This Buddhist Drent takes care of animals and people in a goose paradise

The wind is light in the Drenthe. From Dalin Village, Tibetan Buddhist prayers flutter around the world. They are written in Sanskrit on colored flags hanging from a pole over a large meadow. He’s busy under those flags: over a hundred geese, chickens, ducks, and one swan across the lawn. They yawn, coo, whoop. A little later, the peacock calls out. ahaaaaa! ahaaaaa!

The bird choir looks satisfied. Welcome to Acre’s geese paradise.

“Look, the ones over there, half a foot apart, are Vera,” says Terezin Hoff, 39, founder of the Buddhist Animal Shelter. Vera, a large white domestic goose, looks around for a moment. She is already a little limp. “And that’s there,” Terezin points out again, “that’s Jupiter, he had a broken leg. It sounds painful, but it doesn’t bother him. It flies a little more, look, yeah, here it is.” And Jupiter flies through the air, only to plummet four meters away. “Sometimes he flies from this shelter to the city park in Coevorden, five kilometers away. He happily flies back and forth. Eighty times a year we receive a phone call: ‘Jupiter is here again.'”

Remarkable appearance

Trizin walks with great strides across the meadow, subtly shrugging off bird droppings, and his dark red robe moves gracefully with it. Trizin is a standout: his long dark brown hair is tied at the back in a low ponytail, and he wears an embroidered necklace, large silver bracelets, and rings, and equally large rings, his latest acquisition being a sapphire blue star, “Look,” he says, and His iPhone light is shining on him: “When it lights up, you see a star.”

Trizin has been running things here for years. Over sixteen years ago, he founded Ganzenparadijs in Acre, which now consists of three reception centers in the east of the country. He also lives at this receiving address. “This is a place any living creature that needs help can go. Always.”

He was born in a nearby town, Cofforden, and was 7 years old when he first dived into the water for a wounded goose. called animal control. “Then something happened that I hadn’t seen before,” Terezin says.

He places his hand over his heart for a moment, his chain softly ringing. from:

“The male geese flew in the animal ambulance. All the way to the end of the park. It affected me so much.” Terezin was also there when the goose, which he named Acre, was brought back into her flock a few weeks later. The animals – the male Acre in the foreground – rushed towards her, shrieked loudly. It’s like they say, “We miss you.” “We always think animals can’t talk, but they do. We just need to learn to understand their language.”

From that moment on, Trizin visited the flock: for hours he sat in the garden, every day, looking at those animals, listening – gakgakgakgak, sometimes imitating the voice in the frightening truth when he now walks in the meadow of birds. Acre turned 32 years old, and died in 2006, in old age. “We had to put them to sleep and put them back in the garden for another day. The geese woke up there. Not many people know, but the geese are monogamous and very attached to each other. Sometimes I take in the geese they have lost their partner, and I hear them screaming so hard from my bed. It goes on all night.”

live in shelter

Trizin, partner Eric, and ex-husband Edwin (“we’ll all walk together in good harmony”) live in the shelter they run together: the front of the house is their home, the back is the foundation. It is in the middle of nowhere. In the garden there is an enormous and shining Buddha. There are a few farms on the left and right, the rest is meadows, ditches, trees, lots of trees and a paved country road where cars can’t overtake each other because it’s too narrow.

In 2006, Trizin began tending geese in a farmer’s pen after seeing while working in the animal ambulance how our community had a love-hate relationship with geese. There are municipalities that like to deploy troops in residential areas for the pleasure and life, or in abandoned industrial areas, because they can be very vigilant.

But there are also municipalities – Trizin did not give names – where whole flocks of geese are gassed or poachers are allowed to kill them. “It makes me sad,” he says. “Really sad. People feel superior to animals. Like they are more. To me every life, be it an ant or a human, is worth the same.”

Chicken fillet sandwich

Soon the farmhouse became very small, and Trizin moved to a new house, grew out of it, and has lived here in Dalen since 2012. It is four hectares, he says – “Do you want tea, I have figs too, do you want figs? Dates? We eat And we’re vegan here. I always say to anyone who wants to work here, ‘We’re not going to save a neglected chicken and then eat a chicken breast sandwich here on break’.

Sitting in a winter garden made mainly of wood, in the corner a stone Buddha image, smelling of incense, there are Christmas lights and wreaths. Although there is a candle burning during the day. The roof is made of corrugated iron, it begins to spray softly, it looks warm, there is a cat roaming, this is a mouse. “And we have seventy more here.”

Because it’s not just more geese being taken care of here. become a cat room your moment Renovated, there will be benches, scratching posts, rugs, feeders, toys, cat running, and underfloor heating. Animals, which can no longer be placed in shelters, are now temporarily housed in a large barn, and Trizin has put blankets there to keep warm. It sure smells like a cat.

biting dog

There are also two outdoor facilities where the dogs live, in one part of the yard a group of mainly Spanish mountain dogs live, here and there ducks, goose or chickens roam; All is well. Nobody is eaten. On the other hand, three dogs live separate from the rest, the gate is locked, and only Trizin (and dares) is allowed in.

“They bite. Guaranteed.” But Terezin does not frighten them. “I might look peaceful, in that red robe and all, but if I really had to… put that dog on his back and bite him in the lip. I told him in his language; I’m the boss. We’ve been best friends ever since.”

He often refers to the cats and dogs he receives here as “exhausted animals.” It is brutal, unpredictable, and irreplaceable. “We sterilize or neuter them so we don’t have any children here, and then they stay here for the rest of their lives.” Sometimes cats can still be social – volunteers do their best. They can then eventually return to the shelter. “But putting animals to sleep for non-medical reasons? Never.”

Help me

Who are also welcome: people. There is a caravan on the property where a woman lives – she was looking for a nice place to live and work and has been here for four years now. There are dozens of volunteers walking around, from people who “absolutely love” working with animals, to interns, to students who don’t know what to do with their lives, to people who panicked at the gate in the middle of the night rumbling: “I don’t like it anymore, help me.”

“People come to rest here,” Terezin says. Recently, for fun, a friend said to him, “When I’m nervous, sit me on a chair in the bird meadow, and come pick me up at the end of the day.” Maybe the trees, maybe the sounds of birds, maybe the fresh air, maybe the fun: lunch and dinner shared with all the volunteers.

The shelters are partly funded by donations and gifts, but mostly by income from the Hofganzen Ganzenbescherming Nederland, owned by Trizin and his partner. They use this to advise municipalities on how to treat animals. Recently, he had to go to Utrecht, to hunt chickens in the garden that, according to residents, caused inconvenience.

The shelter has a quarantine area for animals captured by the animal shelter, for example, but also brooders and warming boxes for young birds – there are now a few starlings in them, the back of their throats are shown in yellow-orange beaks wide open. hunger.

blue uniform

Another room is the treatment room, where veterinarians can work. The foundation also has – says Terezin with a sense of pride – its own foundation for animal ambulances. He’s grinning. “You don’t know me in a blue outfit like that, without that red robe.”

Since 2009, Trizin calls himself a Buddhist, every morning he meditates from 4 a.m. to 8 a.m. Then it’s time to feed. For me and for the animals. For him, Buddhism is the equivalent of “the capitalism, materialism and selfishness that burden our country.” “People live too much for themselves. You don’t listen to others, you don’t listen to animals, you don’t appreciate nature enough.”

Trizin believes in reincarnation. “As a three-year-old, I was already walking around with a red sheet around my shoulder, and I made a short bow with my flat hands together. I must have taken this from my previous life.”

Sorrow

It also lets Trizin know that the animals that die in his shelter (because that happens too), die physically, but their souls will live on. “But I also feel sad when an animal dies, like one of the chicks found lifeless under a bush this morning, yeah, it touches me deeply. When I can’t cry for an animal, I stop right away.”

Trizin lives for others, his phone works every hour of the day, but he knows very well what he wants. He often finds himself in conflict with municipal and government employees who want to kill geese – he once gathered an entire herd in the Randstad, 150 geese, who were in danger of being killed by nuisance. Within three hours of his call, dozens of volunteers showed up with all the cars and trailers they could find. “We don’t have animals to kill,” Terezin told the city official. “Do you understand, sir?”

“I’m always very polite, but I’m not one to let animals kill or humiliate themselves. Because I look too, huh: Yeah, I know I look amazing, I just shop in these clothes. If someone says, ‘You look so weird,’ then I come back with a comment, something like: “I take that as a compliment, thank you.”

Always stay alert. This, Trizin thinks, is something of a Drent. “People also sometimes ask me, when they tour goose down, ‘Oh my God, that garden looks so beautiful, did you do that with landscaping?’ Then I always say: “No, I did it on the KWWW principle. See what it will be. We’re doing serious things here, but we can also laugh, right.”

geese run away

It is also visible in the foundation square. Yes, it is a charity, but it is also a business that must be run. Speaking of which: “I must go out for a moment, someone has left the gate open, and now the geese are walking in the meadow where they are not allowed to walk: each flock has its living place.”

Trizin instructs some volunteers – ‘You’re on the left, you’re on the right, you stand there, yeah, walk, walk, no, stop, stand still, yeah. Run now!’ It’s like this with the geese: If one goes, the rest also goes. “But then one has to go.”

Great white takes the lead. The rest follows, yawning, looking a bit panicked, they may feel a little rushed, but that must take some time, or else they won’t listen. “They’re stubborn sometimes, you know.”

It took a while, but now they were walking one by one in the right meadow, again towards the Tibetan flags. Geese regroup. The flags are still flying.

Sunday interview

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