When you lose a furry loved one, it hurts and leaves you with a gutting emptiness that is hard to describe until it happens. Often, our most immediate reaction to the pain, is to vow you will not face it again and so will not have another furry in your life. When I lost my first Rott to cancer, at 10 years old from a pup, I felt just like that. She was everything to me. I cried on and off for three months. I would go on our walks, on my own, imagining she was still there and then come home to a house without a dog for the first time in 10 years. A house without a dog, for me, is an empty house and I would never get used to that.
So approaching the fourth month, I just knew I had to have another Rottie, sharing our lives together. Am I betraying my girl? Am I being heartless? Many of us think like that. But what do Rotts want, as much as food, fun, tummy rubs and treading on your toes when you are barefoot? They want you to be happy. They are selfless creatures emotionally. If any of you have been really down, you will know exactly what I mean.
I wanted to rescue though, I wanted to give back to the breed. So we did, the first time for me, though not from RRT that time. She was only 2 when we got her and we lost her just 4 years later to bone cancer. Nursing her through the final 3 months of her life, taught me a lot. About myself, about the breed and their courage and unerring devotion. This time I wanted to rescue again straightaway. She would have wanted that, I was sure of that then and still am. I truly believe that your lost ones live on in your current ones.
So we went to RRT and got to know Shelley and Pete. We adopted the gorgeous Rosie and a year later, also adopted Rossi. My first boy!!! As you can see, I still think about those lost and shed a tear from time time. During the time I have known Shelley, I have learned a lot about the nature of Rescue, the pleasure and the pain and how hideous many people are.
But the thought that often manifests in my mind is this. How many dogs have Shelley and Pete loved and lost, how many times have they endured that pain? Does it stop them, no. It encourages them to help more. To take on dogs they know that they will not be able to rehome, to take on dogs that they know will not live long, so that their final days have some love and care. If you think that after all those dogs, they would harden to the loss. Maybe a bit, but believe me, it hurts them every single time but keep going, because they are helping the breed we all love. THAT is the true nature of Rescue, to think of them more than yourself, as they think of you more than themselves. You all know that to be true.
I will continue taking rescues as long as I have breath. I only wish I could take that lovely boy Ross, still in care.I just love him.
Now you deserve a drink, for listening to me droning on.
WHAT IS RESCUE ABOUT?
Pete and I have had three lovely phone calls in the last couple of weeks. One from Rupert's new owners, one from Norman's new owners and one from the couple who took the puppy a couple of days ago. It is so sad that so many people take a dog from us and after the initial phone calls we make to them we don't get a phone call giving us an update...good or bad. We do worry about our dogs and think of them often.
So, the little pup we had has been rehomed. However, as she is 12 weeks old she needs housetraining, manners and basic training, mental stimulation and tons of patience. So all the "aah, isn't she cute"s etc are just sentimentality. Her owners have already altered their exercise habits with their other dog so that she gets some one to one training and exercise and have booked her into puppy classes.Too many people want a puppy or a dog under a year when they are too busy, or too old.
We are both tired of people saying they want a young dog because they can't cope with losing a dog. Nobody finds the loss of their dog easy...no matter how long or how little time you have had with that dog. However, rescuing SHOULD be about helping ANY dog that will fit into your life style.
The people who took Norman really wanted a youngster, as they had recently lost their old male. Pete explained that we didn't have a youngster and simply asked them to visit us. We promised them we would not "talk them into" taking Norman....and we didn't. BUT after meeting him, they completely fell for his charms and his new Mum says it is like he has been with them for an eternity. Tonight his new Dad rang to say how gorgeous he is and to tell us that he left three pizzas on the worktop and Norman ate his 😍 If only people could see past the dog's age and become REAL rescuers.
As we now have 7 dogs at home, and all are older, we have now virtually become a sanctuary. Our latest little lady is a really bad cruelty case, and we cannot give any details on her at this point...but she's old. She needs help. And she's got it.
WHAT DO YOU WANT RESCUES TO DO?
I have been extremely disheartened by some comments on a Rottweiler group regarding rescues and how they operate.
Apparently rescues are unreasonable and make it too difficult for people who work full time to get dogs from a rescue, even if those people come home for lunch.
My own view is that (in the case of RRT) we do our best to ensure that both owners AND dogs are happy….not just the owners. A dog is a sentient being and deserves the very best we as humans can give it. A dog in your family is a privilege, not a right.
There are some very ethical breeders out there….but they are, in my experience, few and far between. Many so called “ethical” breeders are influenced by the financial gain that comes with the sale of a puppy. So, if the potential buyer works full time, the breeder will seek to justify the decision to let them have the pup. There have been studies on the effect of dogs being left alone for long periods and they show that actually, dogs DO become stressed and anxious without their family, even if they do not exhibit separation anxiety.
I was talking to someone yesterday and they astounded me by their comment about getting a puppy from a breeder, saying “I think everyone deserves one nice dog”!
Basically, even those people who purport to be rescue enthusiasts feel that rescue dogs are second best. Well, in my view they most certainly are not.
At RRT we suffer from people who only want young, “perfect” dogs. The expectations people have about taking on a rescue dog are astonishing. Many want a dog that is good with kids, good with other dog, cats and all livestock, doesn’t mind being left and has basic obedience….and it MUST be under a year! If anyone has one, can I have it please? J
"Dog Bites" by Shelley Worth
I was watching an item on dog bites a couple of weeks ago.
The story was that 8,000 dog bites requiring hospital treatment occurred in 2018, MOST of them from small dogs.
The person being interviewed worked for the Dogs Trust. She made some great points:
Small dogs are “babied” and their owners cannot believe that their dog will ever hurt another member of the family (Even if that person knew the danger signals they would be likely to ignore them).
Children are too touchy feely with dogs and do not respond to a dog’s warning signals (but then neither do their parents)
She also said that training is an essential part of owning a dog and that many people do not bother to attend proper training classes…leading to dog to dog problems once the dog matures.
All in all, a very interesting interview.
Shelley's response to Mandy Dale's piece about people abandoning their dogs into rescue....
I would add a few more things 😊
If you tell me exactly what YOUR dog needs.....why haven't YOU done it?
When you say you are working so many hours that you feel you don't have time to walk your dog....get a dog walker!
When you tell me your dog would love to live on a farm, I ask Is your dog good with livestock? (Invariably the answer is no!)
When you ask if we can pay your vet bills I reply "It is your dog, your responsibility".
When you phone and your children are screaming in the background....please tell them to be quiet or call me when they are out. I dislike children screaming whilst I am trying to help your unwanted dog.
A couple of years ago we took three dogs into kennels in the same week. The first lady bought a huge dirty old sofa with her as that was her dog's bed 😊. The second brought a box of Weetabix and said "He has three of these for breakfast with warm milk"!!!!! The third was hilarious....the woman brought the dog in and along with the dog came a big bottle. It appeared to contain diluted washing up liquid. I asked what it was for and the owner replied "Oh, when you take him out for a walk, please blow bubbles for him as he loves to chase them"!
The last three examples caused great hilarity amongst our volunteers....especially as we lived 40 minutes away from the kennels, so I would have had to have left home at 7 to give the dog his warmed up milk and cereal! What planet are these people on?
An Open Letter by Mandy Dale
AN OPEN LETTER TO PEOPLE "GETTING RID OF" THEIR BELOVED GREYHOUND (or any other dog for that matter)
Dear Mr & Mrs Stupid,
We receive an extremely high volume of requests to accept unwanted Greyhounds. To help us sort out your "problem" as quickly as possible, please observe the following guidelines.
1. Do not tell me that you are "considering finding the dog a good home" or "feel you might be forced" to unload your poor hound onto someone else. You already have your mind stone-cold made up that the dog will be out of your life tomorrow or by the weekend at the very latest, so let's not waste my time with your so-called problems, explanations, excuses or whatever else you choose to call them.
2. Do not insult my intelligence by trying to convince me how nice, kind or humane you are - because you are not. Your friend recommended that you contact me because I love Greyhounds - I do NOT love people. I especially detest people who "get rid of" their animals. "Get rid of" is my least favourite phrase in any language. I hope someone "gets rid of" you someday - let's see how you like it! I am a dog lover, not a people therapist. You can get counsellors, special needs teachers, doctors or social workers to help you out - your Greyhound only has me and my like minded friends. We are overworked, stressed out and completely pi**ed off with people like you.
3. Don't bother to give me a long, detailed spiel about "we love the dog so much" or "we've just spent £50 on a bed for him" or (and my personal favourite) "it's killing us to part with him". You don't love him and it's not killing you - take him to the wrong place and it will probably kill him. But hey ho!, you'll be just fine once the animal is unloaded onto some other mug and out of your hair. Don't think you have a snowball in hell's chance of my feeling sorry for you - it ain't going to happen!
4. Don't try to convince me that your dog is exceptional and deserves special treatment because he once won you thousands of pounds or won this or that cup or trophy. I couldn't care less and neither could he. Bottom line - you still don't want him. I have a kennel full of burned out, beaten and abandoned dogs in exactly the same boat so do us both a favour and save your breath. No-one's listening.
5. Don't write me a long list of how "he just loves his blanket and carries it everywhere with him" and when he gets excited "he dances around in circles and jumps up for a big cuddle". I can take you to any council pound and we can count the blanket-carrying, excited and dancing dogs who are waiting to be put to sleep once their seven days are up. The fact is that he is an eight year old, 75lb un-neutered male who has probably never seen another breed of dog and who will have just one thought in his little canine mind when he does! I honestly don't care if he can whistle "Dixie" or send smoke signals with his bloody blanket!
What you fail to realise, morons, is that even though you think you are lying through your teeth - you are actually telling the truth. Your Greyhound is a special, wonderful creature - they all are, but this lousy, stinking world doesn't give a stuff and neither do you. I am not going to try to make you feel better or try to make abandoning your dog easy for you, because I don't give a stuff either . . . about you. However, I do care about these exceptional dogs who often lead short, brutal and loveless lives because of people just like you. Greyhounds who will never ever know that they truly were very special animals . . . once.
Finally, just remember this - you are the ones doing the off-loading, abandoning or plain, old dumping him on total strangers without a care for what tomorrow may bring him. Don't patronise me with your made up stories - I would much prefer you to tell it like it really is:
We picked up a cheap dog and thought we'd race it.
It's no good, so now we don't want it.
We're lazy and can't be bothered to find it a proper home.
We haven't got the space / patience / humanity to keep it until we can find it a good family.
It's got a problem with it's wrist, hock, neck and you know what vet bills are like (don't we just!!).
We want you to take it immediately and hope you realise that you are getting a pure bred racing dog that people will be queuing up to adopt.
We can't afford a donation to help with the neutering or homing costs - we've got a litter of pups expected at the end of the week.
We are rather irritated that you aren't coming to collect it - we thought you people were supposed to care.
We can't possibly bring it to you - we're racing tonight!
In short, this unsociable, bad tempered rescue person has had it up to the eyeballs with people like you. So when you come to my kennels to dump your dog, don't bother to wonder why I don't welcome you with open arms, offer you tea or coffee and then smile and pat you on the back as you leave. Be warned - I will do everything in my power to find the very best home for your unfortunate and unwanted dog but . . .
I DON'T BLOODY WELL LIKE YOU AND I DON'T CARE HOW MUCH IT SHOWS.
YOUR DOG MATTERS - YOU DON'T!!
The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018
In October 2018, new Regulations come into force around a number of activities involving pet animals in England. These include Dog Breeding, Dog and Cat Boarding, Selling Animals as Pets, Hiring out Horses and Keeping or Training Animals for Exhibition. In regards to Dog Breeding, there will be a Schedule of conditions that breeders will have to meet in order to obtain a licence and a set of Guidance notes on how they will be measured in doing this. The scope will widen meaning more breeders will require a licence. This will have significant changes to the way that breeders and local authorities operate with a requirement to meet set welfare conditions. The following points set out the key changes.
1. The new scope requires that a licence is obtained by anyone “breeding three or more litters of puppies in any 12-month period.” The new Regulations reduce the threshold from 5 litters before requiring a licence to 3 litters. The only exclusion to this is if the person carrying on the activity provides documentary evidence that none of them have been sold (whether as puppies or as adult dogs).
2. The new scope requires that anyone breeding dogs and advertising a business of selling dogs obtain a licence. The three litters are not the only reason why a licence could be required. The new Regulations set out that a licence will be required if there is any commercial selling of puppies and kittens. Indeed, it states that a licence will be applicable if the subject: (a) Makes any sale by, or otherwise carries on, the activity with a view to making a profit. or (b) Earns any commission or fee from the activity, irrespective of the number of litters produced per year. This is not restricted to registered businesses – individuals can also be classed as a business depending on the extent of their activities. Again breeders that breed a small number of puppies (i.e. less than 3 litters per year), and that sell them without making a profit will be exempt, however the sale of even a small number of puppies with a high sale price would flag up the need for a licence.
3. The Pet Vending Schedule which is separate from the Dog Breeding Schedule sets out that those who are not breeders but are in the business of selling dogs will require a licence. It is not only breeders who will require a licence, those who are moving puppies around will require a licence and anyone charging a fee or commission for a puppy will also be captured. There is a real focus on capturing traders and those who are not operating to the same standards as the good breeders. Additionally, the Government is considering whether to ban all third party sales of puppies and this could mean only breeders will be able to sell puppies going forward.
4. The new legislation is structured around the requirement to meet the 5 welfare needs and will involved proving to the Inspector that you have robust procedures in place. The Schedules are set out under the following structure: Suitable Environment, Suitable Diet, Monitoring of Behaviour & Training of Animals, Animal Handling & Interaction, Protection from Pain, Suffering, Disease & Injury. Beneath these are conditions to meet to provide those requirements and examples include the need to provide the right diet appropriate to the age and condition of the dog, the need to interact with, and socialise, puppies, the need to provide adequate resources such as toys, beds, bowls etc for the number of dogs under the licence. There also needs to be an emergency plan in place. Licensees will have to have Written Procedures around the cleaning of the licensed facilities, their feeding regimes, prevention and control of the spread of disease and monitoring and ensuring the health and welfare of their dogs. This can be quite simply set out for those breeding from a home environment and is really just a record of how you manage your dogs.
5. There are new requirements being introduced around the health and welfare of the puppy. New formal requirements have been introduced following concerns raised by welfare organisations and vets over the last few years. These include: i. The requirement for the puppy to be shown with its biological mother to any prospective purchaser unless there are evidenced medical grounds as to why this cannot be the case. ii. The facility having in place an adequate programme to socialise puppies and prepare them for life in the environment in which they are going to live. iii. Licence holders taking all reasonable steps to ensure that the dogs are of good physical and genetic health, of acceptable temperament and fit for function (e.g. be able to see, breathe normally, and be physically fit and able to exercise freely). iv. Not breeding from dogs that have required surgery to rectify an exaggerated conformation that has caused adverse welfare, or require lifelong medication. v. Not breeding from bitches that have had two litters delivered by caesarean section.
6. A Risk Rating structure around the Regulations will mean 1-3 year licences depending on your standard of care. A risk based system will be used when issuing licences so licence holders will be given with a star rating to indicate their standards. As well as meeting the conditions set out beneath the Regulations, other criteria will be taken into account such as the length of time the applicant has been in the business, their experience, size of their facility and any feedback from puppy buyers. Those who obtain a high rating will be inspected less frequently, up to three years, as they will be seen as lower risk and so obtaining a licence will be cheaper for them. Those who are seen as a higher risk with a low rating will still be subject to annual inspection and fees. It is felt this is a fair way of rewarding those meeting high standards of care.
7. How will you be able to meet the higher standards and are they achievable? The Schedules set out the minimum welfare standards by law which must be met to obtain a licence. Failure to meet these conditions will mean a licence will not be issued unless it is a minor problem like paperwork which needs amending. Within the document are a number of higher standards and if the applicant meets these higher standards they will be given a high rating to reflect they have gone over the minimum standards. These higher standards were written with the expertise of organisations like the Kennel Club, British Veterinary Association and the RSPCA. Some examples include the requirement for the puppy to be checked by a veterinarian before sale with proof of such held and available to the puppy buyer, that there must be a competent person on site at all times which is more difficult for large scale facilities to provide than a home breeder and that a puppy contract must be used.
8. How will fairness and consistency will be achieved through inspection? With the Regulations is a requirement for local authority inspectors to be trained in order to obtain consistency across authorities on how inspections are carried out. They will have to attend full training and they will also have comprehensive guidance in which to follow. There will also be guidance on fees so that inspectors have an outline of what to charge depending on the size of the business. This should move the system away from one local authority area charging an acceptable fee and then a neighbouring authority charging an astronomical fee which makes it unfair for applicants across the country.
9. Public education and campaigning will be an important part of encouraging a move towards higher standards in breeding. The issuing of a star rating within the risk based system means those breeders who are meeting high health and welfare standards can be identified but we need to get the public to be aware of this and to look for breeders who have been awarded a high rating where possible. The key stakeholders including pet industry, welfare organisations and veterinary bodies will be working to promote this system and to ensure those doing the right thing are rewarded.
10. What about all of the puppy farms, imported puppies and poor welfare puppies being sold cheaper than those breeders who meet the welfare standards set out in the Regulations? Anyone selling puppies in England will need a licence so even those breeding outside of England will need to apply for a Selling Animals as Pets Licence. Wales and Scotland are also looking at changing the way they regulate breeders as well. Additionally, there is a lot of work going on around tackling the importation of puppies and any of the people bringing puppies into the UK will need to have a licence to sell those dogs again under the Selling Animals as Pets requirement.