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How dog treats can help earthquake-hit Nepal

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Many Nepalese are still sleeping in cars or tents after their homes were destroyed by a violent earthquake in April.

Tania Stafford used to make dog treats for fun, now she’s using them to rebuild earthquake-torn Nepal.

Violent tremors killed 9,000 people in the region in April, and left many more without shelter and food. According to the United Nations, roughly 2.8 million people are still in need of urgent help.

“I’ve been lucky enough to visit Nepal about six times,” said Ms Stafford. “I have many dear friends there. Many homes are unstable and people are sleeping in cars or tents. It will take decades for the country to come back to what it is now.”

She is now selling batches of the dog treats she normally cooks up for her terrier Maili to raise money for Nepal Green Tara Foundation, a charity that is helping earthquake victims. “It is run by my friend Nima Sherpa,” said the 57-year-old.

“I was introduced to her by a friend in Nepal, and we trekked together. Since the earthquake, her foundation has done phenomenal work with a lot of financial assistance from the outside.”

After the earthquake first hit, Nepal Green Tara delivered rice and the basics to people in need. Because Nepal is very mountainous some villages could not be reached by road, and emergency supplies had to be carried in on foot.

As the months passed the victims’ needs changed.

“Nima had this great idea to create care packages for women that included soap, a comb and cloth for clothing,” said Ms Stafford, who works in the Government Planning Department.

“Now they are delivering building materials such as galvanised aluminium tin, because now is the monsoon season until September and a lot of people still aren’t under cover.”

Ms Stafford said she was deeply inspired by the foundation’s efforts and wanted to do something to help.

She and several other Bermudians have already helped a badly hit Nepalese village. They raised $6,000 through a special dinner and silent auction.

“Now I want to help the Nepal Green Tara Foundation,” she said. “I got the idea for the dog treat fundraiser, partly from nutritionist Catherine Burns’s daughter Chloe. She sold healthy snacks to raise money for the SPCA. I participated in that, and I thought it was brilliant.”

She has already made about $100 by selling dog treats.

“I originally started making them because I was bored in the winter,” said Ms Stafford. “I just thought, ‘Why am I buying these treats that are filled with the chemicals? There has to be a way to make them’. I discovered a good and easy recipe on the internet, and I have been making them for Maili ever since. They are made with human-grade ingredients including whole wheat flour, oats, an egg, a bit of milk and peanut butter.”

She tried making treats for her two cats but found them to be tough customers and gave up.

“I will make a tray of 28 treats in different sizes for a $20 donation,” she said. “All of the money will be donated. I am covering the costs of ingredients as my part. I am asking that people post pictures on Facebook of their dogs enjoying the treats.”

She had no idea how much she might raise.

“It doesn’t really matter,” she said. “Every little bit helps, and I just wanted to give back to the country that has inspired me so much.”

• For more information e-mail tstafford@northrock.bm or call 297-1297. Learn more about Nepal Green Tara Foundation here: www.nepalgreentara.org.

Tania Stafford's terrier, Maili is sharing his homemade dog treats to help earthquake victims in Nepal.
April's violent earthquake in Nepal caused widespread death and destruction.
Tania Stafford is selling homemade dog treats to raise money for earthquake victims in Nepal.