As the title suggests – apparently October is Adopt a shelter dog month.
Now I’m all for these monthly drives to get people’s interest perked up once in a while but does it not suggest that October you should adopt but the rest of the year pass it all by?
EVERY month, EVERY week, EVERY day should be adopt an animal day – whether you’re into cats, dogs, pigs – if you want a pet and you don’t intend to show it or have a licence to breed THEN ADOPT. Simple as that.
I’m not getting on my soap box a preaching the rights and wrongs of breeding – each one of us has an opinion and are entitle to that opinion. My only comment to this is “responsible” breeding NOT puppy farm, or “oops my dog got out” kind of breeding. They are both hateful, irresponsible acts that have no part in today’s world.
As I said, I’m not going to soap box the subject. I’m simply going to say today that there are hundreds of thousands of dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs … the whole noah’s ark of animals that someone somewhere keeps as pets, someone somewhere lost or disowned said ‘pet’ and so there are enough to go around for people to adopt.
And if you’re one of those who is nervous – will the dog be trainable or insurable or bite or diabetic or worse? – Will the cat run off, fit in here, have cat flu, be full of fleas? Will the rabbit be unmanageable or ill or not tame? I can’t blame you for asking and holding back. There are many many reasonable questions to be asked. How though can you justify paying £400 for a cross breed puppy or even a so called ‘pedigree without papers’ from a stranger you may never see again when you can buy/adopt for under £300 and have back-up from the shelter if here’s a problem for the rest of the animal’s life…. Try justifying £30 for a petshop guinea pig with no history or drop a £20 to a neighbour for a kitten that “was got at” one night?
So as October is Adopt a Shelter Dog month, I urge you , ADOPT – but not just in October – whenever you intend to get a new pet………
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.
Anyone who has read my posts – and 133000 plus have read my post about Joe’s death – will know I love animals, including dogs. I’m not about to bore anyone with the why’s and wherefore’s as if you are reading this, chances are you love, or at the very least, have a respect and liking for dogs.
What I am about to do is ask you to follow the link. It’s not spoof, spam, viral etc. It’s simply a song, put together a while ago with the aim of raising funds and awareness for rescuers or our four legged, waggy tailed friends and companions. It’s still important, they still need support….
K-9 Angels have come to my attention in recent months, mainly through adopting Joe’s ‘stepsister’ Annie from Romania. I can hear some of you thinking “Romania isn’t the only place in the world with stray dogs.”, and I agree. If I could save the world, the animals of world would be a place to start. We can’t save every last one – but we can support those who try to do their bit in their corner.
Listen to the song, watch the dogs, have a cry if you wish – and you then have the choice to share it, turn it off and sigh but move on, or even buy the track and donate if the moment takes you. No one will think any worse of you or better of you whichever choice you make. All I’d say is whatever choice you make, please say a personal thank you to those who are putting it out there to help those innocent animals our fellow humans are choosing to abuse and ignore – or worse.