Nineteen years ago, on a remote mountainside on the Mediterranean island of Pantelleria, two tiny puppies were dying. Covered in ticks, desperately thirsty and starving, the puppies waited for death.
Brian and Gloria Davies, Network for Animals’ founders, just happened to be hiking to the mountain top and spotted them huddled in the bushes. Brian and Gloria acted immediately, determined to save the puppies’ lives. They were helped by Dr. Giuseppe Clesi, a government vet who, although it was not his job, fought a fierce battle to give the puppies a chance of life. It was a miracle that the puppies survived but they lived. Renamed Taffy and Amber, Brian and Gloria painstakingly nursed them back to health and then adopted them.
No one ever discovered how the puppies came to be abandoned in such a remote spot, but Taffy and Amber had 15 years of happiness with the Davies’ before dying of natural causes within a few months of each other.
Brian, now 83, is a towering figure in animal welfare, whose life has been one long crusade to give animals around the world better lives. Brian’s achievements are too many to recount here, but he will always be remembered for his fight against the Canadian seal hunt, his contribution to ending hunting with hounds in the UK, the pivotal role he played in ending elephant culling in South Africa and his work to help dogs in distress all over the world.
This May, the 6 000 people who live on Pantelleria recognised Brian and Gloria’s dedication to animals and particularly their rescue of Taffy and Amber, by installing a commemorative plaque on the spot the puppies were found all those years ago.
The plaque was unveiled by Brian and Gloria in a small ceremony on the misty mountain. “We are deeply honoured that the mayor permitted the plaque to be placed where it is,” said Gloria Davies. “I like to think that for many years to come, hikers will stop at the plaque and read our story. I’d like them all to know that Taffy and Amber brought us so much joy, the joy that only the love of two wonderful dogs can bring.”
Needless to say, Brian and Gloria’s commitment to animals is unwavering. On their visit to Pantelleria to unveil the plaque, they donated €2 000.00 ($2 350.00) to the local animal shelter.