I think most people reading this will be aware that there was a huge fire at the Manchester Dogs Home on Thursday evening.
Even just writing that sentence makes me feel sick. I am a huge animal lover and when I saw the tweet on my timeline on Thursday night my heart sank and I had to fight back the tears.
I simply could not read about it. I took a twitter and Facebook break for 36 hours – I live in Manchester and know that my feeds would have been full of people making comments about it. I couldn’t, and still can’t, bring myself to read beyond the headline.
I can’t watch adverts for the RSPCA – the images prey on my mind for days and weeks. Whenever a cruelty case hits the press I have to turn the TV off or mute the radio. The stories and images that will have followed the dogs’ home fire will have preyed on my mind for weeks, had I allowed myself to look at them.
It’s strange. Since leaving paid employment I no longer watch or read the news. It’s simply too depressing. Wars, terrorism, genocide, murder. Not watching or reading about it doesn’t make those things go away, I know that. But for now I am happy to be ignorant of the extent of those things. I am happy in my bubble. for me, at the momen, ignorance most certainly is bliss.
What preys on my mind the most with the Dogs home fire is not so much those poor dogs trapped in the kennels; dogs already abandoned, some abused, but those animals that will now be euthanaised because there isn’t any where to take them. I see it so often, dogs that have been rescued from the PTS (put to sleep) list. Dogs that are fast running out of options. How many more animals will lose their lives because the facility is out of use?
Like many people I wanted to know what I could do. I thought, fleetingly, of going to the shelter on Thursday evening to assist, but knew that in reality the best thing was to leave the fire and police teams and the shelter staff and volunteers to it. I have donated to the cause here (and it is staggering just how much money has been raised in such a short period of time) and today I dropped off blankets, food and dishes to a local Pets at Home who were a designated drop off point.
But, then my mind wandered again. What about the other shelters who will now find their donations diverted to Manchester? I decided to take some more blankets and food to my local shelter. They asked me who they were for – they too had volunteered to be a collection point for Manchester. When I said for them, they said are you sure – we are giving a lot of our donations to Manchester Dogs. I explained I had already donated to them earlier.
But actually the really really sad thing is that such a place exists. It angers me so much that people take on animals but then dump them when something happens, or when they inevitably grow out of the cute puppy/kitten stage. Animals and pets are a huge responsibility. We have two cats both of whom have cost us a fortune at various stages…. one has a bowel condition which means he is on a special diet to try to control it and the other isn’t the brightest – he contracted cat flu from his inoculations when he was a kitten and once came home with a tooth snapped and cuts all over his face. The tooth needed removing – and that isn’t a cheap procedure!
It would be really easy to dump them at a shelter – I have much better things to spend £175 on than removing my cats tooth BUT, when I picked up those cute furry balls of kitten I made a commitment that for as long as they lived I would make the best choices I could for them.
If you take on a dog then that is a huge commitment – and not one that should be taken lightly. If you like the idea of a dog but don’t want the commitment then why not volunteer at your local shelter? Often they are looking for people who will take the dogs on walks and the such. A perfect compromise.
If you are searching for a new family pet then please please please visit your local shelters, rather than buying from a breeder. Animals from shelters need a second chance and provide such wonderful companionship.
We aren’t in the position at the moment with two young children to take on a dog, but I know that my husband is keen for us to have a dog in the future. If and when we make that decision we will visit the dogs home and give a dog a second chance in a loving family home.