Social Media Rallies Around Abandoned Wicklow Collie
Well, we’re taking a little bit of a different tack today. We wanted to take some time out from biz (and geeky stuff) to talk about an issue very close to our hearts. Recently we took in a young female collie who had been abandoned by a farmer in the Wicklow region. Astonishing, considering this young girl is the sweetest, gentlest and most playful thing I have ever come across. Our feeling is she was just too sweet, too much of a pet, to be work dog, and therefore she lost her value and was dumped. Now, we have two dogs of our own, work from home, and don’t have buckets of space, so taking in an extra dog, even temporarily, was not ideal. However, our feeling was that we’d have her a couple of days then get her into nice rescue or her ‘forever home’ somewhere. Well, I got a shock.
I must have called every rescue shelter in the country. The general reaction – full to capacity, bursting at the seams, hundreds of calls a week, waiting lists of anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 months. One of the worst things I heard; according to many rescuers, Bank Holiday weekends are the worst time of year for abandoned dogs. Dog wardens have even stopped working (allegedly) on the Friday before a Bank Holiday as they cannot keep up with the surrenders – a strange reaction to the problem, but who am I to say? You’re probably puzzling right now as much I was…why the Bank Holiday? I was told dogs become an inconvenience to people and families who want to head away, have a party, relax and enjoy their long weekend. What? You give up your faithful friend, your family pet FOREVER to have a bit of peace and quiet for THREE DAYS??? Unbelievably, but apparently so. So I was beginning to panic, knowing full well we couldn’t keep this gorgeous girl indefinitely. I couldn’t even comprehend the last option left to me of bringing her to our local pound (Wicklow), which (again according to many rescuers) has a 90% kill rate.
I turned to Facebook – and was overwhelmed with the response. I was beginning to feel pretty hopeless, about the whole situation. Not just for Lassie (our little foster collie) but for dogs, animals (and humanity) across this fair Isle. Another factoid I uncovered through my endless calling and enquiring was that many of these abandoned Irish animals are shipped to the UK for rehoming and sheltering as, in one rescuer’s words, “there’s just no rehoming going on here right now”. It seems the UK doesn’t have nearly the same level of abandoned animals as goes on here and the government provisions to support rescue and rehoming is more plentiful in the UK. Yet another important issue that’s being overlooked here. Anyway, back to Facebook. Within a couple of days, over 50 people have shared, liked and commented on a post I uploaded about Lassie and her need for a new home. There’s hope yet. Most of the rescues say they leverage Facebook to the fullest to rehome and rescue dogs and return lost pets to owners. Yet another way social media has increased the scope and reach for such efforts.
I’m going to leave you with a few stats on animal abandonment and welfare and ask that you please think twice about where you get your next pet from. In this humble dog-lover’s opinion, there should be an embargo in place on breeding until the below issues are resolved. Please rescue (our two best friends are rescues and they’re the best things we’ve ever done).
- The ISPCA puts more dogs to sleep than any of the other agencies.
- On average, 44 dogs are abandoned every day in Ireland. A further 10 are put to sleep a day.
- Last year over 10,000 dogs were voluntarily surrendered by owners as ‘no longer wanted’.
- Horribly, if a pound takes in an unknown stray they are legally obliged to keep it for 5 days to allow an owner to come forward and reclaim. However, if a dog is surrendered to the pound by an owner there is no onus on the pound to keep said animal and they dog can be destroyed immediately. We’re not unfeeling, we know there are many situations where an owner can no longer look after a dog. But would it not be better to take a little time to find a new home or just wait a couple of weeks to get into a ‘no kill’ shelter rather than handing over a perfectly healthy pet to, almost certainly, be put to sleep?
Thanks for reading and hope you’re enjoying a nice long, sunny walk with your best friend (furry or not) today.