Emergency at Dogs Trust Bridgend

Dogs Trust Bridgend is full to the brim with lots of dogs needing homes, including puppies. Please go here to see the lovely dogs available – including the GORGEOUSNESS that is Billy Bob:

Billy Bob is deaf and had been punished for his deafness before coming to Dogs Trust, and was very scared and unsociable. Dogs Trust have done such a fantastic job with him and he’s now a happy, excited, beautifully trained and VERY WAGGY boy just looking for the right home.

Being a Welsh shelter, Bridgend also contains plenty of collie goodness – watch to the end of that video for a faceful of Smithy the collie!

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Hundreds of millions

As Earth’s human population hits seven billion, I’ve been googling for statistics on the dog population.

Estimates vary. A conservative one is: there are five hundred million dogs in the world, and 75% of them are strays.

THREE QUARTERS. 375 million dogs living on the streets, subject to starvation, disease, abuse and slaughter. It’s like three out of four human children being born homeless. No, it’s worse – the real proportion of dogs born homeless is far higher. Unneutered stray dogs have litter after litter of puppies, many of whom die. Three out of four is just those who survive.

This is getting to me so badly. I’d somehow assumed that more dogs had homes than didn’t. Instead, it turns out that the average dog is a street pariah who knows humans only as something to be afraid of. The average dog will never be patted or have its tummy tickled, never be fed by a human hand, never be cared for when it’s ill or injured or dying.

Dogs are our responsibility. We created this species and they’re suffering, in such overwhelming numbers that anything I can do will be a drop in the ocean. Hundreds of millions. But each of those hundreds of millions is an individual, an actual real dog with real eyes and ears and fur and a real life that can be made or broken, and not to save one because I can’t save hundreds of millions would just be nonsense. Besides, if everyone saves one dog… Okay, I’m dreaming now :)

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Lily & Maddison

Dogs Trust are looking for a home for beautiful Lily and her devoted ‘guide dog’, Maddison.

Being two Great Danes, one of whom is blind, who need to be rehomed together, they’ve been having a spot of trouble finding a home. There’s been lots of interest in them since this article was posted, and Dogs Trust actually announced that they’d been rehomed, but then it fell through.

These two are lucky to be alive. They’ve been at Dogs Trust since July. Some shelters would have destroyed such hard-to-rehome dogs by now – or destroyed Lily alone. Dogs Trust never does that to a healthy dog (and despite her disability, Lily is healthy, happy, and runs around like any other dog.) Right now it’s looking really hopeful that she and Maddison will find a family, but if they don’t, they’ve got a loving home at Dogs Trust for life. And this is why I’m posting this in the ‘Why Dogs Trust’ category.

In other news, I’ve been sleeping with my origami paper under my pillow. I am a dork.

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Got my passion for my cause back. In spades.

I’ve been looking at An Act of Dog, a fantastically ambitious art project that makes my writing project look like a walk in the park. Their aim is to make America the first no-kill nation – a tall order given that 5500 dogs a day are killed in American shelters.

The only statistic I’ve got on British dog deaths is that local authorities kill 20 healthy dogs a day for want of a home. That doesn’t sound so many until you actually think about 20 dogs:

The 20 dogs pictured are lucky – they’re all at Dogs Trust waiting to be rehomed. Dogs Trust never destroy a healthy dog.

But 20 dogs is actually the tip of the iceberg. Many more healthy dogs are killed in charity shelters – at least 5 a day in Battersea alone. All charity shelters have to make the horrible decision between destroying dogs they can’t rehome, or turning away dogs they could. There are no easy answers, and I do understand why some shelters decide to kill.

But I’m a BIG dreamer, and I want to see a day when that isn’t a decision. I want every dog to have a home or at least a shelter place for life. This is Dogs Trust’s wish. As well as caring for 16,000 dogs a year, they’re also working to make sure fewer dogs are abandoned or lost – educating children, helping people pay for neutering and microchipping, and helping people in the worst of circumstances to hold on to their pets.

But the only way this wish is going to come true is with a LOT more money.

Dogs are dying, in my country, every day, and if anyone is going to do something about that, it should be me. I can’t fix every problem in the world, I can’t fix this one, but I can help. Every dog I see on the street makes me happy, even the ugly ones, the elderly ones, the barky ones – I love them all. I can’t even explain how and why I love dogs so much, because I explain practically everything else I love in terms of dogs. They’re my fundamental unit of awesome. The thought that even one dog might end up dead when I could have stopped it is just - no.

It’s also a big loss to humans when dogs die. So much love we’re missing out on. And as a species, we need the love right now. Dogs are so good for our mental health. The dog that’s put down this hour could have been someone’s soulmate.

Why yes,  I AM crying right now.

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Pets are the 99%

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…

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