Making kind choices in your everyday life.

dogs

In Praise of the Rescue Mutt

Posted by on Jan 11, 2015 in dogs | 10 comments

“A dog is not a thing. A thing is replaceable. A dog is not. A thing is disposable. A dog is not. A thing doesn’t have a heart. A dog’s heart is bigger than any “thing” you can ever own” – Elizabeth Parker

10593124_942932065733160_7819971502649832245_nYou may have noticed (by the myriad of photos adorning this blog) that we are rather fond of our little rescued mutt, Garp and his fly in, fly out sister Ivy (my mum’s nutty little hound from Staffy Rescue) who spends alot of time with us.

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Ivy and Garp

I have had a dog throughout my life – from the pedigree Airedales I grew up with to the perfect staffy pup my mum bought for me from a breeder at  a difficult time in my 20’s (saying goodbye to her 11 years later was one of the saddest days of my life). And, of course,  I loved each and every one of these different souls equally.

From now on, however, I would only consider adopting a “rescue” mutt. They are quirky and resilient souls who have had a bit of a rough start to life and deserve that second chance of finding their “forever home” which so, so many of them in desperate need of.  At this time of year, inexplicably, pounds are full to the brim.

I follow Pound Rounds on facebook and every few days the sad and innocent faces of the young, middle aged and old “death row” dogs are shared. These dogs have just a few days to find a home and it is quite a devastating reality check to witness. The Pound Round community is a generous one and last minute donations and people willing to foster / adopt save some of them but, unfortunately, it is a perpetual cycle and, clearly, there needs to be a better system in place to stop so many healthy animals ending up in this situation.

It is a strange world we live in where we have puppy farms and dodgy back yard breeders churning out thousands of puppies to meet the demand for certain breeds and pet shops, whilst overflowing pounds are simultaneously killing hundreds of thousands of them ( estimated to be 250,000 Australia wide healthy dogs and cats) due to lack of willing homes. This is nonsensical and morally skewed.

I would love to see people needing to obtain a licence to buy an animal – it is way too easy at the moment. You need one for a jet ski but not a dog. Go figure. People need to be educated on the lifelong commitment, cost (estimated to be around the $20,000 mark for a dog’s life !) and obligations which come with owning an animal. Animals need to be desexed to stop this rampant oversupply. People need to learn to walk and socialise their dogs to prevent problems like biting, digging and barking which lead some people to surrender their dogs. People need to plan ahead for having babies, moving house, animals becoming large and all the other unsurprising occurrences which lead to some people to give up their animals.

So, please, if you hear of anybody planning to bring an animal into their life, have some resources up your sleeve to recommend to them. There are brilliant (and, unfortunately, copious numbers of) rescue groups in every state.

PetRescue is an Australia Wide organisation – it amalgamates many of the rescue groups out there to make it easy to search for your new family member. Breed specific rescue groups (I have just been swooning over the bull terrier rescues available) are represented too and there are even ones devoted to deaf dogs (Hear no Evil) !

We got our little fella, then aged 3, from Monkia’s Doggie Rescue which are a great no kill rescue group located on the outskirts of Sydney. He had been waiting for a home for 8 months after being rescued from an inner city pound which defies belief as he is the world’s most adorable animal.  I love Monika’s stringent application rules – to ensure you have done your homework prior to adopting one of their dogs and they thoroughly suss you out to ensure that you are going to be a devoted fur baby parent.

Avoid “free to good home adds” in gumtree and the like at all costs. They attract undesirable people who use “free” animals for a range of dreadful things and do not address the over breeding problem in any shape or form. Likewise, sales on the internet are more than likely going to be puppies sourced from puppy farms or “backyard breeders”.

Following the recent change in government to Labour’s Daniel Andrews, Victoria is moving in the right direction to cut down on unscrupulous puppy farms and pet shop sales. I hope that they follow through with their promises and that other States follow their lead. In the meantime, it is up to individual council’s to take the lead in regards to encouraging responsible pet ownership. Mine does not appear very proactive in this regard and could take notes from Sutherland Shire Council animal shelter which is a wonderful example of  what some “thinking outside the box” can do. They give library talks to provide free education about responsible pet ownership, advertise their dogs in their best light on facebook and set up bins in the local IGA to enable people to readily donate food etc. They have a great net work of local volunteer dog walkers to tend to the dogs whilst they are waiting for their forever home. Renbury Farm and it’s efforts to provide mental stimulation for it’s shelter dogs are a great organisation too.

Of course some people do want a certain breed of dog (although, keep in mind that there are rescue groups for many breeds) and it would be a shame for some of the beautiful breeds around to die out. There are legitimate, kind, ethical breeders around who care for their dogs and encourage you to visit them when seeking out a pup. The RSPCA have a responsible puppy buying guide here.

Oscar’s Law is an amazing organisation to follow and/or donate to and is a hub of knowledge about everything concerning “puppy farms”.

sia

I too want Oscar’s Law Sia!

Should you need any further inspiration to encourage yourself or others to “adopt not shop” :

The ultimate pin up rescue dog is local Sydney boy Pikelet. I love the Life of Pikelet photos and the variety of foster dogs which share his bed. Too cute.

If you love photography and dogs as I do, have a look at these sad, beautiful, haunting portraits of dogs on their last day on earth immortalised by Taiwanese photographer Tou Chih-kang . This may sound like a completely morbid subject matter but it does show the individuals behind the numbers, raises awareness and gives some respect to these souls.

Landfill dogs is another wonderful organisation from the US who do everything they can to portray rescue dogs looking for homes in their best light. Stunning photography and dogs.

I would love to hear about your fur baby and how he/she came into your life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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