After six years of spending my Sunday morning volunteering at our local animal shelter you would be forgiven for thinking that I’d be ready for a break. It’s true that some Sunday mornings it is a struggle to get out of bed at 6am and it would be easy to roll over and go back to sleep, but those thoughts don’t last long because I love my Sundays. They keep me sane. It is hard to resist smiling at the little faces, boofy heads and wagging tails that greet you, they’re so excited because they know that it is their time for pats, walks and most importantly, breakfast. For a few dogs, the interaction with volunteers and staff is the kindest that they’ve ever had and being in a shelter is the safest place they have ever lived. Their stories will break your heart, you want to take them all home, save them and love them but it is just not possible. Thankfully there are good people out there who will adopt shelter dogs, some visit the shelter regularly looking for the right dog for them and their situation and others only ever adopt dogs from a shelter, returning when one has passed or if they feel ready to add a second dog to their family. I am grateful for those people, they know that taking home a dog without having the details of their past means that they may take time to settle. They understand that puppies require work and that training is an essential. Yes there are people who are clueless, they ignore the advice of shelter staff and they expect that a dog should be toilet trained, quiet and easy to walk without any effort. In time the dog returns to the shelter, for one reason or another. I would like to think that for the most part people do the right thing and I try not to focus on the cruel and the stupid because it makes me sad.
These are some of the wonderful creatures that I have been able to spend my Sundays with, most of them have been adopted and the others, well the staff and volunteers will keep on loving them until the right family comes along.
Mason had a hard life before finding his way to the shelter. A calm and sweet boy who loves to cuddle.
Wolfie puppy, one of a small litter.
Good mannered Paso the American Staffy X
A sweet little boy, Ranger was scooped up quickly by some lucky family.
Beautiful puppy Neo, she is going to be a big dog with her mastiff genes.
Red is a calm, well mannered senior dog. He is still waiting for his forever family which is hard to believe given his nature.
Benji loves to play fetch and destroy tennis balls.
Dear Captain had a hard start in life, at 3 years of age he looked more like 6 or 7 when he arrived. Thankfully, with lots of love and care he blossomed and quickly became a favourite with all the staff and volunteers.
Sweet Ella didn’t stay at the shelter long, such a smart and friendly girl.
Pretty and sweet was Daisy.
Jess the Boxer x was another favourite of staff and volunteers. A shy, gently girl who loved to cuddle and she had the cutest derp face.
Stella was the last of her litter to be adopted. We couldn’t understand it, she was sweet, placid and barked very little. We were happy when she was adopted after a few weeks at the shelter
Recently a colleague had her dog taken from a local shopping centre, she has had Boris for almost 6 years and he is a beautiful, well cared for Staffordshire Bull Terrier. It is heartbreaking to lose a pet, I think even more so when they’ve been taken from you by a stranger and you don’t know whether they’re being looked after properly or being abused. Hopefully someone will do the right thing and Boris will be returned to his Mum, it is where he belongs. There are so many dogs left living in shelters, especially staffies and staffy cross breed, why couldn’t they have saved one of those lives instead of inflicting hurt on the life of another? I just don’t understand how people can be so cruel.
In Belfast, on the other side of the world, injustice is being done under the guise of BSL (breed specific legislation), laws banning certain breeds of dogs such as the American Pit Bull Terrier and Japanese Toso have been introduced to supposedly reduce instances of dog fighting. Lennox is a beautiful American Bulldog Labrador cross who has been taken from his family and locked up by the council because they think he is ‘of pitbull type’, Lennox has been kept locked up for over 12 months now with the issue still to be resolved in court. It is a prime example of ‘bull shit legislation’ and it is cruel and inhumane, I wish I could do more than sign their petition and vent my frustration on my blog but I feel helpless and I’m only one person in another country.
In some states of Australia, these breeds are considered dangerous and breeds such as the Staffordshire Bull Terrier and American Staffordshire are mistaken for pit bull terriers and have been removed from the owners and put down regardless of whether there has been an attack or complaint. Studies that discredit the laws have been conducted but sadly they have not been changed and in Queensland the laws are getting even stricter. Even though I am angry about the laws and think that they are BS (bullshit), I know that they are not completely at fault. Too many irresponsible pet owners treat their dogs badly, they don’t get them desexed and they don’t have the common sense to realise that the cute puppy will grow up. Owning a dog is a 10-15 year commitment and should not be taken lightly.
I love my dogs, they are my most faithful and loyal companions, it makes me so sad to see all the abandoned dogs in shelters and it makes me furious to see innocent dogs punished for the deeds of a few mindless, cruel and disgusting human beings.