WHO WE ARE
We are 3 expats living in Harbin, North-East China, working full-time as teachers. Hayley, from Ireland, Aimee, from Australia, and Emily, from England. We started rescuing animals together in the summer of 2016 in our free time, after seeing the vast amount of animals needing help in Harbin, and China as a whole.
When we started, we took in a handful of dogs from a local slaughterhouse and were petrified. We learnt as we went, and with each case came new experience. Our numbers quickly increased, as the vast amount of dogs (and cats) in need came apparent, and word spread of what we were doing. Those first 5 rescues quickly turned into over 400 in our first year and a half of rescuing.
It also quickly became clear to us that this is what we want to do long term, as a team. This year we are pushing to achieve more than we ever have before. Humans are behind what horrors these animals suffer, it is only right that humans rectify it and be their voice to stop it happening again.
Together the three of us founded HarbinSHS, and we are currently bringing the dream of the Harbin Safehouse to life.
Aimee comes from Australia and has been in Harbin since 2009. She works in an Education Group in Harbin. She spends a lot of her thinking up believable excuses to leave the office to be with dogs. She has a plan to slowly replace all the teachers with dogs because their easier to train and manage, and she thinks it would make meetings a whole lot more entertaining. She has two overgrown lapdogs at home; Marlo the introspective golden retriever and Chance the overprotective golden-husky with monkey hands instead of paws and his IQ surpasses hers. Aimee is also a mixture of her animals, Chance’s enthusiasm to do everything and to do it RIGHT NOW, and then when she gets everyone excited, throws in a bit of Debbie-downer Marlo to remind everyone of all the obstacles we need to cross to get there.
Hayley is from Ireland and has been in Harbin since 2010. When she’s not overseeing our Instagram and WeChat accounts, she works as an English teacher for teens and young adults. She has a petting zoo at home: 2 cats (Trinity a 3 legged rescue and Gaffy who has about as many teeth as she does sense.) At least 3 dogs: Suzer the Samoyed, Sophia the princess poodle (she’s still trying to master walking in a line instead of circles) and PenPen the blind, deaf chihuahua (but we think she’s just faking it to avoid Hayley). And a rabbit, who Hayley claims she rescued from her community, but we think she stole off a neighborhood kid. If we were to compare Hayley to her pets, we’d say she’s a mixture of Suzer, who has a lot of important things to share, loudly and PenPen, in a constant state of confusion, never sure what date it is or what your name is (can’t remember my name, but will remember the exact dates of a dogs rescue and vaccinations).
Emily first moved to Harbin from England in 2014. When she’s not updating Facebook or organizing our flight volunteers flights, dogs and details, works teaching English to younger children. In her free time, she likes to try and kill her partner, who although is outspoken about animal welfare and protection, is forced to do so from a distance as he’s highly allergic to animals and as a result of the rescue, he’s allergic to Emily as well. In fact, she’s already hospitalized him twice - we’re busily working towards a third time. Emily is both nocturnal and organized. Our game plan is, just leave anything that needs to be done until after we go to sleep and in the morning we wake up and it’s been done. Emily and her dog, Bambi the poodle have a lot in common; long legs, big eyes and a little bit of a stalker.