This month, Darwin Animal Doctors shines our spotlight on an amazing supporter and all around animal protector. Sarah Darling is a London-raised artist who made her home in Galapagos 25 years ago. Sarah is known throughout the Galapagos Islands for her kind-hearted nature, her amazing art, and for her house of rescued street cats. Sarah lives in a living work of art – a mosaic filled house with 18 rescued street cats and her three rescued street dogs. During that time, Sarah has lived by a simple motto: the best thing you can do in life is to help an animal.
Sarah believes in leading by example. She was probably the first person to ever walk a dog on a leash in Puerto Ayora, the main town in the Galapagos Islands and she has rescued many cats during the past 25 years. Since Darwin Animal Doctors open its clinic and began treating animals in the Galapagos, Sarah has been a strong ally and supporter.
The real start of Sarah’s Galapagos rescue journey was Neptune, her first rescued dog. A friend found him wandering in the in the main square of Bella Vista, a town in the highlands of Santa Cruz. He was not much more than skin and bone and looked like the walking dead. In 2003, prior to the arrival of Darwin Animal Doctors, the sight of a starving, skinny street dog searching for food scraps was not uncommon on the four human-inhabited islands in the Galapagos. Sarah recounts seeing a huge number of street dogs on Santa Cruz Islands during this time, none of whom seemed to have a home or caregiver.
Lucky for Neptune, Sarah and her friend pleaded with the government veterinarian to help save Neptune’s life. The compassionate vet worked alongside Sarah and her friend to save Neptune. For the first month, the poor pup was ill. With Sarah’s love, attention, and care, Neptune made a full recovery. Sarah began to walk him on a leash throughout Puerto Ayora. This leading by example and showing Neptune’s recovery was a clear demonstration of what love and care can do to a dog or cat.
Since Neptune’s rescue and successful recovery, Sarah has opened her home to many other animals in need of help and a home. When Darwin Animal Doctors opened their doors in 2010, many cats were rescued from the streets or left at the clinic with no place for them to go. Thankfully for these cats, Sarah came to their aid and began adopting them. Sarah now has 18 cats, in perfect health who live in harmony in Sarah’s incredible home. Sarah has built them a protected, art filled outdoor play area, multiple different mosaic perches and many comfortable beds. Sarah’s three dogs are equally spoiled and can often be seen walking through town with Sarah or sitting with her in her art gallery “Angelique Art Gallery” in the centre of Puerto Ayora.
Not only has Sarah been a lifesaver to many animals and an advocate for their proper care and treatment, she is an incredible supporter of Darwin Animal Doctors. Sarah is one of the main organisers of the annual Hash House Harriers run, an annual fun run through town to raise money and awareness for Darwin Animal Doctors. Sarah is also known to host the clinic volunteers. And she dedicated her time and effort to creating the beautiful Darwin Animal Doctors mosaic and logo that now decorates the clinic’s entrance.
Sarah recalls seeing a huge change in the population over the last seven years. Since the introduction of Darwin Animal Doctor’s humane education programs and having a fulltime vet in the Darwin Animal Doctors’ clinic, the human residents have come to understanding the need to sterilize cats and dogs and the importance of proper care for their animals. The young people are a big part of these positive changes. Young people are spreading the message of proper care and treatment of cats and dogs and more and more children bring cats and dogs found on the street into the DAD clinic.
A huge thank you Sarah, for all the animals you have gifted with a beautiful life, for all the times you have supported the Darwin Animal Doctors clinic, and for spreading your kindness and caring attitude to animals worldwide through your beautiful art.
If you are ever in Puerto Ayora, we encourage you to drop by Sarah’s art gallery to drop in and say hi, and to check out her wonderful art – where you will likely see Sarah’s favorite saying hidden in amongst the art: “Animals are little angels sent to teach us to love”.