February, 11, 2019
Embark - Sri Lanka’s fashion brand and community animal welfare program, concluded another busy year in 2018, having provided medical care for over 10,000 dogs through vaccinations and sterilizations. For the past 11 years Embark has worked tirelessly to improve the lives of Sri Lanka’s street dogs.
Working with veterinary partners as well as through Embark’s own vaccination and treatment clinic, 401 dogs, suffering from cancers, skin diseases, wounds and injuries caused by vehicles, were rescued and hospitalized. 5869 treatments were carried out at the organization’s clinic, and via many mobile treatment programs carried out in several areas all over the island to support local communities. In addition to the community street dogs, many pets were provided with free medical care as large numbers of people cannot afford to provide them with the veterinary care they need.
Embark conducted a total of 6597 vaccinations and 2260 sterilizations in 2018. The organization sees vaccination and sterilization as humane and sustainable methods of preventing the spread of diseases such as rabies, parvo and distemper, as well as being the best way to manage the street dog population.
A program was launched in Anuradhapura last year in partnership with the Brigitte Bardot Foundation in Paris to sterilize and vaccinate a 1,000 dogs.
A total of 943 puppies and adult dogs found homes and families via the 38 Adoption Days conducted by Embark throughout 2018. Embark also partnered with schools such as Lyceum, ICBT Campus, Gateway College, American College of Higher Education and other organizations. Through its unique Adoption programs, Embark seeks to provide homeless dogs with a chance to have a happy life far away from the misfortunes of the streets. Adoption is also the best means to stand against pet shops, puppy mills and factory-style breeding, which regularly place profit before animal welfare and often leads to horrendous consequences for the animals involved.
Embark’s compassionate fosters also play a significant role in improving the well-being of rescued canines by opening their homes and taking care of the dogs until permanent homes are found. Embark is fortunate to have the support of a large number of long-term and short-term fosters.
Awareness programs are yet another medium used by the organization to promote kindness and compassion towards the helpless and voiceless street dog population of Sri Lanka. With a number of educational programs, which were conducted both independently and in partnership with leading schools, Embark has ensured a better future for both the next generation as well as the beautiful street dogs of Sri Lanka.
None of Embark’s worthy deeds would be possible without the dedication of the organization’s loyal volunteers. Embark has over 1,000 volunteers who contribute to the success of many activities and programs conducted by the organization. As a means of honoring the great work and commitment of its volunteers, Embark introduced the first ever Volunteer Awards, which were held in December of last year. Embark also conducted a three week educational and awareness program for 21 AISEC International Volunteers which included; visiting the hospital to care for the sick and injured dogs, working with the Embark team at the weekly clinic and visiting the homes of adopted dogs to follow up on their well-being.
The year 2018 also marked the opening of two new stores at the Marino Mall in Colombo and the Kandy Department Store in Nugegoda. The stores sell pooch-inspired clothing and merchandise that is used to fund Embark’s extensive welfare work. By blending fashion and passion, Embark introduces Sri Lanka to a ‘pashionable’ lifestyle, where kindness and compassion towards street dogs are a way of life.
Embark was founded in 2007, when entrepreneur Otara Gunewardene together with her team designed and produced six t-shirts with fun, bold, doggy-themed slogans – a characteristic that is still very much a trademark of the brand. The brand has found its way into hearts and homes in just eleven years, while future plans to grow the Embark brand go hand in hand with the hope of making a difference in the lives of more street dogs and the communities. Since its inception, Embark has changed the lives of more than 90,000 street dogs, positively altered perceptions of street dogs and helped build communities that can co-exist with animals. Embark is deeply appreciative of the rescuers, foster families, veterinarians, volunteers and caring citizens who come forward and work tirelessly to give these animals a better life in their home, Sri Lanka.