Tag Archives: dog rescue

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. 

 

 

The Dog Pound: UK

We all remember the dog pound from Disney’s “Lady & the Tramp”, the dog catchers portrayed as evil with their catch poles crawling about in their cage van searching for dogs to catch and take back like it was their hobby. A dark and dingy place full of dogs in cold kennels looking sad, lost and alone. The little brown mutt too sad to sing who was crying always made me cry as a child. But having been in the animal industry for 13 years now, i know that the reality of UK dog pounds somewhat brighter, (thank goodness).

ladytpoundcry

Dog wardens in the UK are mostly people who actually adore dogs and want to be first on scene to respond and ensure each animal is treated with dignity and love. They don’t have time to be hunting down hiding doggies to make up their numbers; the kennels are already crammed and the calls keep coming in about stray and dumped dogs. I have also found that dog wardens are very active in the Lost & Found pet world to try and reunite any of their charges with their families outside of their work hours on their own time, and failing this,  they are extremely active in the rescue world, seeking out pound pulling organisations and rescue back ups to take the dogs in when their 7 days are up.

So what are our pounds actually like? Well think of the bottom end of the scale of boarding kennels and you’re pretty much there. UK country dog pounds are a council service or contracted purely for council dog warden intake, and therefore do not often have the biggest resources to be refurbishing their premises or improving their resources. Time is the biggest problem, the staff are usually spread thin keeping a full kennels clean and sanitary with feeding times and daily walks. Luckily, many pounds have volunteers who come in to walk dogs, spend time playing and being affectionate as well as helping to train out any behavioural issues.

Unfortunately, like everything in life, there are pounds who try to make profit from their rehoming services by selecting certain breeds of dog deemed more adoptable to extend their time in the kennels and put other breeds (like the staffy) to sleep without hesitation. Pounds can also be difficult when dealing with rescues trying to pull dogs from death row. Most pounds also won’t work with any rescue that publicly states a dog has been on death row, it says it gives the dog warden service and that particular “rehoming centre” a negative connotation. Posing as a rehoming centre and not allowing true no-kill rescues to be more honest and open about the problem is meaning their is little to no public awareness of the 18 dogs a day issue in the UK.

ladytpound.jpg

So is their really a clock ticking? Yes. Once admitted into the kennel and found to have no chip or not be able to contact the owners or have the dog released to the kennel by the owners; the dog has 7 days to be claimed or bought from the pound. Once the 7 days are up, it is all down to how full the kennels are as to how much extension each dog will get. 99% of the time, the pounds are full. If no rescue steps forward to pull an un-“adopted” dog from death row, the dog will be euthanised via lethal injection. Put to sleep. Killed.

Call it a rehoming centre, a county kennel or a high kill shelter; the pound represents the stray, abandoned, dumped, unwanted dogs of the UK being turned away by large rescues due to their breed and smaller rescues are too full to help. The 18 dogs a day in the UK being killed.

ladytpound-1

Dog Death Row…Yes; It’s A Real Thing.

If you haven’t seen the brutal yet underground documentary “Death Row Dogs”on Netflix yet, i suggest you take a peep to catch just an edited glimpse of the UK’s dog death row situation. The documentary focuses on those dogs who have been reported as “dangerous” to police and are seized for genetic and behavioural testing.

In the UK, should a neighbour or family spat turn sour, no longer is it just the social services being falsely called with reports of addresses to inspect; now your Staffy could be reported for being dangerous or suspected “pit type”. The police must respond to every report, and the manner in which they respond is truly quite horrific and needs some serious revision. Picture a team of 5-10 officers dressed in full riot gear bursting through your front door 10pm at night, shouting, brandishing shields and acting like they’re searching for Osama Bin Laden. You’re dog is separated from you, barking in fear trying to protect you and itself, as they corner it, catch pole in hand. Looped and tightened, you watch screaming in protest as they drag your poor dog down the stairs, out the front and into a dog van where they slam the door shut as if your loving family pet is an alligator.

Where is your dog going? To a concrete kennel block to be kept in isolation for “observation” and DNA testing to determine what percentage is Pit Bull and whether your dog is friendly or not… Disorientated, confused, defensive and with negative connections to these people manhandling them, being kept in quarantine with minimal human contact; what chance does any dog have of passing the test? How would you be affected after 6 months in isolation; could you interact normally? Even if your dog passes this emotional and mental mountain, should it be more than 20% pit bull DNA, it will be euthanised any way. Because of it’s breed. Nothing else.
What world are we living in where a country calls itself an “Animal Loving Nation” yet turn the other cheek to such a horrific system that puts healthy and happy dogs to sleep simply because of their type, or in human terms; race? The UK classes itself as having the best animal rights legislation’s in the world, yet we allow the system to try our canine family members in court because of their heritage, this would be the same as determining without any biological proof that all white people are criminals because of their skin.

This is without even beginning to talk about the pound dogs who have their 7 days to be claimed and removed from kennels by their owners after paying a release (“boarding”) cost. 18 Dogs are euthanised in the UK every day just in the county pounds… yet people continue to breed and buy puppies…

Support our work pulling dogs from UK death-rows, rehabilitating and rehoming them via online donation through PayPal “Friends & Family” to: broken-soulsrescue@outlook.com or visit http://www.broken-souls-rescue.org.

Thank You for your support.

deathrow

 

 

For Every Puppy Born and Bought There is a Dog Already Waiting in a Rescue, Shelter or Pound…

If i hear one more idiot tell me that they don’t want to have their pet neutered or spayed because it will change the dog’s personality, take away their “man-hood” or they simply do not see the benefits; i may scream.

Medical benefits of having your dog neutered and spayed is the significantly reduced risk of cancer. Cervical, ovarian and testicular cancer are extremely common in dogs nowadays due to changes in diet, environment and genetics from modern breeding practices. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is especially susceptible to testicular cancer and is often a tragic end to a dogs life from as young as 5 or 6 years old due to owners not being able to afford treatments to cnacer that quickly spread to other parts of the body. So let’s prevent.

Keeping an entire dog or bitch, particularly in a low income household, is simply a temptation waiting to become a disaster of an “accidental” litter sold on the cheap to friends, family and neighbours or online to make a quick bank deposit. A successful litter of pups can be produced and profit making within 17 weeks as long as no complications occur such as the loss of the mother’s milk. A microchip at 8 weeks, solid puppy food from 5 weeks and worming and flea treatments throughout are a minor cost compared to the potential income from selling a puppy online, and most backstreet breeders don’t even bother with these minor care points. Despite 2 new laws in 2016 stating that:

(1) all dogs must be chipped from 8 weeks old by their original owner

and (2) dogs can only be sold be rehoming organistions and licensed breeders,

…the policing and enforcement of these laws is flakey as remaining anonymous, multiple identities and a lack of public awareness means most backstreet breeders and puppy mills are never recognised by buyers, let alone reported and brought to justice.

Now your neighbour illegally selling the “accidental litter” is one thing, the puppy mills across the country using family homes as fronts to sell puppies is another large scale, huge profit making industry that is beginning to creep into the light of the public eye. However, the demand for the supply of puppies in the UK is relentless. Puppies shipped in illegally from Europe and Ireland are being bought for as little as £20 each and sold online for up to £750 and puppy mills hidden on farms deep in the countryside in the UK are selling these unhealthy, mentally frozen and emotionally damaged pups into respectable family homes across the country. Even when people do realise the dog is not in a well state, they often feel they are saving that puppy or simply want the pup more than they want to make a scene, and then forget to report the address of the backstreet breeder later.

These dogs with no social skills and often health issues, frequently end up being passed family to family through online sales or “free to good home” adverts due to behavioural issues. Eventually, they will be surrendered to a rescue or shelter, left at a boarding kennels never to be collected or dumped on the streets to be left unclaimed on doggy deathrow…

For every puppy being born and bought, there is a dog of 18 months upwards, waiting in a foster home or worse, behind a kennel door. A dog who like the puppy you are considering buying was ever so cute and now has separation anxiety, or dog aggression, or maybe is aggressive to men….

Spay and Neuter your dog. There are many reasonably priced veterinary practices, PDSA branches and annual free neutering events across the UK.

#AdoptDontShop #18DogsADayUK

To Today’s 18: Sleep Tight Little Ones, Run Free Over the Rainbow Bridge

dog-heaven

 

#18DogsADayUK

Buster is 10 years old and i have no idea where he has been, what he has seen or how he came to be on deathrow. He has the goofiest face you just want to laugh at and all he wants to do is cuddle up and watch TV. Out and about he has been a perfect gentleman with a particularly gentle nature around children and a playful attitude to other dogs and cats. Why is Buster on deathrow with 1 day left until he will be taken down that hall and “put to sleep” with the subtle pink fluid.

I will never know why Buster was on deathrow, an unclaimed stray, nor Oliver, or Mitch or Cubey or any of the 100’s of others i see everyday in our rescue, in my email inbox, on my facebook wall all desperately begging me for a rescue space. I can’t save them all, we are a small scale rescue after all, but if ignore that email, that post, that voicemail…where will that dog be tomorrow?

How can the UK be so ignorant to not be able to see the severity of this animal overload on the island to continue to breed more puppies and kittens? They will complain about graphic images in social media posts and the never ending plea for donations but they refuse to realise the source: Themselves.

Until we stop treating our loyal canine companions like commodities and possessions we can pick up, throw away and replace the problem will not cease. 18. Eighteen. 18 Dogs are euthanised each day UK. Wake Up!

Please tweet, post, blog but #18DogsADayUK today.

Donate to support our rescue work through PayPal (broken-soulsrescue@outlook.com) or via the website on our contact page.