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Abandonment

Some months ago, I received a telephone call from a man who urgently needed to return to the United Kingdom. Another dog owner recommended that I might be able to look after his dog Sunny, whilst he was away. I said that as I treated them all as family dogs, giving them the run of the house, garden and large fenced in fields, I needed to see if his dog was sociable and not aggressive.

Some hours later, he arrived and brought in a lovely woolly German shepherd. His coat looked a little less than glossy and he was walking on the equivalent of the back of his palms, as his claws seemed a little too long. Otherwise, he was a very good-natured dog and certainly showed no sign of any aggression. I said I could look after him for the month, but that I needed to see if his vaccination papers showed he was up-to-date, including rabies and kennel cough.

It was here I should have realised something was not quite correct. The owner told me that when he returned home, he needed to load his car up for the trip back to the United Kingdom. As he had brought Sunny’s food and bedding with him, could he leave him with me? He took my card and promised that he would email me his contact number and he would drop off Sunny’s vaccination papers on their way to the airport. Being the helpful soul that I am, I agreed. As you might expect, I never received an email nor did the paper work arrive the next day. In addition, the telephone number he had used to contact me, he had now switched off.

After a while, I emailed the person who had recommended me to the owner, to trace his house. After a few more enquiries, I had spoken to his friends, who were in contact with the owner. Eventually I received the information that things were taking longer than expected and they would be in the United Kingdom for another month.

As another month went by, I contacted the owner again. This time I realised I was receiving conflicting information. Finally, the owner admitted he did not want his dog back. He promised to pay for his boarding and deliver the paper work in order that I could find him a new and loving home, but to date neither has been forthcoming.

The result is that Sunny has been abandoned and for why. He is certainly not a problem dog. He is in fact very quiet. Yes, I had to take him to the vet about his feet as he was limping with an infected claw. When the vet tried to cut them, the infected one came away completely. Nor could the vet cut the others short because they must have been like this for a long time, as the wicks of the nails had also grown too long. The only way to shorten them would be to grind them down to the right length with lots of roadwork.

When I explained this to the owner, he said that he always walked him on the road to keep them ground down, but they were not. He added that he never knew a dog to keep loosing his nails, but he was always like that from when he adopted him from Battersea Dogs Home.

Another problem was that as he is a long coated woolly shepherd, under his ears and under his body, he had solid lumps of matted hair that needed cutting off very carefully. Certainly once I did this and brushed him, he looked much better and his coat is now much improving.

Like other establishments that look after dogs for people, I must now make changes so this does not happen again. I will never look after someone’s dog without all the paperwork and take a deposit in advance, as neither kennels nor I are set up to find abandoned dogs new and loving owners.

Shelters are halfway houses that find dogs new homes, but they too need all the paper work and information in order to pass this onto the new owner. For Sunny, I have nothing. I only have his chip that will show the number, but like everything else, there is unwillingness to bother to transfer the chip to me, or any other owner. They have dumped their dog and now have no further interest in him.

Abandoning a dog does not show loving owners. For most of us if we had a problem where we would have to give up our dog, we would like assurance it would go to a good and loving home. We would like to see how the dog got on with the potential new owners and how they got on with our dog. Where this is not possible, the alterative is to take the dog to a shelter and ask them to find a new home. We would hand over all the paperwork and sign over the chip.

The other week I met some owners with four dogs, two they brought with them and two came with the house. If they had not accepted the dogs, the sellers of the house would have disposed of them one way or another.

Some shelters have special separate kennels with doors on the outside of the grounds, so people can leave a dog out of hours and the staff can process it in the morning. An alterative as with an older dog like Sunny, who is eight years old, they are not often likely to find a new home. In such a case, they could have a vet put the dog to sleep, but then that costs money. In addition, trying to find a new home takes time and for some people, they are not going to waste this or their money on their dog. No matter how much the dog may love the owner, by their cruel actions they show they have no love for their dogs.

Some people simply throw their dogs out of the house when they are going on holiday in order to save kennel fees, or when they are returning to their resident country. Some owners release their unloved and unwanted dogs onto the motorway, possibly in the hope that someone will kill their dog with their car, not realising that this can cause a major accident. Some people take their dogs deep into the countryside and release them there, expecting it to either hunt or die. Some just tie them to a tree and leave them there.

Many owners tie their dogs to garbage bins or even to thrown them inside for disposal by the cleaning wagons. There are dogs thrown over fences into people’s gardens or tied to their gates, hoping that the kindly residents will solve what the dogs owners are unwilling to do. Now that the law states that owners must chip their dogs, recently they found some with their skin cut open in order to remove the chip.

Dogs do not tell lies and they give so much companionship to loving owners, yet asking for little in return. Abandoning dogs in any way is illegal and cruel, especially when there are proper ways of finding your dog a new and loving home.

I for one cannot understand people who just dump their dogs like a piece of junk. Even abandoning dogs into kennels without an intention to pay, is actually theft, with the resulting consequences.

There are so many dogs like Sunny who deserve better owners.

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