Life is tough and bumpy for Sri Lanka’s more than one million street dogs, and Embark, a humane group founded in 2007 by Otara Gunawardene – founder and CEO of Odel (Sri Lanka’s premier department store) and humanist activist – is working to make this happen to change. The group is funded primarily through the sale of Embark branded jewelry and clothing, colorful bracelets, and t-shirts for men, women, and kids with cool, dog-positive, provocative graphics designed to change the public’s attitudes towards dogs. T-shirt slogans like “Real Dogs Bark Loud,” “I’m So Street,” “Who’s Your Doggie?”, “I Love You but I Love My Dog More,” and “Wag Harder” are sure to get a lot of attention pull here too.
From its base in Colombo, the island nation’s largest city, Embark tackles the problem on several fronts: sponsoring free spay / neuter and vaccination clinics; Promoting and sponsoring adoptions; Treatment of injured and seriously ill dogs; and, especially for long-term improvement, the implementation of education and awareness programs. In collaboration with the Blue Paw Trust and the Maharagama Medical Officer of Health, Embark is also involved in the ambitious Humane Dog Population and Rabies Management project, which aims to create a rabies-free environment. The task is vital as rabies continues to threaten both animals and humans in many countries, including Sri Lanka (World Rabies Day is September 28; learn more here: worldrabiesday.org).