Friday, 27 November 2009

Stray Dogs

A recent post by English Rider brought the good news that the second of a pair of temporarily homeless dogs she had taken in quite some time ago had found a new, permanent home. This is the time of year when thoughtless idiots, looking around for a Christmas present, hit on the idea of 'giving' a puppy, often to a child, or a current girlfriend.  After Christmas, when the novelty has worn off, the puppy has soiled the carpets, or the daily routine of school and work starts again, the puppy is suddenly no longer wanted and ends up in a shelter or rescue centre, if it's lucky, or abandoned on the streets, if not. Or even worse, it is taken to the motorway and abandoned there, soon to be hit and killed.

As most of you know, I am not exaggerating.

My own Benno was one of those dogs given "as a present" to a
girlfriend, for Valentine's Day, of all things. Both young people were
working and neither really had much time to look after the dog; he was left alone for days on end and never learned to play or socialise properly.

Benno, who was then called by a different name, is a labrador and soon grew into a large dog, much too large for a small two room flat.  Labradors also like their food, the couple hardly had enough money to feed themselves.

Things got worse for the dog;  soon the couple had a baby and while the child was still a toddler, they split up. The woman moved into an upstairs, one room flat with baby and dog: money got even tighter. The dog was almost skeletal for lack of food.

Eventually an interfering bystander (thank goodness for busybodies on this occasion) realized that the situation for all concerned was untenable, the dog was removed and re-homed with us. Our previous dog, also a rescued dog, had died and we were in need of canine companionship. As so often happens, Benno adopted us rather than the other way round and we have been a very happy family ever since.

I don't believe that any of you reading this will be tempted to have a dog unless you are able to take care of it; however, let me just remind everybody of the RSPCA slogan:



  1. helo friko - i love dogs and it's a sad truth that some are used as emotional bargaining tools. happily, some of those dogs find the home they're intended for. like yours. have a peaceful day. steven

  2. Yes it is a serious decision to have a dog and some folk just don't realise how much work and money is involved. Sad how disposable some people feel a dog is. We have 3 and wouldn't swap them for anything. A x

  3. we have a black labrador stray that turned up here one day, an old bitch, who no one recognised or claimed so may well have been abandond.It turned out she had more life in her than we thought and we were presented not long after by a triplet of labrador pups which is not what we had bargained for! Here stray dogs are taken into the kennels of the commune but in reality if they are not claimed they are often put down. One often sees adverts here from English people who have moved to France and bought the dream including large dog then when life isnt that easy they return to the Uk leaving animals to whoever will take them in.I am glad Benno found a good home with you.

  4. You spoke the truth in this post Friko. Same goes on here also and it just makes me so angry. I don't know why people on't stop and think.

  5. Friko: Thanks for such an important reminder - dogs are not toys that can be 'shelved'. Benno is one lucky dog to have finally found his home and family.

  6. Too right, Friko. Three of the four dogs that have ever owned us were rescue dogs. I shudder when I go by the pet stores in the malls. They shouldn't be allowed - no reputable breeder would allow a puppy to be put on display in a window of a mall store.

  7. This has always been a problem, but so much worse now that dogs have become 'must have' accessories, which is no sound reason for making an addition to your family..for that is what a dog should be, and nothing less.

  8. I wish that everyone who wants a dog would 1) know the cost and responsibility in advance and 2) Adopt a dog from the humane society or from the kind rescue people who take dogs for placement in good homes.

    I miss my dog terribly, but am no longer able to have one and so I have accepted the fact that Vet bills are beyond my budget and I will not take an animal unless I can take good care of it.

  9. Benno looks so regal. And I agree with you 100% - people should inform themselves about what it means to have a dog, and what it means to have a particular breed (just as important).

  10. Great photo of Benno. It is hard to capture details of a black dog but his shine is inside and out. I, obviously approve of your post. My neighbor's oldest son wanted to give his little brother a pit bull puppy. They already have a completely untrained mini poodle which is sometimes left alone for the weekend. I had a very strong reaction which I think helped dissuade him.

  11. You are so utterly right - great post!

  12. One of my standard 'oral assessment' tasks for the kids at school is 'Deliver a speech about why people should think really hard before buying pets'. Hopefully that gets the message through ... they end up finding all kinds of shocking statistics in their research. Sorted!

  13. I am on the edge of retirement, and my wife, as my ten year younger child bride, will continue to work for another decade. Last year we had to put down our family mutt. She was 13, and been a terrific dog for our three girls while they grew up. We have an empty nest now, and have the good sense not to replace Taffy out of sentiment. We love dogs, but travel a lot, and dog sitting and dog worry is no longer part of our life. Putting our lovely golden bitch down was like putting down a family member. We still weep when we recall it. I do not trust anyone who does not like or love dogs. Benno is indeed a lucky "rescued" canine soul. Good on you.

  14. steven - a dog should never be used unkindly

    Wipso - I certainly agree with both points you make

    her at home - what will you do with the pups?

    Lucy - yes indeed, Lucy, why?

    Bonnie - dogs are as disposable as everything else we 'use'

    Pondside - it's almost cruelty, but the puppies are so 'cute' to look at

    Martin H - you said it, Martin

    Darlene - you could still borrow one for company, couldn't you? we also have the free Vet service at the People's Dispensary for Sick Animals, where you give only as much as you can afford.

    Prospero - say hello to Angelina

    English Rider - Good for you, I hate it when dogs are not treated as they should be. Benno still has no idea how to play with other dogs.

    elizabethm - thanks Elizabeth

  15. All true. We welcome dogs to our fireside, to be alongside us as companions. They work and are loyal to OUR cause. In return they deserve respect I feel.

  16. As I sit here in front of the window, yes, again in the middle of the night, see how dogs run the street, many times searching through the trash containers for food. Athens is indeed a city filled with 'dogs being once a gift', you see them everywhere.
    It seems as if this entry of yours is much needed, still.
    A wonderful weekend for you all.

  17. Very Fine post !! The last few words are fabulous !! Great work !!Unseen Rajasthan

  18. Fran Hill - I wish it were, maybe this subject should be on the curriculum

    Glenn Buttkus - we and most other pet owners have had to perform a similar service; it is a most traumatic time; we too cried for a long time after another dog died. One day we will have to do this for Benno too.

    mountainear - you are right, this is how it should be.

    Robert - I would find it very hard to walk by and do nothing. thank you for your good wishes.

    Unseen Rajasthan - thank you for your kind words.

  19. As a long-time adopter of cats, I feel the same way as you: if we take animals into our lives we need to care for them properly or let them go to someone who can do so if we find later on that we can't.

    And rescued animals have so much to offer us in return!

  20. Forget about a cute puppy! just love the dog and look after it!. we have a lab and his name is Robbie. Great boy!

  21. rachel - Don't they just, all that almost visible gratitude!

    Keats The Sunshine Girl - Hello there, thank you for visiting. Hello to Robbie too. I have never yet met a non-great lablie!

  22. Sometimes I wish everyone on the planet would read these blogs and the comments left by readers... Humans in many ways do not have a good record with how they treat animals. It is encouraging to read the comments, and the post is one of those essential "must reads." Here is another great one... purchasing ducklings and chicks for Easter Baskets! Arrrgh.

    Your Labbie is a beauty. I am smiling... he doesn't need to play with other dogs ;-) He has you!

    We are charmed by and loving our pup, even as he grows before our eyes! His character is blooming, we are very blessed by him.

    Thanks for another great post!


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