Capping off 2012 with IFAW’s Animal Action Award

December 30, 2012

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A few weeks ago, while I was running around at work, one of my vet nurses put a phone call on hold and asked me if it was okay for her to give out my email address to the caller associated with IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare). I wasn’t really familiar with that group and we weren’t sure what it was regarding but I told her it should be fine.

I arrived home pretty late that evening and started going through my emails. My attention gravitated to the IFAW email. I was suddenly struck with curiosity and quickly clicked on it.

As I started to read and understood the impact of the content, I crumbled into an emotional mess and tears instantly trickled down my cheeks. I was flabbergasted to say the least.

This is an excerpt from the email:

“I am writing to you in regard to IFAW’s annual Animal Action awards. Each year IFAW recognizes the work done by outstanding individuals and groups to improve the lives of the animals they love by hosting these special awards. It gives me great pleasure to inform you that you were nominated for IFAW’s Online Animal Action as part of these awards, and that you have won this category!”

I was one of the ten winners that had been chosen from Australia–wide nominations from friends, family and work colleagues of people who do exceptional work to benefit wild or domestic animals.

Here is a picture of all the award recipients:

IFAW Action Awards 2012

I was invited to receive my award officially at Customs House in Sydney only 6 days later. It was pretty short notice and I was petrified I wouldn’t be able to go because of work commitments. Thankfully my bosses were very supportive and gave me a day off to hop on a plane and fly to Sydney in the middle of a very busy schedule.

On the 21st of November 2012, I attended the IFAW Australian Animal Action Award Ceremony and I felt very privileged to be amongst so many people with a great passion for animal welfare.

Isabel McCrea, the director of IFAW Australia, made a terrific opening speech about the event and updated us all about IFAW’s global achievements in animal welfare in 2012 with the aid of images. I was quite impressed with all the work they do and their amazing dedication to promote animal welfare in the field and in the legislation. She then gave each and every IFAW Action Animal Award Winner a great introduction and presented them with their Award and gave them an opportunity to make a speech.

Me proudly posing for the photographer 🙂

IFAW Action Awards 2012

During that time, I was captivated with the achievements of all the fellow award winners and was mostly touched by Daniel & William Clarke. They received an award in the category of young animal welfare campaigners. These two young boys have raised around $650,000 to save the orangutans. They have even co-written ‘Tears in the Jungle’, a book which documents the brothers’ trip to Borneo, with all proceeds going towards saving the orangutans. I was sitting next to their very proud parents and absolutely felt every tear that streamed down their father’s face. He told me that his sons were quite shattered by the tragic passing of Steve Irwin and that inspired them to raise money and awareness about the orangutans  They had told their dad: ‘Now that Steve is gone, who is going to look after the Orangutans?’. I am a huge supporter of these young boys and they gave me a lot to think about. You must check out their blog, Tears in the Jungle and promote their amazing work.

Then my name came up and I sat there listening in awe to the very honorable introduction that Isabel made.

Sydney, Wednesday 21 November, 2012 –

“Dr Rayya T-Malaeb from Victoria, has been recognised for her dedication to animal welfare by being awarded a prestigious IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare) Action Award. Rayya T-Malaeb works at Vets All Natural in Victoria and if treating an assortment of dogs, cats, horses, cows, birds and native wildlife didn’t keep her busy enough, Rayya is now one of Australia’s most prolific bloggers!

Through her blog and Facebook page, Rayya educates and informs her followers and fans on a range of animal welfare issues. She really connects to pet lovers/owners all the while giving tips on how to care for all sorts of animals, optimising the best of caring and responsible vet practice. By maximising social media Rayya has not only become a friend to many, she provides invaluable advice and guidance.

We were first alerted to her online blog and Facebook page by one of our online fans. Now the office is addicted to her stories and surgery updates – we love hearing about how she provides hands on help and assistance to pets and animals who visit the surgery. Rayya really plays a key role in ensuring that the animals in her local community are looked after.”

As I got up to accept my award, I was just full of raw and very deep emotions. I was very moved with Isabel describing my social media work as an outstanding contribution to pets around the world. My opening words were: ‘Wow, oh wow, I’m speechless and believe me I never usually run out of things to say!’. I went on to thank IFAW for this great and very heart-warming event and described my blogging journey. Of course, I couldn’t contain my tears towards the end of my speech.

IFAW awards

IFAW awards

IFAW awards

When the official ceremony finished, the brilliant event didn’t end there. In fact, that was when I finally got the opportunity to mingle with everyone. I couldn’t stop myself from running to Bob Irwin, father of late Steve Irwin, who had also received an award for his lifetime dedication to animals. I had to shake his hand and it felt like such an honor. I again of course couldn’t stop crying while I was talking to Bob as I was quite star-struck! I spoke to people from all walks of life that have been instrumental in their contributions to animal welfare. It truly was one amazing night that I will never forget.

IFAW awards

I flew back to Melbourne the next morning and got into the swing of things. A few days later I was briefly interviewed over the phone by a local journalist about my award. And before I knew it, I was in the local newspaper with an empowering heading: ‘Popular Vet wins Top Award’.

IFAW Action Awards 2012

I think there is absolutely no greater achievement in life than being recognized for what you really love doing. My motto in life is encompassed in this brilliant quote :

“I started my life with a single absolute: that the world was mine to shape in the image of my highest values and never to be given up to a lesser standard, no matter how long or hard the struggle.”– Ayn Rand

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About Rayya

Hi I am Dr. Rayya. I created this site to take you on a journey of my life as a vet! I hope to inspire you, teach you, learn from you. Most importantly help pet owners and animals around the world by sharing pictures, videos and posts from my everyday experiences.

View all posts by Rayya

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40 Comments on “Capping off 2012 with IFAW’s Animal Action Award”

  1. Sherri Maddick Says:

    Rayya – A Heartfelt congrats. What a way to end a year and I am sure it gives you a great boost and cheers to more of the same in 2013! Someday maybe we can meet – I love you already as you remind me so much of my vet friend, Dr. Marla Menuskin from Chicago. She no longer practices and had to retire early due to a diagnosis of lung cancer (she is around 50). She was my vet for so many years before I moved away to marry my husband. I started with her when she was RIGHT out of vet school at Blum Animal Hospital. I told her right away that she should have her own business. She and another vet later started Family Pet Animal Hospital in Chicago and it is still doing a brilliant busibess. I am proud of you!!!


  2. Zsolt Szabo Says:

    Congratulations Rayya!


  3. lastbabyboomer Says:

    Nice way to end the years. All the best for an even better 2013.


  4. victoriaaphotography Says:

    Congratulations Rayya on a very well deserved Award and public recognition.

    Being passionate about your work and the pets in your care is reflected in your Blog (& even more in the brief day we met in Melbourne when you brought your own dogs down to the beach for me to photograph).

    Best Wishes for 2013 and many more years into the future.


  5. ruthrawls Says:

    Congratulations on an extraordinary achievement!


  6. monumentalaction (@monumentalactio) Says:

    Great job, love your quote at the end.


  7. Michael Haley Says:

    How nice to hear of a good work get recognized. Thank you for sharing.


  8. sojisan Says:

    congrats on winning award in your category.kudos


  9. wordsfromanneli Says:

    Well deserved, Rayya! Good for you. So happy for you. Keep up the good work.


  10. sassybrat1904 Says:

    Congratulations Rayya! Your award rightly deserved. I find your blog very interesting, educational, and informative. Keep up the great writing.


  11. Dean M Waters Says:

    Congratulations on a well deserved Award!!


  12. Gretchen Del Rio Says:

    Congratulations. I love reading your blog and I think for you to take the time to post such detailed and informative……..not to forget heartfelt ……..accounts of the work that you do with animals is amazing. You deserve the award so very much.


  13. Harold Gardner Says:

    Congrats on an awesome award. I am not surprised because your caring and passion for the animals in your care shines through your postings. I am struck that while you care so deeply, your advice is so reasonable and sound. I love it so much when people do well by doing good. Thanks so much by sharing your experiences with us. We all learn a lot and are often amused and entertained as well as educated.


  14. amidiabetic Says:

    Well done! You are doing great work 🙂


  15. Justin Wheeler Says:

    Fantastic and looks like it was very much deserved.

    Thanks for sharing the story about the Orangutang guys.. Sounds pretty cool!


  16. Baja By Bus (@BajaByBus) Says:

    Congratulations, Rayya!!! 🙂


  17. barb19 Says:

    My sincere congratulations on the IFAW Award Rayya – what a way to end the year!
    It must make you feel good inside knowing that all your hard work is recognized, doing what you love most, and I am so proud of your achievement.


  18. boyd hore Says:

    You truly deserve this award , all the very best RAYYA . The world needs more people like you . GOD BLESS YOU .


  19. Animalcouriers Says:

    Wow Rayya, what wonderful recognition! Congratulations. Here’s to 2013 and the daily achievements you notch up along the way 😀


  20. Jo Woolf Says:

    Many congratulations, Rayya – you are so deserving of that award, and I am thrilled for you! What an incredible experience for you, and I can imagine how moving it must have been. I will also check out the Clarke brothers’ blog. Well done, again!


  21. angelswhisper2011 Says:

    Congratulations on your very well deserved IFAW award. It’s wonderful to get recognition of everything you do and I saw a tear in my granny’s eye, while she was reading the quote… sigh. We’re happy to know such a magnificent lady 🙂


  22. greatpoetrymhf Says:

    congratulations THANKS for sharing the love……..GR8LISTENER is your newest fan.


  23. Alexander BK (@Articles_4u) Says:

    Congratulations to you and for the two boys! 🙂 Happy New Year of 2013 with Good Health and Progress!


  24. IsobelandCat Says:

    Congratulations Rayya! I am an IFAW supporter. This is a well deserved award.


  25. rezaahmed Says:

    Reblogged this on Social Media News !! and commented:
    Capping off 2012 with IFAW’s Animal Action Award


  26. amyshojai Says:

    Con-CATS-ulations, what a wonderful and well deserved award. Thanks for all you do for the animals. I’m a fan, too. *s*


  27. artseafartsea Says:

    Congratulations! Nice to be recognized for all your good work with animals.


  28. Chancy and Mumsy (Mag) Says:

    Congratulations!!! Very well deserved award. Happy New Year. Hugs and nose kisses from Chancy and me


  29. annsflair Says:

    Congratulations! Well-deserved, I might add. Thank you for all you do for our furry friends.


  30. Tricia Booker Photography Says:

    Congratulations on a well-deserved honor! Although I don’t always comment, I enjoy reading your blogs and truly enjoy the way you translate your life in the veterinary clinic–highs and lows–into words and photos. You do a great service to your profession and to the animals!


  31. Nicole Marie Story Says:

    I am sitting here with a big grin on my face.
    Congratulations, Rayya.


  32. roshart1 Says:

    Kestrel and I are very proud of you, Rayya!


  33. avianstudent Says:

    Congratulations – as someone else said above, what great way to finish off the year!


  34. Jodi Says:

    What an achievement Dr. Rayya!! I’m so happy for you. And so proud to ‘know’ you!! Congratulations and I hope it’s just the beginning of many more for you!


  35. John Says:

    Congratulations on this wonderful award, and thanks for visiting my website too. 🙂


  36. Fabulous Fur Friends Says:

    Congratulations Rayya – well deserved – your passion for animal welfare obviously shines through and it must be nice to be recognised for it. I look forward to reading more of your great posts.



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