tails Sanctuary: the heartwarming rags-to-riches tale of the island dogs - The Online Dog Trainer

Happy Tails Sanctuary: the heartwarming rags-to-riches tale of the island dogs

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Today’s Guest

Nathalie Duthil-Cowham

My guest today is a wonderful lady who moved to Mauritius with her husband, David, and started up the Happy Tails Sanctuary from nothing but a piece of land generously donated by a local woman. In today’s podcast Nathalie shares this heartwarming and inspiring story with us. Happy Tails Sanctuary rescues dogs (and some cats!) from poverty, neglect and abuse, and nurses them back to health.

As Nathalie says, Happy Tails Sanctuary is “full of love,” and we feel this as she tells us about how happy her pack of 70 dogs are, running about in their large enclosures with a beautiful view of the beach, with their tails in the “happy” position.

Nathalie and David also run sterilization campaigns and dog welfare education programs in the community.

Doggy-Dan-Podcast-Show-NewDesign-FEATURED-HappyTailsNathalie

Amazingly, given the huge numbers of dogs rescued, Happy Tails Sanctuary has only existed for a few years. There is still a lot of work to do and Nathalie and David are looking for dog lovers to help them out.

Listen along as we hear how Nathalie’s journey to find happiness in her work turned out to be the dogs’ tale of rags to riches!

You’ll Hear About

  • [01:30] The lives of dogs in Mauritius and why Nathalie’s work is so important
  • [07:00] How to manage 70 dogs!
  • [12:30] How dogs end up at Happy Tails Sanctuary
  • [17:00] A retirement dream come true
  • [19:00] Where the dogs saved at Happy Tails end up
  • [23:30] How bad it can be for dogs in Mauritius
  • [27:00] The power of the pack
  • [29:30] How Nathalie came to be living her dream
  • [35:00] What else Happy Tails Sanctuary is doing for dogs in the community
  • [37:00] Ways we can all help
  • [39:00] Happy Tails Sanctuary – the very beginning.

How You Can Get Involved:

Donate or buy a tee-shirt: https://www.happytailssanctuary.com/shop

… or better still, study theonlinedogtrainer.com and plan a trip to Mauritius to help out Nathalie and David with their dog packs!

Links & Resources

Rescue and recovery of Yoda

YODA'S JOURNEY BACK TO LIFE

Learn more by tuning into the podcast!

Thanks for listening—and again, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on TODT App / iTunes / Spotify to get automatic updates.

Cheers,

 

 

~Doggy Dan 🙂

Voiceover:

Welcome to The Doggy Dan Podcast Show, helping you unleash the greatness within your dog.

Doggy Dan:

[00:00:30]

Hello, and welcome to another podcast with Doggy Dan. The Doggy Dan Podcast Show, and today I am with a lovely lady named, Nathalie, and we're actually not with her partner, husband, David, but he works with her. And, we are going to be talking about Happy Tails Sanctuary. So, if you have ever had a dream of saving dogs, of setting up a sanctuary, of living with dogs, of looking into those eyes of the dogs that you've saved, and you've thought, "What's involved? How do I do it?" Then, listen up guys, because that is what we're going to be going into today, with Nathalie.

[00:01:00]

She's an Aussie, from Australia, that's a terrible accent, sorry! She's got a background in radio and hospitality in Sydney. And now, she is living in Mauritius. I'll tell you where Mauritius is, for those of you who don't know, in a minute, because I just looked it up on Google Maps. She's been there since 2014, she was planning to take it easy, teach yoga, do that sort of stuff. But, as I understand it, you soon realized that the dogs there needed help. There were so many strays, and you decided to take on a mission. Is that pretty much it, Nathalie? Over to you.

Nathalie:

That is exactly right! Hi Dan!

Doggy Dan:

How are you?

[00:01:30]

Nathalie:

I'm really, really good, thanks. Really good.

Doggy Dan:

Good.

Nathalie:

Yeah, thank you for inviting me to have a chat, today.

Doggy Dan:

It's going to be fun.

Nathalie:

Yeah, yeah. When I got to Mauritius, I quickly realized that there was a big, big problem here. I had lived here when I was much younger, so I kind of knew already, that there was an issue. But, all those years after, coming back and seeing that nothing had changed, was a bit of a shock for me.

[00:02:00]

Doggy Dan:

Yeah, yeah. And what was it? It was strays, as I understand it? Dogs?

Nathalie:

Yeah, it's not only the strays, it's just how people see dogs here.

Doggy Dan:

Yes.

Nathalie:

The majority don't really regard them as pets, or part of the family. They're more seen to be security. So, they're not treated as one of the family.

Doggy Dan:

[00:02:30]

So, tell me, for those people listening, so you went over there. And then, tell us about Happy Tails Sanctuary. So, where are you now? Just so we kind of jump ahead in time to, that's what was there, when you turned up, and now, what have you achieved? Are you on the way to big stuff?

Nathalie:

Yup. So, I had the big, big dream of opening a sanctuary, soon after I realized what the situation was here. And, a lovely lady donated some land to us. So, we were really fortunate to get some agricultural land in the middle of nowhere.

Doggy Dan:

Brilliant.

[00:03:00]

Nathalie:

With beautiful views of the sea, so all of our dogs have million dollar views.

Doggy Dan:

Oh, that's fantastic!

Nathalie:

And we opened our doors last year. And we only had 10 dogs to start with, and a year later we've got 70.

Doggy Dan:

Wow! Seven Zero. Yup.

Nathalie:

[00:03:30]

Yeah. We could have so much more, but we're trying to be realistic about the amount of dogs we can actually keep, and look after really well. We don't want to take dogs unless we can give them a great life, a great start, so. So yeah, that's been us. We've got staff living on the spot, which is great. So, there's always someone there to keep an eye on them. It's just full of joy.

Doggy Dan:

Ah, beautiful.

Nathalie:

Happy Tails Sanctuary is just full of joy.

[00:04:00]

Doggy Dan:

Let me tell you, let me tell you something, before we jumped on the call, I just was on YouTube, and I typed in Happy Tails Sanctuary and, I think, it was Happy Tails Sanctuary, Mauritius came up.

Nathalie:

Yup.

Doggy Dan:

[00:04:30]

It's called, "Happy dogs at Happy Tails", and I watched that one minute video, and I know you, so I was watching it knowing this is what you've built. And, it's only had 107 views guys, and that's why I love doing this, because you're at the start of this journey. I see the potential of what you're doing, and I know you're going to have so many more dogs. And I watched it, and it brought such joy to my heart, guys. So, if you want to feel that joy, just look at these happy dogs, who've all been rescued, and saved off the street. I think it's about 20 of them, running up and down a lovely, grassy area. I can read dogs, I'm like, they have all just gone, "Hey, we've all just landed in Heaven! How did we get here?"

[00:05:00]

And, here's the thing, right? You know what? It had no likes, it also had no dislikes, but it had zero, zero likes and dislikes. I was the first person to like it!

Nathalie:

Oh, thank you!

Doggy Dan:

And it was like, that's what brings me the joy of being able to do this, in a way. Because I see the potential of what you're doing, and I see you at the start of this journey, in many ways, as I'm sure you're feeling.

Nathalie:

Yes.

Doggy Dan:

I'm mean, you're a long, long way to go, but I can see the potential. You're going to have, I don't want to say hundreds, but I'm sure there will be hundreds of dogs.

Nathalie:

Yeah.

Doggy Dan:

I will reckon there will be, hey? Have you set a limit?

[00:05:30]

Nathalie:

We have set a limit for this site, where we are now. I mean, we started off just letting all the dogs roam free.

Doggy Dan:

I love it.

Nathalie:

And soon after, like a few months in, after we had about 30 dogs, we realized that wasn't realistic, ongoing.

Doggy Dan:

Hang on. Hang on. Yeah.

Nathalie:

I mean, there's no guidebook as to how to run a shelter, a sanctuary, like the one that I want to create here.

Doggy Dan:

[00:06:00]

Hang on, hang on. There's a lot of people just shouting at me, they're all saying, "Hang on, I could help. I could show you." Okay, sorry, there's a lot of people around the world telling me they could help.

Nathalie:

Please!

Doggy Dan:

Okay, they're saying they could come and show you. Is there any room for the people who can help? To come and help, and show you?

Nathalie:

Absolutely. Anyone with dog experience, just obsession with dogs, they can come and see us in Mauritius. If they fancy the long trip.

Doggy Dan:

[00:06:30]

But no, I hear you though. In terms of, there is no rule book, and yeah, the actual size of a dog pack you can handle.

Nathalie:

Yes.

Doggy Dan:

I mean, a lot of us have seen huge dog packs roaming around, and it's fascinating. But, it doesn't always work, and sometimes that's not forever. You know, you might see them running around for an hour, but then you wouldn't leave them like that.

Nathalie:

No, no. Because-

Doggy Dan:

And, you have to separate them back out.

Nathalie:

[00:07:00]

That's it. There's fights that can break out between the dominant males. So, we've been on a big, big learning journey too. My husband, myself, and our staff members. Yeah, so we've really been learning, and paying attention, and trying different things. And now, the idea that we've had, is to separate them into smaller packs of 10 to 15 dogs.

Doggy Dan:

Yes. Perfect, yeah.

Nathalie:

[00:07:30]

And, it's much more manageable, they're much happier, and more relaxed. They still have the roam of the sanctuary, but in groups. So, we give them allocated times to be let out, and we play with them, and run around with them, and then put them back in for a rest. So, it goes on like that, all day.

Doggy Dan:

[00:08:00]

I'm just feeling into those packs. And, I've worked at a doggy day care where we had packs. And what I often felt, and correct me if I'm wrong, I just want to see if I'm on the right lines here. I always found you could group the dogs. Obviously, you could do it with size, but also, you could group them almost, you could have one high energy, or busy-body, or a couple who'd play together, and then, you'd have one dominant dog, and then you'd have a couple more ... You'd have a real mixture in each group, is what I sometimes found.

Nathalie:

Yeah.

Doggy Dan:

Rather than saying, "Let's put all the timid dogs in one area." I mean, even saying it sounds stupid.

Nathalie:

Yeah.

Doggy Dan:

Let's put all the scared dogs in one area, and then let's put all the dominant male dogs in one group, and let's put all the high energy dogs in the other group. I mean, even saying it makes me laugh, because that's not how it works, is it?

Nathalie:

[00:08:30]

No. You need a mix. You need a mix. There has to be a dominant in each pack, in each of these groups. So there is, currently now. So, that's just happened naturally.

Doggy Dan:

Yeah, yeah.

Nathalie:

Which has been really interesting to watch. I mean, there's some that were dominant, that are now more submissive in this new pack structure.

Doggy Dan:

Yes.

Nathalie:

So, it's been fascinating to just see how they work.

Doggy Dan:

[00:09:00]

Oh look, my whole experience of working with large dog packs is all coming back on line. I'm closing my eyes and feeling it. Because there's almost nothing I like more, than working with large packs of dogs. Because, if I remember what happened, sometimes, there would be a dog who looked like they were dominant, but they were actually ... they were what I call, fakes. They were faking it. They were trying to act tough. Maybe with their owner, or around a dog, but they actually wanted somebody else to come up, and take that leadership role from them.

Nathalie:

Yeah.

Doggy Dan:

[00:09:30]

And so, if you could put another, clearly confident, dog to say, "Buddy, I've got this." Then they would go, "Okay." And they could actually relax, is what I often found. And, I don't know if you've found any of that sort of stuff happening. But, you mentioned sometimes dogs who were dominant, then became more submissive, or ...

Nathalie:

Yeah. So, we've got one, for example, who came to the sanctuary. Super aggressive, a male, his name is Tails.

Doggy Dan:

Tails.

Nathalie:

[00:10:00]

But, super lovely with people, loved being around us, but hated being with the other dogs, the big dogs. And, we tried putting a bunch of young dogs in with him, just to see how he reacted, because we could see that he wasn't really aggressive when the young dogs would come towards his enclosure, where he was. And it's worked a treat! They all get along. He is super happy. He has blossomed. He's like the older brother, looking after them. There's never been a scrap, never been a fight, it's amazing.

Doggy Dan:

[00:10:30]

Isn't it? And in that sense, they're so like people for me. Even talking about, you don't want to put all the fearful people together. And it's better to have that mix of somebody who's in charge, and some workers, and some followers, and support wing-man, and some people who want no responsibility. And how we change, and you have to trial and error it. You can't pick who's going to get on with who, it's not ...

Nathalie:

[00:11:00]

That's it. That's it. So yeah, we're actually in the process right now, of finalizing all the segregated areas. So, we're doing the fencing, we're building the dog houses, so that should be ready probably in this coming month. Then there'll be a bit more peace at the sanctuary.

Doggy Dan:

[00:11:30]

Oh, fantastic! Fantastic! So, I just want to point out, so for those of you ... I did say I'd tell you where Mauritius is. So, for those of you who are wondering, "Where is Mauritius?" Because it's one of those places I've always, you hear about it, and you kind of go, "Where is it?" I had a look on the map, and if you go down to the very bottom of Africa, you have South Africa, and about a 1,000 miles to the east, you have that beautiful, long island called, Madagascar, and then 1,000 kilometers to the right of the east of Madagascar, you have Mauritius. Is that about right? Does that sound correct?

Nathalie:

Yeah. In the middle of the Indian Ocean.

Doggy Dan:

In the middle of the Indian Ocean.

Nathalie:

Yeah. A tiny little dot.

Doggy Dan:

Beautiful. Beautiful. And it's got the most white, sandy beaches. It's green, it's got the blue sea, it's got the green trees.

Nathalie:

It's beautiful.

Doggy Dan:

It's very beautiful. I can just ... Yeah.

Nathalie:

It's a stunning place.

Doggy Dan:

Yeah.

Nathalie:

Absolutely stunning. And, when we moved here, we were just so happy. My husband was moving from the UK, me from Australia, so it was a lovely change for us.

Doggy Dan:

Yes.

Nathalie:

[00:12:30]

But yeah. But there's, underneath all of that beautiful nature, there's a lot of issues, such as social issues. And, things like the stray animals that are happening too. So, we're really working hard to try and change that here.

Doggy Dan:

Yeah. So, where do most of the dogs come from? You've got 70 dogs now, do they just turn up on your doorstep? Do people bring them to you? Or, do you go around looking for them? Or ...

Nathalie:

They come from a lot of different sources, really.

Doggy Dan:

Yeah.

Nathalie:

[00:13:00]

[00:13:30]

We help some other rescuers too, when they rescue dogs, and they don't have the facilities to keep them. So, in the beginning we were helping a lot of the local rescuers, in taking some of their dogs, that they couldn't look after. So that was the first pack that we got. From the local pound, too, we've rescued a few that were in a really bad state, so we took them. And then, in our local village, there's a lot of strays. So, we've been working there at doing sterilization campaigns. But, there's always a female that gives birth to nine puppies, and you see them on the road and ... If we see any dog in danger, then we're stopping, and we're taking it.

So, that's pretty much how we pick them up. We could have 10 times, a 1,000 times more dogs, but-

Doggy Dan:

Really?

Nathalie:

[00:14:00]

We just have to be very discerning in assessing what the serious cases are, to take them. The more vulnerable cases, we take, really.

Doggy Dan:

When you say, "The more vulnerable." What are you meaning by that?

Nathalie:

[00:14:30]

So, vulnerable as in, puppies on the street, on a main road. You can't drive past that, and so, we stop and we pick them up, or we make a plan to come back and take them. Old dogs that are injured. We've had dogs that have had accidents, and are just left there. So, we pick them up, take them to the vets, get them treated. Just the ones that really need the help. So yeah.

Doggy Dan:

Gosh, just hearing that makes my heart go, "Whoa!"

Nathalie:

I know. There's so much cruelty, so much of it. It's disheartening at times, and a lot of the rescuers here do have breakdowns, because they can't see the light at the end of the tunnel. But, you just have to keep going. You just-

Doggy Dan:

Yes, do what you can do.

Nathalie:

And once we get to the sanctuary, and see all the happy dogs, that's our boost. It keeps us going. It really keeps us going.

Doggy Dan:

Yeah, yeah, yeah. What I'll do guys, if you're listening to this, do go ... I'm going to give the website ... I mean, obviously, go to ... I'm trying to remember, I want to make sure I've got it, pronounce it absolutely correct, happytailssanctuary.com

Nathalie:

Mm-hmm.

Doggy Dan:

[00:15:30]

[00:16:00]

That's happy tails, because there's more than one tail. HappyTailsSanctuary.com, but also, if you go to our site, which is theonlinedogtrainer.com/happytails, then, what I will do on there, I will collate a whole load of links to videos, and different information, and obviously, it links back to you, Nathalie, your site. But, just so people can get a real feel for, what you're seeing is what Nathalie has built, from scratch, with nothing, in just a few, short years. And, I think, I love what you're doing so much, because you approached me, and chatted to me a bit about coming out maybe, and helping out, and connected, before you'd even put a spade in the ground.

Nathalie:

I know. I know that. What a journey it's been. And, we've kept in touch ever since, so.

Doggy Dan:

Yeah.

Nathalie:

[00:16:30]

And that dream hasn't gone too far away. We really would like you to come out here at some stage. That's definitely on the cards.

Doggy Dan:

Yeah no, that's all good. Just for those of you that are listening, we were talking about all sorts of stuff. About me coming out, and working with the dogs, and getting some really fun footage, and stuff. But, I just love to support you, and so-

Nathalie:

Thank you.

Doggy Dan:

[00:17:00]

And the videos you've created ... Oh, it's a pleasure. The videos that you've created, I'm looking here, there's like four or five dogs, their tails are in the happiest position you can get. I might ask you to see if you can capture a picture of the ocean view, because that will just crack me up.

Nathalie:

Yes. Okay, I will. I'll do that today, when I go there.

Doggy Dan:

And, it might motivate a few more people to come rushing across from South Africa, or wherever, just going, "Hey, let's go and help. We can help."

Nathalie:

[00:17:30]

Definitely. Definitely. Where the sanctuary's located, it's in the middle of the sugarcane fields, so there's beautiful walks, there's a river not far. It's absolutely stunning. But, we don't really have many people to help us walk all these dogs, so that would be amazing to have volunteers come from overseas. Or, if anyone's on holiday here, then definitely get in touch with us.

Doggy Dan:

[00:18:00]

Wow. Did you hear that guys? Are you listening? You could quit your jobs, and just take your savings and, I don't know, I'm just making stuff up, but you know. What more do I need to say? No, I think, the thing about this podcast, and doing what you're doing is, I was never happier, probably, than when I was in those dog packs. There's something about just standing in a pack of 10 or 20 dogs, and you don't even have to touch them. In fact, by not touching them, they settle and calm down, and then, you really feel the calm, peace, and love, and gratitude, and it's phenomenal.

Nathalie:

[00:18:30]

It's beautiful. It's beautiful. I've always been an animal lover, but it's only since I've started this journey that I've just ... I've always had dogs. But, since I've started this journey with the dogs, it's just totally opened my heart to them. And yeah, there's no turning back, really. This is what I want to do for the rest of my life.

Doggy Dan:

Oh, good on you. And, there is a huge difference between owning, or having one, or two, or three, or four dogs, or five dogs, I'd even say. I've had five dogs on my property, living.

Nathalie:

Yeah.

Doggy Dan:

But, that's nothing compared to having a pack of 15, is it?

Nathalie:

[00:19:00]

Yeah, totally. And also, these dogs that come to us, we want to make them the best they can be, so that there's a potential for them to find a family, and get adopted.

Doggy Dan:

Yeah, tell me more about that. I was going to ask what happens to the dogs. I know you know dogs get put down, is that still the case? I know that was the ... You do your best-

Nathalie:

[00:19:30]

Yeah. I mean, here, the actual government body that looks after the strays, it's a pound really. They say that they're for animal welfare, but they're not really. They're just here to manage the stray issue, so.

Doggy Dan:

Clean up the streets.

Nathalie:

Yeah. There's a lot of dogs that are put down, every day, on the island.

Doggy Dan:

But, at Happy Tails Sanctuary, you don't put the dogs down, you keep them all, they come through.

Nathalie:

No. No-kill, no-cage, sanctuary.

Doggy Dan:

There you go.

Nathalie:

[00:20:00]

So yeah. Unless the dog is really, really ill, then, obviously. But no, we don't do that. We wouldn't put a dog down.

Doggy Dan:

So, you are looking for people to ... So, people do come in and say-

Nathalie:

Yes.

Doggy Dan:

"We love this dog, we're looking for a dog." And you rehome them.

Nathalie:

[00:20:30]

Yeah. And we have had ... I'm very particular. After we've looked after our babies for so long, and put so much effort into making them better, I am the one, really, who makes the call as to whether they go out, and they're adopted.

Doggy Dan:

I'm picturing a mother hen, guarding her little chicks. “Get out of here. You are not worthy!”

Nathalie:

[00:21:00]

I am pretty much like that. But, that's how it's going to be. I have the standard that I want to keep. And, I'm also showing the locals how to really treat a dog. So, there have been cases where I've refused, because these people who wanted to adopt a puppy, they were going to put the puppy on the roof, while they were at work.

Doggy Dan:

Gosh!

Nathalie:

So, with no fencing, or anything on the roof, no shelter. I was like, "I'm sorry, but no."

Doggy Dan:

Sorry, I'm trying not to chuckle. If it wasn't so terrible it would-

Nathalie:

It's terrible.

Doggy Dan:

It's funny, if it wasn't so seriously terrible. Yeah.

Nathalie:

I know. You see it all the time, Dan. It's terrible. But, we have had many success stories. Including some adoptions in the UK.

Doggy Dan:

Wow!

Nathalie:

I know! We've got Sandy, who's living happily in the UK. She's a two year old dog.

Doggy Dan:

Tell me, where's she living? Whereabouts in the UK is she living?

Nathalie:

She's living in ...

Doggy Dan:

Manchester!

Nathalie:

[00:22:00]

No, no. What's it called? 41, E41. I forget what it's called. But, she's living not far from us, like, the west. And also, two cats. Two cats that were brought to the sanctuary. I mean, we don't have a space for cats, but we took them in anyway, because they were brought to us in a plastic bag, days old. And, our lovely son, in the UK, wanted them. So, we arranged for them to go to the UK, and they're living very happily, over there.

Doggy Dan:

Brilliant. Love it.

Nathalie:

Also, we've had a lot of successful local adoptions.

Doggy Dan:

Yup.

Nathalie:

But, as I say, I'd set the bar quite high. For example, I don't adopt out any dogs that haven't been sterilized yet.

Doggy Dan:

Yes.

Nathalie:

[00:23:00]

That's too risky. A lot of the rescuers here, do give out their rescue puppies, and then, a few days later, they're up for adoption. And then, those same puppies are probably the parents of the other puppies that they'll be rescuing seven months down the track. So, the cycle continues. So, I don't want to be part of the problem.

Doggy Dan:

Yeah. No, totally.

Nathalie:

So, this is a standard that I've set, that we don't adopt out any dogs that haven't been sterilized. Or, if we do, then I'll be calling that person, to take the dog myself, to be sterilized when the time's right.

Doggy Dan:

Yeah. Perfect. Totally agree.

Nathalie:

Yeah.

Doggy Dan:

[00:23:30]

So, I'm sure you've had a lot of emotions, and excitement, and staggering, kind of, "Can't believe what I've just seen." Can you think of a time, or has there been a time where you might have gone, "What just happened there?" Or where the dogs have just surprised you, or blown you away with the way they've changed, or adapted. Or, a time where you've maybe thought, "I just can't see a way through this, or how's this going to work out?"

Nathalie:

[00:24:00]

[00:24:30]

Yeah. I'm thinking of a dog that we rescued. We got an urgent phone call, someone was looking for some help. And, my intuition was, "Go see what this is." I don't always follow on these calls, but this one, I was like, "No, I need to go." And, we got to a village, and there was this dog that had been pretty much severely machete'd on her back, and she had been pierced with something, she had been burnt, like someone had thrown boiling water over her.

Doggy Dan:

Oh.

Nathalie:

[00:25:00]

[00:25:30]

It was just shocking. It really, really affected us, my husband and I. We were like, "What are we going to do?" So, we took the dog. The lady who took the dog in from her neighbor, stole the dog, basically, because the dog was just tied up, with a chain around its neck, in a backyard. So, this lady went, and took the dog. We took it to the vets. And it was a long, long, process of healing, and trying to get this dog to trust humans again. So, every day, the vet would come to give the dog some injections. Had to have very high antibiotic injections. She was vicious. So vicious. No-one could approach her. So, you can imagine, she was in a bathroom, a spare bathroom we had. No-one could approach her. We had to use a noose to try and corner her, to give her her injection. So, this went on for weeks, for weeks.

[00:26:00]

And then, finally, I would go and sit with her, every day, just sit there. Not try and do anything, just be a presence there, so she would get used to me. And then, slowly, slowly, she started healing, and started trusting us all, in the house, and we decided to keep her, and she's just a completely different dog.

Doggy Dan:

Oh.

Nathalie:

Completely different dog. She's amazing.

Doggy Dan:

Because the whole time, you're wondering, "Is she ever going to get better, or is this forever?"

Nathalie:

Yeah. Well, yeah.

Doggy Dan:

Is it permanent? Is she ruined?

Nathalie:

[00:26:30]

Exactly. I knew, physically, she could heal. But, I was thinking, mentally, will she recover? Will she be able to trust us? Are we going to be able to turn her around, in the sense that she'll be able to live a happy life? And, she's one of our pack at home now, and she's so, so, so happy. You'd never tell that she came from a trauma like that. So, that was a big, big turning point for me. This was prior to opening the sanctuary. So yeah.

Doggy Dan:

[00:27:00]

Because that's both physical and mental wounding that you've healed there, and that's where I'd go, "Wow! Look what we can do. If we can do this, we can really…" And the power of the pack starts coming online.

So, the power of the pack, for those of you who aren't aware, is almost if you have 20 boys or 20 children, and they're all happy kids, and you put one more child into that group of children, they'll behave well. And, the same thing happens with the dogs. If you've got 20 dogs, who are all happy, and confident, and playful, and good with each other, and good with humans, then generally, the other dogs will catch on, and start trusting. Because they can see how the others are behaving, and that is why it's so powerful to have these dogs in groups together, because they all learn how to be good, friendly, with humans and each other, so.

Nathalie:

Yeah, in general.

Doggy Dan:

In general, yeah. I love it.

Nathalie:

You've always got a few rebels.

Doggy Dan:

Oh yeah, that's where the learning comes in, yeah. Absolutely.

Nathalie:

[00:28:00]

Yeah, so there are some dogs that still need a bit of training. Which, once again, we don't have much experience in. But, we're managing, we're managing okay. But there's a few local trainers that have come to visit us, and share their knowledge.

Doggy Dan:

Nathalie, there's a really, really good online training program that I know of.

Nathalie:

Yeah, okay.

Doggy Dan:

Called theonlinedogtrainer.com.

Nathalie:

Exactly. That's where we've gotten our best tips, really.

Doggy Dan:

Oh, is that right?

Nathalie:

Yeah.

Doggy Dan:

That's cool. Sorry, I had to plug it there.

Nathalie:

Of course.

Doggy Dan:

[00:28:30]

[00:29:00]

So, I'm always interested in this with people who've followed their dream, followed their passion. Who inspired you in life, in general, and who inspired you to do this line of work? Now, I know I haven't primed ... Yeah, wow, I didn't prime you for these questions, so, Nathalie is thinking on her feet here. But, there's no wrong answer. It's like, I don't know, was is Winston Churchill? Or was it ... I know it wasn't Winston Churchill, but it could be anybody. Was it ... I'm trying to think of the lady who worked with the monkeys. What was the lady called, who worked with the monkeys?

Nathalie:

Oh, Jane, Jane Goodall. Yeah.

Doggy Dan:

Jane. Jane Goodall, Jane Goodall. Who's inspired you in your life?

Nathalie:

Not really, to be honest, there's not been a key person that has inspired me to do what I'm doing right now.

Doggy Dan:

No.

Nathalie:

[00:29:30]

I became vegan like five years ago, so my love of animals has just continuously been growing over the years.

Doggy Dan:

Got you, yeah.

Nathalie:

[00:30:00]

I got totally distracted by life, leading up to this point in my life. And just doing different things, chasing different dreams that I thought was going to bring me happiness. And, it's only since I've been here, and I've been soul-searching and thinking, "Okay, what could I see myself doing for the rest of my life? Truly, truly, truly. Without being unhappy, without feeling unsatisfied, unfulfilled." And it was working with dogs.

Doggy Dan:

Yeah.

Nathalie:

Yeah, it was working with dogs.

Doggy Dan:

[00:30:30]

Yeah. I hear you. So, in terms of that search for happiness, and that search for fulfilling your dreams in life, is there any kind of spiritual, or religious, or books, or people ... I guess, I'm coming from a place of, for people who are still on that journey. Who motivated ... Is there anybody you've seen, living their dream? Or ...

Nathalie:

There was a lady who opened a sanctuary in Costa Rica, I'm sure-

Doggy Dan:

Ah, yes, yes.

Nathalie:

I'm sure the dog lovers out there have seen, or heard of Territorio de Zaguates?

Doggy Dan:

Yes.

Nathalie:

[00:31:00]

And, when I saw the videos there, this was during my whole quest to open the sanctuary, and I was doing some research. I was inspired by what she created, definitely. Because it just seemed like a paradise for dogs, really.

Doggy Dan:

Yes.

Nathalie:

[00:31:30]

[00:32:00]

Just so much land. She's got 400 acres, I think, so much more than what we have. And she's got more than a 1,000 dogs, but ... So, that was, kind of, the inspiration behind creating a cage-free, no-kill sanctuary here. No-one else has done that here. So yes, she definitely inspired me. But after seeing the realities of keeping that many dogs, and seeing more videos that they posted of ... They're finding it really difficult to look after all these dogs really well. My dream tweaked a little bit, because I didn't want to take in thousands, and thousands of dogs, unless I could financially, emotionally, even spiritually, look after these animals, and give them a really, really good life.

So yeah. Lya, her name is Lya Battle, I think. She definitely inspired me, on this journey, to open Happy Tails.

Doggy Dan:

Awesome.

Nathalie:

Yeah.

Doggy Dan:

[00:32:30]

Yeah. And you know, part of doing this podcast is just to inspire people who are on that journey, and we don't all have to have 70 dogs.

Nathalie:

No.

Doggy Dan:

[00:33:00]

But, I'm coming from a place of, I know how much joy it can bring you, if you're thinking, "I'd love to do something similar." And you're thinking about it. I don't want to make it sound overly easy, but once you understand how to bring peace to a pack, by just being calm, and putting what I call, the dog calming code, in place, which is, the training program that I share with people. You put that in place, you bring the dogs in, you calm them down. These dogs, they do just settle into a pack. And it's the most amazing experience in the world.

So, I guess, I'm hoping, through this podcast, to inspire those of you who maybe do have a bit of money, or you have a bit of land, or you just have a dream, and you want to retire, and you go, "Could I do it?" The answer, I would say is, "Yes." And I want to get your opinion on this. But, I think, so many more people could have a pack, or a group, or set up a small rescue.

Nathalie:

Yeah.

Doggy Dan:

I'm talking five, 10, even 15 dogs, and be like, "I can do this." And you get a couple of other people to help you out. And then, you can ask people to make donations, and sell a dog, if people are looking to adopt a dog. And yeah.

Nathalie:

Yeah, definitely.

Doggy Dan:

What's your take on that?

Nathalie:

[00:34:00]

[00:34:30]

Definitely. I think more people should be doing it. There's so many dogs. So many dogs are euthanized in pounds, every week really, around the world. I'm sure in New Zealand too. And it's tragic. People go and buy all these breed dogs, and then, when it doesn't turn out the way they wanted it to turn out, then they give it to the pound and get another one. So, I think, it would be a beautiful world, one day, if there weren't any killings, any euthanizing of animals. Because then, if we just became more conscious about our consumption, as such, of these poor live beings. All they want to do is have a family, and be loved, and cared for. So, there's definitely room for people to go out there. And, even if you're rescuing 10, that's still a big, big, big thing you're doing.

[00:35:00]

And you're also, not forgetting, you're also raising awareness to the situation. For us, here, one side of Happy Tails, obviously, is focused on the rescues, and giving sanctuary to the lucky ones. But, the other part is also trying to solve the problem here. So that's the big, big part that's taking up a lot of our time now.

Doggy Dan:

Yeah.

Nathalie:

[00:35:30]

[00:36:00]

So, we have to educate the young kids. So, we're trying to get into schools, and speak to them, teach them about animal welfare, about how to look after a dog, the basics. So that they can go back home and tell their parents, "No, it's not okay to keep our dog chained up all day, in the back yard. It's not cool." So, we're trying, at grass roots level really, to make a change in that domain. Also, here there's laws, there's an animal welfare act that exists here, but is not enforced by anyone. So, people can continue doing their animal cruelty, guilt-free, with no repercussions really. So, we want to try and get government to update their animal welfare laws, and enforce fines, and some regulations. Update the regulations.

Doggy Dan:

Lovely.

Nathalie:

So, there's another aspect to this whole rescue game. So ...

Doggy Dan:

Working at multiple levels.

Nathalie:

[00:36:30]

Yeah, exactly. And, it's about, one day, hopefully not having this sanctuary because all the animals have a home, and everyone's happy, and all the animals are being respected, and the dogs are being treated well. That would be, as much as I love my sanctuary, that is the goal. That would be the end goal, really.

Doggy Dan:

[00:37:00]

Beautiful. Tell me, you mentioned before you're looking for volunteers, you could always do with more helpers. In terms of financial donations, obviously, from your website, people can give a bit of money. How much money are you ... I'm always curious, what does it cost per dog? To keep a dog alive out there. What is it costing you guys? I mean, 10 dogs, or one dog, is it ...

Nathalie:

Well, well ...

Doggy Dan:

What I'm trying to say is, people's donations make a big impact, doesn't it?

Nathalie:

Whatever it is, little bit, or a lot, it does make a big difference for us. So, for us to look after one dog per month, it's a 1,000 Rupees. So, I'm not too sure how that translates into New Zealand Dollars?

Doggy Dan:

What about British Pounds, or American Dollars? Is it ...

Nathalie:

Wait a sec, I'll let you know.

Doggy Dan:

Where I'm coming from is, I'd love to say, "For so much money, you're almost sponsoring a dog, you're not sponsoring ..." You know what I mean?

Nathalie:

Yeah. For sure. So, a 1,000 Rupees, is 19 Pounds.

Doggy Dan:

19 Pounds. What's that in American Dollars? I'm trying to think off the top of my head here.

Nathalie:

So, a 1,000 Rupees, per month, per adult dog, that's how much we've estimated the care, equals to 19 Pounds, British Pounds. So, in US Dollars, that's US$24.

Doggy Dan:

There you go, for US$24 a month. Feed the little doggies.

Nathalie:

Yeah, that keeps our dogs healthy, well fed, and that includes whatever miscellaneous vet care bills we might have too.

Doggy Dan:

And you're always looking for more fencing, and expanding, because the more you can expand, the more dogs you can have, at the end of the day. But, the fencing costs quite a bit, I guess.

Nathalie:

[00:39:00]

Yeah. All the work that we're doing. I mean, when we first moved in, it was just literally, a shell. A small outbuilding, there was nothing there. So, we've really expanded.

Doggy Dan:

We must put the photos. Please send that photo through, I'll send the photo that you sent me when you were starting up. I remember smiling, it was like, "Ah, look at that, they're building a concrete block, in the middle of a field." I so remember the photo you sent through. You'd built this block, and it was in the middle of the field, when you were starting up. And it was like, you started from nothing, hey?

[00:39:30]

Nathalie:

Yeah, yeah. We started from nothing. And, we had the vision of it being quite small, to start off, because it was supposed to be a temporary enclosure, the first one that we opened. And then, we were going to move to another piece of land that the lady had donated.

Doggy Dan:

Yeah.

Nathalie:

But, we've settled in where we are now, and she's let us expand where we are, so ...

Doggy Dan:

Awesome.

Nathalie:

[00:40:00]

She's amazing. She loves dogs, obviously, and supports our cause, and is giving us whatever it is that we need, to be able to rescue more dogs.

Doggy Dan:

Awesome.

Nathalie:

Yeah.

Doggy Dan:

It has been so fun and, I think, everybody's probably wanting to set up their own rescue now, and get as many dogs as they can on their land.

Nathalie:

Good.

Doggy Dan:

If people are feeling that, then we've done our jobs. Now the other thing, of course, people are hopefully, thinking, "Well, what can I do? How can I help?" So the website, the best place for them to go, do you want to spell it out? The ...

Nathalie:

Yup. So, it's happytailssanctuary.com.

Doggy Dan:

Yup.

Nathalie:

And there's a PayPal link on there, there's a link that says, "I want to donate".

Doggy Dan:

Lovely.

Nathalie:

[00:41:00]

That goes straight to our PayPal. Or, we're also doing a Crowdfunder page also. So, I'll be posting up the details of that today, and you'll be able to click on that. And that Crowdfunding page is for us to be able to convert a van-

Doggy Dan:

Oh brilliant.

Nathalie:

Into a little mobile clinic. So that we can travel around, and do our sterilization campaigns, island-wide. Yeah.

Doggy Dan:

Awesome.

Nathalie:

Yeah.

Doggy Dan:

And on Facebook? What's the Facebook link? I'll put all these on the page as well, yeah.

Nathalie:

So, the Facebook link is ...

Doggy Dan:

Or, your page. It's Happy Tails Sanctuary is it?

Nathalie:

Yeah. Happy Tails Sanctuary, Mauritius.

Doggy Dan:

[00:41:30]

Lovely. And, if you come to theonlinedogtrainer.com/happytails, you'll find all the links, and a complete transcription of this podcast, and all the other stuff, and I'll put some pictures and videos of what it's like there.

Nathalie:

Great.

Doggy Dan:

And you can see a picture of ... hopefully a picture of Nathalie and David.

Nathalie:

Fantastic! Thank you so much, Dan.

Doggy Dan:

It's been a lot of fun. Lovely to chat to you again. And hopefully, one day, I'll be stood on that land with the dogs, with you, and we'll be smiling and, yeah.

Nathalie:

Can't wait.

Doggy Dan:

Yeah, awesome.

Nathalie:

Cannot wait.

Doggy Dan:

[00:42:00]

Yeah. Good, good, good. Hey you, thank you so much Nat. Love you and leave you, and thanks for tuning in everybody.

Nathalie:

Many thanks.

Doggy Dan:

Yeah, thank you, Nat. Love you lots, love your work, and love what you do. Give my love to the dogs.

Nathalie:

Will do!

Voiceover:

You've been listening to another episode of The Doggy Dan Podcast Show, bringing you one step closer to creating harmony with your dog.

Doggy Dan

Doggy Dan is the founder of The Online Dog Trainer, a wildly successful online training program for dog owners. His goal is to continue to share his unique approach to dog training with like-minded people who wish to make a difference in the world of dogs. His training methods focus on creating and building the connection between dogs and dog owners, and are shared and used around the world.

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