Dear Readers – an appeal to all of you who love dogs and have a spare note or coin in your bank account.
I don’t usually do money appeals, not via this media anyway, but this is a very special case. This is because HUMANS have ruined the life of a dog. I hear you think it.. “Oh no not again, someone touting for cash!” Well, I’m not ashamed to say – on this occasion yes I am.
Here’s the story of Amil,
I came across this wall poster on yet another Rescue site on Facebook yesterday and there’s a lot of truth in it. Since looking for another dog to go with Annie (a Romanian Rescue) after Joe’s death I have spent weeks spiraling around a head-spinning array of sites for fosters required, adoption required, rescue this, rescue that… It’s mind-blowing to say the least.
Now, I had to make a decision. As someone said recently “Taking in one dog won’t change the world, but it will change THE DOG’S world”. So, I couldn’t go about trying to change the world per se, but I most definitely could change the world for one dog. I trawled quite a few sites, both UK and abroad – Spain, Cyprus, Romania, Spain again, Romania, UK, Romania…. One site stuck out – for me. A lady who was a teacher by day and a carer for over 100 dogs by night/spare time had her story. It was no worse than some others I’d read, but when I read that she’d just taken in 18 pups barely 8 weeks old, that would have been put to sleep, I felt the tug.
We all get it at some point in life. Not always about animals. Sometimes it’s children or elderly or disable people, or gardens, or buildings, or old cars … something somewhere hits a note in the heart that sings just slightly louder than the melee of other notes and there’s the tug. Some call it passion, some a calling, but whatever name you choose it’s that defining moment that leads you in a different direction from the one you intended. That’s also the point we can choose to ignore what we know and carry on our merry way, a pang of guilt or doubt or a 2nd thought soon wiped away by life itself and it’s forever busy goings on.
Sometimes we don’t ignore it, we’re tugged closer, pulled into the outstretched arms of the melody that begins to rise from that one different note. We look, we search, we ask, we read – each time knowing that the more we know the more we’ll be dragged deeper into the song.
When I saw the pups, barely old enough to be away from their mum, I wanted to help. After all, what animal/dog lover can turn their head from a babe in need, especially those of one of the species of animal that truly does just bond with man on a whole different level? Practically, I couldn’t do a huge amount, I couldn’t house them all, pay a fortune for care or drive over and rescue the lot, but tiny stones dropped in a pond make a foundation on which someone can stand one day. I sponsored and offered to foster one (Maiya) , and said I’d adopt another (Tess) to have as a playmate for my Annie as was the original reason I was looking.
Maiya from a public shelter was to be put to sleep if nowhere could be found for her and 17 other pups
Tess when she was first rescued from a Gypsy cellar with her siblings who were all kept in the damp and the dark.
It didn’t seem much but the money I paid for both to be transported to the UK, plus the sponsorship money, paid for food for them and a lot more besides. All of the medical costs for vaccines etc was included in the adoption pack for Tess and I could have avoided costs for Maiya (fosterers don’t pay these the charity does) but that note in my heart twanged regularly and I didn’t mind paying a bit extra.
All but 2 of those pups are now in safe, happy homes across Europe as fostered or adoptee pets. The success of this drive is testament not only to those who’s heart played a specific note that they could not ignore but also to the woman who took them in, loved them and made them ready to leave, whilst still caring for another 100+ dogs, working as a teacher in a school and being a wife and a human being to boot.
Why didn’t I ignore it all when there are thousands of dogs in UK rescues? Simple answer is: – the UK rescue centers have many volunteers not just 3, they have a lot of ‘press’ and reasonable funding, some even from the government, and the dogs here are safe already. Many people adopting a pet will go to RSPCA or the like, or even a local place: that’s the first place they’ll look. We did the same with Joe and Annie. The issue with Romania is longstanding and is now becoming known but has been overlooked to the point of utter meltdown for dogs. The UK is well known as a country of dog lovers, there’s plenty of love to go around.
In Romania dog lovers are rarer as most people see these animals as vermin and starve them, hurt them beyond what we could imagine and then leave them to die. At the very least the country is so over-run the population is exploding ridiculously. A massive neuter drive is also happening but it can’t keep up. Years ago dogs were loved in the country but social and economical happenings changed people’s lives and attitudes and dogs went feral.
I can’t save them all but so far I’ve saved 3…and that is reason enough for me.
My story is for the one that struck that note then struck the chord, the chord became a song I could not ignore – I still sponsor with the few pounds spare and Barclay and Sophie are among the many that need to be taken out of that dog hating trap called Romania – but for the animal lovers of this world that’s a whole other story.
If you as a reader have an interest (and if you don’t you won’t have got this far) then take a look at the links for Barclay and Sophie and go from there – Maybe your song will begin too.
It’s 19th June 2014. Joe died 6 months ago on 23rd December 2013.
Joe was a 6 year old beautiful boy taken from us after only 10 months by a cruel twist .. an accident .. lack of information .. so I started a mini campaign. And I’ve just read about another poor soul, a friend of a friend, having to wait to see if his dog will survive a stick injury. Heartbreaking.
Ok so writing about it channelled my grief but the whole thing goes beyond that.
What was to be thought a rare freaky accident turned out to be all too familiar to vets and families worldwide. What was thought to be a personal kick in the nuts turns out to be a case of ignorance is most definitely not bliss.
I received hundreds of comments on my first post after Joe died. I received hundreds of facebook and twitter comments too. The current WP views are at over 139000 which is great, and yet not enough. Dogs are still being treated for nasty stick injuries, vets see a few each month. I can’t preach and stay stop it, but I can let anyone and everyone who cares know what a potential danger stick throwing is: better than being totally ingnorate of the risks.
What happened to Joe, and happens to dogs all over the world at a frighteningly all to often occasion was borne of ignorance, stupidity, even years of “that’s what we do with dogs”. We simply never thought about the consequences it could bring.
Historically, when man decided to have dogs as pets and not merely working companions (not all that long ago in the UK) chasing a stick was a favourite game. We’ve all seen the old adverts in faded yellows and reds with a boy, stick in hand and his faithful dog pantng happily as he waits for the ‘toy’ to be thrown. Why should we think it’s dangerous? We see things like celebs on the One Show with their dog, happily throwing it a stick, or in videos…. Dogs and stick throwing seems synonimous
These are but a few stories of reasons why we should try and change this……………..
http://www.croftreferrals.co.uk/news read Flick’s story
The list goes on.
Please think twice before you throw a stick for your dog to chase.
9th June 2014, my son’s birthday, our trip to London to be ready for his flight to East Asia (again) on 10th.
9th June 2014, the realisation that no matter how many years we live apart he’s still one of my best friends and we’re as daft as each other.
9th June 2014 and hours upon hours of tube stations, walking, photos and eventually and finally getting absolutely drenched in the early/mid evening downpour.
9th June 2014 set off at 10 am for London. The trip was set so we were there in situ for him to catch his 10am flight after his brief visit from there to here (here being UK). We had to get his visa and passport first so Kings Cross to Oxford Circus, then locate the hotel then time was our own. … It went something like this…
Train, walk, tube, walk, rest, passport, walk, tube, discuss where the hell we need to go, choose the tube line, go the wrong way, go back again, get the tube to Finsbury, find out we could’ve gone the other way anyway, head to Brixton, get confused, look for Hounslow (location of hotel), confused whether east / central/ west, guess central, alight, walk YAY hotel…. So far it’s taken just under 5 hours to get his passport and locate our sleeping quarters.
Hotel was nice, small, but quiet and clean. We didn’t need frills as we only had a night to sleep there. Andrew suggested we go out sight-seeing. I wanted to sleep. Andrew wanted to sleep. Both decided sleep could come later (if only).
Around 3.30pm we left the hotel and decided to go into London, no idea where to, just see where we landed. First locate the tube station. Clever clogs mum.. it’s this way…we walk, no, not this way. We keep walking, Andrew wants a McFlurry, orders a choc brownie one, gets some other sort, complains to me but eats it anyway, we walk more, Andrew decides we’re going the wrong way, uses sat nav on phone, we are going the wrong way so back we go, locate tube, decide Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and the river… off we go. Tube is now massively crowded so 40 minutes standing. We alight with a struggle (no one will let you off if you’re not glued to the door already).
Once back in daylight Andrew goes one way I go the other, we’re confused again, then I spot flags and we head for them, almost die in a massive bicycle onslaught, take photos, more bikes, head for the park area find a seat and fall onto it, legs ache, blues and twos start tearing past us so nosey us went to see, they’d gone by the time we got there as we were delayed by astoundingly ‘tame’ squirrels and photo opportunities. Get to Buckingham Palace and photos from all angles, then towards St James’s. Through a park, photos, birds, talking, walking, rain – just a bit – it’s getting very cloudy, we’ll be ok, neither of us has a coat although he has a hoody, but we’ll be fine. Walk some more, talk some more, take pictures some more, more rain, still warm but wet now. We walk towards Big Ben, a few photos along the way, astounded by trees keeping everything so dry so tree hop to Big Ben. Rain eases. Many photos, buildings, clocks, statues, Andrew, river, Millenium Wheel, flags… Over to Westminster, raining a lot now, I’m soaked but we don’t care, a few more pictures then head back.
Tube easy to find, which way, we don’t know, guess, right guess, sit this time as tube almost empty, 40 minutes, Hounslow east, next one ours, tube slows, we’re talking, never felt the stop, tube speeds, that was our station, missed it, crap, off at Hounslow west – a long way off, deserted station, wait, hope, tube arrives, is, 8.45pm by now, back to Hounslow central, which way, this way, no not that far, rain is pouring, ah, hotel, we haven’t eaten all day so agree to go to the indian place across the way, but I have to get dry.
Finally we settle to eat and enjoy each others company, a quiet end to a great albeit trying and tiring day. We didn’t worry, we’d find our way eventually to anywhere.
Now to try and sleep before the 0630 start, trip to airport and he leaves me again for another year.
Well, today is it. The day I leave a company I have worked for since 5th June 2006 – and I’m numb.
I’d like to say I feel happy: new adventures and all that. I don’t! I could make a fuss and say I’m heartbroken. Well maybe later but right now I’m not. I’m numb.
It feels like I’ve lost a friend. In reality I have ‘lost’ a few. With all good intentions the colleagues I have shared 10 square foot of office space with for many years will say hi if they see me and maybe curse me when they find the one mistake I made one week last year. They may even mention me when a question gets asked ..”Oh Suzan used to do that”. But alas, life moves at a tremendous pace for most of us and within 6 months my ‘friends’ won’t think of me, nor me them. I have flowers and cards and gifts and well wishes galore but in the end I will fade like the flowers will into an “I remember her” moment for some.
I’ve lost my comfort zone, my bubble, my security blanket, and that is unsettling.
For 8 years now I have spent 4 or 5 days a week most of the year getting up and going through the motions of washing, dressing, packing lunch and heading out of the door with the sole aim of going into the office, doing a job in which I earned great kudos. Staff of all levels appreciated my efforts, acknowledged my skills and became slightly more than colleagues. We shared a few tears, lots and lots of laughter, a few squabbles and fights, sadness, joy… you get the drift. We were a family, like any other, just larger than most. And at 5pm, or 6 or 7 some days I would tidy my desk and go home, thinking about the next days’ tasks. What now though? This is like enforced retirement. You’d think I’d be happy. Over 50 and a chance for paid time off work with good health… but I wonder. Will I enjoy it or will I miss the buzz of the deadlines to be met?
I’ve been expecting this to happen since December – the thriving small company that we were was attractive to bigger flies and when the MD got ill, the bigger flies took the chance to swallow us up lock, stock and barrel – except for a tiny minority… 5 of us. We were surplus to requirements – CENTRALISATION was the way to go with our departments. I’ve been happy about it, sad about it, excited about the future , dismayed at the thought of leaving. But now the day has come……..I’m just numb.