The Cat and Dog Madam of Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh: A 62-year-old woman has spent more than 15 years of her life living with hundreds of dogs and cats. She has cared for, nurtured and given great love to the animals, who she sees as close family members, like her children.

Tep Kim Lun, called “Madam Lun” by her neighbors has seven sons and daughters, all of whom are currently living in France and America, some of them with their own children.

Madam Lon Lon lives as many as two hundred cats and dogs in her large home in Chbar Ampov District, Phnom Penh.

“The Island of Love,” is how Ms. Lun described her home with a smile and shows the animals, all of which were strays, unwanted or from local pagodas.

Madam Lun said she started saving animals in 2005. By 2012, she was working with the Animal Protection Association and the numbers kept growing.

Madam Lun grew up in France, although she was born in Cambodia.

She grew up in very wealthy family that had businesses in bread, diamond shops and clothing stores. 

In 1996, Madam Lunn returned to Cambodia, but in 1999 she left again coming back in 2005, when she took in her first dog.

The love affair with animals started with the sympathy of the lady who pitied the strays that were roaming the streets.

Madam Lun not only feeds many dogs and cats in her own home, but supports animals at five pagodas in Phnom Penh, providing food and local veterinary treatment.

Her cats get fed three times a day, but the dogs only twice at midday and 6 pm.  Food is sponsored by some restaurants in Phnom Penh who donate leftovers from guests to her association to supplement both animals, especially the dogs.

Madam Lunn claims to spend between $ 3,000 and $ 3,500 a month on food, care, treatment and rent.

There is also some support from local and international charities, but is less than 30% of the money needed to cover expenses. 

But she expresses her true feelings come from the love of animals, without thinking and worrying about the money.  

Inside the house the animals are separated, cats usually upstairs, downstairs for the dogs.

She even has an alter where she lights incense for the animals that have died in her care. She keeps some of their bones or ashes in urns.

A vet is called for sick animals, and their health is recorded in individual notebooks.

Madam Lun used to wear thousands of dollars worth of clothes, but now dresses in casually without the fancy jewelry she once had.

Because of her busy schedule with both species, finding her own time to relax is almost impossible. Every time Madam’s children and brothers come from overseas, they never go to her house. Instead they met at a hotel, because of the smell from all the animals, which is impossible to remove, no matter how much cleaning is done.

She says her seven children have asked her to stop keeping so many animals.  However, Lun does not accept the children’s request, and says she will never leave her cats and dog. In fact, she will spend the rest of his life with them, caring for them forever. It is her greatest happiness today, no matter how tired she is. Translated from KOHSANTEPHEAP (more photos in link)

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