As I mentioned, my head is buzzing with OccupyLSX. Oh, I approve of this protest so much. Haven’t made it there in person yet but have been following it obsessively on Twitter. And yes, that is partly because I’m a Mary Poppins fan and it’s a protest against greed and poverty on the steps of St. Paul’s.
So I’ve been questioning whether it’s okay that I’m doing this for Dogs Trust, or whether I should pick a charity that’s more directly fighting poverty and inequality. These thoughts on the subject aren’t quite final, but they’re where I’m at right now.
Animals are suffering terribly at the moment. They belong to the group that’s hardest hit by any financial crisis – the ones who had nothing to begin with.
Dogs Trust have released figures showing abandoned dogs in the UK have reached an 11 year high. More dogs than ever are being taken to shelters, often because people can’t afford to look after them. And while need is going up, charity donations are going down because people can’t afford to give.
20 dogs a day are being put down by local authorities for want of a home. Poverty is killing animals as well as humans. And I personally think that matters just as much.
But Dogs Trust help some of the poorest and most vulnerable humans too. Their HOPE Project gives free veterinary care to dogs whose owners are homeless or in housing crisis, and works to get more people into pet-friendly shelters (I have a real thing about this – there are nowhere near enough shelters in the UK that take dogs, and a lot of people are abandoning their pets because it’s that or stay homeless. Others choose to stay on the streets rather than give up their dogs. Not a decision anyone should ever have to make.)
Then there’s the FREEDOM Project, which helps pet owners who are fleeing domestic violence by fostering their animals while they start a new life. Brilliant idea. I’d never thought about how hard it would be to leave your abuser if you had to leave your pet with them. I found horrendous stats on domestic abuse survivors with pets. Nearly half have had their pets harmed, threatened or killed. Some stay with their abusers out of fear for their pets. Others sleep in their cars with their animals for months until a pet-friendly hostel place opens up. Again, not a decision anyone should ever have to make.
So yes, I do think I’ll be sticking with my charity, because they’re awesome. Also, I should put some of this in my ‘About‘ page…