Tag Archives: animal welfare

The Ugly Side of Dog Rescue in the UK

I hate to burst the bubbles of many Animal Studies, Animal Sciences and Zoo-ology students but working in dog rescue is not cuddling cute puppies, bottle feeding, playing with dogs and going on lovely walks…oh no. Obviously, there is a fair amount of kennel cleaning, picking up s**t, mopping up wee, being covered in fur, bathing, flea combing, disinfecting and wiping up vomit just to name a few, all of which you can be trained for to some extent.

However, what you cannot be genuinely trained for, is the constant roller-coaster ride your emotions will be swept along as you begin to realise the imbalance of occasional positive occurrences dotted amongst the relentless waves of heart wrenching and soul destroying situations you will be thrown into the middle of. So let us delve into the darker, uglier and less spoken about world of rescue.

You might well have all seen the horrific images splayed across billboards and television screens depicting dogs and cats who have been discovered by organisations such as the RSPCA and Dog’s Trust, campaigning for donations and animal cruelty legislation changes. But what you do not see, is the worker assigned to that emaciated and sick dog who works tirelessly medicating, nursing, rehabilitating, building trust, a bond with. That person does not stop at the end of their working day carefree; they go home and worry, care and make plans on how to make it better tomorrow. They love. You do not see the day that dog takes a turn for the worse physically or crosses it’s third strike behaviourally,  and that worker must sign the papers and carry the dog to take it’s final endless sleep on the veterinary surgeons cold metal table. How they will hold that dogs paw, apologising for failing them and promising them they were loved. They could wait outside, but they refuse to allow that dog to die alone, not knowing it was loved.

This week, I lost 2 very young puppies at just 10 weeks old to the destructive Parvovirus after a week long battle. They had been 4 healthy 7 week old puppies with a minor flea allergy causing a scabby skin condition that was easily remedied. Playful, active and growing well. Then after 2 had been adopted i was informed they had both been admitted into the intensive care units at their respective vets. 2 days later a third puppy still in the rescue care became sick and was placed on medications. I nursed her day and night, cleaning her kennel at every slightest wee, poo or sick. I cooked her every meal under the sun and tried to hand tempt her which worked at first, and syringed her water every 2 hours. I cuddled her and let her sleep next to me at all times. I had her admitted after a severe blood loss and she picked up for 36 hours, so much to the point i was hopeful to bring her home, in this time one of her adopted brothers, the beautiful Paddy, had passed away. The next morning the vet told me in a very sombre tone that in fact Ciara had become half the pup she had been overnight and was wasting away in front of her very eyes and was in extreme pain. We had to put her to sleep immediately. I could not be with her and hold her paw. She did not know how loved she truly was.

Oh, how i cried. I howled.

ciara 2

Left with the devastation of overwhelming veterinary bills, an upset and angry out-of-pocket- adopter, the rescue’s reputation at risk and a shadowing feeling of frustration that i had done everything by the book in terms of isolation, observation and reservation until 2 weeks had fully passed and our vets were happy with them, yet this had still happened… Whether it is the loss of loved rescue dog, a stolen charity pot, verbal abuse from those to whom you are trying to aid, social media trolling, a serious internal staffing issue or another day where you have to turn away dogs in need due to a lack of space… Each day will bring about questions such as;

“Why am i doing this?”
“Am i even making a difference?”
“Why did this happen?”
“The more i try to help the more seems to go wrong, is it me?”

This time i will answer for you; keep going, four paws at a time. Each dog adopted, saved, rehabilitated and medically treated is a win for the animal world. Even the most experienced and long standing rescue managers, founders and workers still question themselves, still feel drained of all emotion and faith. But it is those who wake everyday and trudge on through the darkest and ugliest side of animal who make the greatest impact, they will comfort others and continue on to save another life.

It is this simple fact that i bare honestly to you: every day in the world of animal rescue we are faced with the blunt, insatiable truth that life is not fair and justice does not prevail in the majority of cases. No matter how accurate, educated, experienced, cautious or reputable you are; there will be a daily shit storm that will leave behind destruction that you will have to rebuild faith, finances, emotional resilience and credibility constantly. Welcome to animal rescue, we need you, but we warn you; you have commenced in an uphill battle.  

To support our work at Broken Souls Rescue visit www.broken-souls-rescue.org 
Follow us on Twitter @souls_rescue and #18dogsadayuk #endBSL 

Feature Photo: Paddy, 11 week old Shepherd x Collie x Terrier puppy. Passed away at the vets from Parvovirus. 

Blog Photo: Ciara, 11 week old Shepherd x Collie x Terrier puppy. Passed away at the vets from Parvovirus. 

 

 

3 Amazing Reasons to Neuter Your Dog

Oh here she goes again, another boring lecture from another animal welfare advocate about getting your dogs reproductive bits removed. Well you can stop rolling your eyes at me because not a day passes that i don’t see a whole pack of dogs with their wedding tackle dangling or in heat when I’m out and about walking the rescue dogs, so clearly some of you haven’t heard yet….

Neuter & Spay: The Basics

Neutering is a general term for the surgical removal of reproductive organs from your pet, spay refers only to the female procedure. Every veterinary surgery across the world offers neutering options and the prices do vary from around £60-£150 (male dogs) £88 – £220 (female dogs). Cats and smaller animals are much cheaper as the surgery tends to take less time and require less anaesthetic drug. Animal charities such as Cats Protection and Dogs Trust (UK) and SPCA (USA) often offer free neuter and spay months or weeks and for those in financial difficulty the PDSA in the UK offers a low cost neuter. If you think these costs are outrageous, let’s see how you feel about the costs of problems that could be found later on in the animal’s life as discussed below…

The Surgery

The surgery for your pet doesn’t actually take that long and is a routine operation with minimum risks unless your pet has underlying medical issues which may be affected by anaesthetic. A sedative is given which takes around 5-8 minutes to kick in and then your pet will be shaved in the area of the operation to avoid any hair making the surgical site dirty. A male dogs surgery will take only 20-30 minutes usually as an external removal is much simpler than the female internal organs. The female surgery usually takes around 45 minutes to an hour depending on the size of the dog. Your pet will be observed in their vet kennel as they come round from the surgery and can be picked up just an hour or so post op! A follow up will be required a few days after to check the site for infection and again in 2 weeks to remove stitches. Your dog will probably be sent home with a few days worth of pain killers and either a vet cone or body grow vest.

Ok so why am i telling you to do this?

The Good Bits

  1. Prevents any accidental puppies being brought into the world from risky rendezvous in the dog park and adding to the over population problem. 

2. Prevents multiple types of cancers developing in your dog which are becoming more and more common such as; testicular, ovarian, uterus and cervical. These cancers if left untreated can spread through the hormones, blood and lymph system to grow and could develop into other types such as lung or even bone cancer which will be fatal. 

3. Prevents negative behaviours in both male and females such as: increased energy levels and hyperactivity, possessiveness, territorial, aggressive, resource guarding, humping/sexual behaviour, lack of attention, difficulty training. 

So what are you waiting for? The main culprits of the anti-neuter brigade, and i’m not being sexist i’m being honest, are the men who feel they are being cruel to “take away their man hood” or end their favourite hobby of licking their balls… Well guys if the Big-C wasn’t enough to scare you and you still want to argue that you are a responsible dog owner who will never allow an “accidental litter” to occur, let’s put it like this;

Imagine your dog is allowed to keep his “manhood”, and you are a responsible dog owner who never allows him to mate….Your dog is running around pumped full of hormones and no way of releasing them! You cannot allow  a dog to mate with a spayed female because the female will not feel the urge to mate and therefore you will be technically raping the female dog… There is no justification for allowing your dog to remain un-neutered. Get it done.

balls lick neuter

Many dogs who are found in the county pounds left as unclaimed strays appear to once have been well loved family dogs, and we often wonder why they haven’t been found, what happened? More often than not, after a full vetting, we find the dog is riddled with cancer and instead of the previous owner taking the difficult but responsible road of euthanising or treating the dog, it has been dumped.

18 dogs are euthanised in the pounds alone every day across the UK. Let’s end this now. To support our efforts pulling dogs from deathrow go to http://www.broken-souls-rescue.org

#AdoptdontShop #18DogsADayUK