Wild animals never kill for sport. Man is the only one to whom the torture and death of his fellow creatures is amusing in itself.-- James A. Froude (1818-1894)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Reve .. A farewell

Although I did not know Reve personally as I only sometimes visit SPCA but news of her death in a sad & very mysterious way and the stories of her work in animal rescue, care & welfare deeply touched me.

I would like all readers to know this wonderful lady:

Tribute To Reve : I Won't Say Goodbye, My Friend
By Wong Ee Lynn, SPCA Senior Volunteer

Marie Reve Moine, nee Van Renterghem
(28th August 1954 - 2nd July 2010)

Photo courtesy of Marianne Alvisse

"You and I will meet again
When we're least expecting it
One day in some far off place
I will recognise your face
I won't say goodbye my friend
For you and I will meet again."
- Tom Petty, "You and I Will Meet Again".

Death doesn't change relationships, and relationships do not end with death. Reve's untimely demise on 2nd July 2010 does not change the fact that she will always remain on record as one of my best friends. Reve was such a wonderful, giving, charming and selfless person that she changed lives permanently, and always for the better. But Reve was also a passionate, eccentric, outspoken and excitable person -- things always happened to her. She had a strong sense of justice and moral conviction that led her into all sorts of adventures and misadventures.

Reve was a dedicated volunteer and tireless animal welfare campaigner. We first met at the SPCA shelter in 1997. I was a student then, and would take the town bus to the SPCA after classes to spend an hour or two helping out with animal care work. I walked through the SPCA gates one day to find a lady of European descent in the Hospital (which was then in the front section of the shelter, where the Charity Shop is now) handfeeding the puppies mushy food. I asked if I could help her, and she helped me prepare another bowl of food to feed the puppies with. The rest, as they say, is history.

I look back on our 13-14 years of friendship, and I realise that I am blessed to have many fond memories of the time Reve and I spent together. I remember the time she rescued me from the boxer who went berserk and clamped his jaws on my right shoulder. Reve pried the dog's jaws open in spite of the obvious danger, and the dog bit her instead, causing her palm and fingers to bleed.

I remember the birthdays and Christmases we celebrated at the shelter, and the treats and presents we would bring the animals on special occasions. I remember how Reve and I would dash about, soaked to the skin, covering the cages of the animals with plastic or reinforced canvas sheeting each time it rained heavily.

I remember how Reve and I formed an Underground Railroad of sorts for unwanted animals, and would bring home particularly sick and vulnerable animals. I remember how we would rejoice and hug each other each time one of our foster animals were adopted. "It was meant to be, my dear, it was meant to be," Reve would tell me. "The little one, she came to you for a reason."

I remember how Reve would kiss each animal goodnight after we returned them to their enclosures and got ready to lock up for the night. "Goodnight, my darlings", Reve would say. "I pray tomorrow gonna be your lucky day". We started calling it the "Lucky Day Prayer". Sometimes it worked. Sometimes all the animals needed was a little help: a bath, a grooming session, a relocation from the Pounds or Sick Bay to the Front Area, where they would be more likely to catch the attention of visitors.

I remember our final big adventure, when Reve and I climbed up the roof of the Cattery to attempt to rescue a black kitten who was stuck on a beam above the kennels. In the end, it was Muniandy who successfully retrieved the kitten from the beam, but it was Reve who managed to get the kitten adopted the very next day.

Reve was as kind and generous to people as she was to animals. I remember Reve's concern for visitors who had to be consoled after having to give up badly injured strays they found on the road, knowing that the suffering animal would have to be put down. I remember how Reve would go out of her way to help a friend. I remember the late night phone calls I received from Reve to seek legal advice and assistance for friends in trouble.

One of the best things about Reve is that she was always very demonstrative of her love and affection to those around her, human or animal. We knew she loved us, and we weren't self-conscious about letting her know we love her too. I am glad that I had the opportunity to tell Reve, when she was still alive, how much I love her and that I am grateful and proud to have her as one of my best friends.

I remember how Reve would praise and thank bashful young volunteers who helped out at the shelter as part of their school community service programmes. I remember how Reve would throw birthday parties for our general workers and surprise the staff with cakes and flowers on their birthdays.

It is tragic that such a remarkable and beautiful person as Reve was taken from us so violently and so soon. There isn't a day that I do not think of Reve, and wonder if there will ever be a closure to the mystery of her death. My days are dark without her. I am tired of being told to be strong; tired of being told that time heals all wounds. My strength could not bring Reve back. Time could not undo the grave injustice done to a woman who has done so much good and saved so many animal lives. I hope that one day, there will be justice for Reve and peace of mind for her family and friends.

Reve, you will always be remembered and honoured by your friends and all the lives you have touched. You gave new meaning to the words 'dedication' and 'friendship'. The legacy you left is that of love. I know you are not alone now, for you must have been greeted at the Rainbow Bridge by hundreds, if not thousands, of animals who learned of love for the first time from you. Go towards the light now, Reve, for the angels are waiting to receive one of their own.

~ Rest In Peace, dearest Reve. ~

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