Dogs can’t applaud the people who care for them.
But instead, a former Tube boss who dealt with the aftermath of the 2005 terror attacks and then set up a charity to look after ill mutts, has got the next best thing – a British Empire Medal in the New Year’s Honours.
Peckham born and raised Sam Green first went to Sri Lanka in 2006 but decided to stay in 2013 to care for frail dogs after literally hearing the call of the wild.
The 48-year-old has been running a home for them ever since – but was shocked to hear she had won the honour.
Sam, pictured, said: “I was totally and utterly gobsmacked, and it took a few days to really sink in.
“I am truly honoured and humbled to receive recognition for the work I do as part of a wider team who are as passionate about animal welfare as I am.
“It’s a brilliant, uplifting start to 2021, especially after the numerous challenges of the past few years.”
Sam was born in Dulwich Hospital, and went to school at St George’s Primary School and then Walworth Secondary School. She lived on The Gloucester Grove Estate and then the Camden Estate.
She started her working life in 1988 aged 16 as an apprentice with London Underground, and built a career in engineering. Following the 7/7 terrorist attack on the Underground on July 7, 2005, Sam led a team of specialist engineers supporting the police as they worked in the Tube network after the blasts.
She had to put aside her own feelings and enter the tunnels each day to work in harrowing conditions.
Sam found it hard to return to regular work, still haunted by the sights they found in the tunnels.
Less than a year later, she was made redundant from the only job she had ever had, amid a round of budget cuts.
Unemployed and severed from the only life she had ever known, Sam decided to take some time to heal through travel.
She was in Sri Lanka in September 2006 – where locals were still reeling from the 2004 tsunami and in the grip of a civil war.
Sam noticed the local dogs were suffering from parasites and asked her husband Mark to send out some medication to treat them.
She was visiting a monastery when she spotted a litter of puppies suffering from fleas and worms.
When she returned with the treatment, a monk asked her to go and see another dog, riddled with mange, almost bald and with a broken leg. The monk pleaded: “You can make her better?”
She agreed and this pivotal moment directly led to the creation of Dogstar Foundation. Sam made use of her own experiences of trauma to help animals and people – healing, feeding, educating and sustaining both and their communities.
She and Mark moved to Sri Lanka in 2013 to build Dogstar Foundation and a sterilisation programme for street and owned dogs and cats.
Sri Lanka suffered a series of terrorist attacks in April 2019 and then had to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic.
But the Dogstar Foundation kept going and has now sterilised more than 49,0000 dogs and cats, has administered more than 67,000 rabies vaccinations and treated hundreds of dogs for illness and injury. It has also trained local staff to help run the centre. Click here for more information.
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