Friday, 6 August 2010

Au Revoir

I've been feeling stress in my belly this week - in fact all week. Tis a rare occurrence so I know I'm not good and the last few days has driven me to sleeping pills to get through the night. I'm off on my hols in about two hours time and I think we've concluded that it's guilt that is making me feel this way.

This job is so tough at the best of times so to dump the responsibility of it onto someone else for such a long period as I'm away for is making me feel pretty bad. Don't get me wrong, I want my holiday, but this week has been hard going, again, and in the last two hours things have just gone pear shaped beyond belief and so of course my head and my tummy are quite unhappy.

This week has seen all sorts go on: reserves on animals, new arrivals, illnesses and a huge increase in demand to take in more cats then we could ever even hope to. It has got to the point where some rescued animals will be facing euthanasia because everywhere is over capacity. When you have to say 'no' to an inspector that weighs heavy on your mind. I did, however, say yes to a situation this week when I shouldn't necessarily should have done so I thought I'd tell you all about it.

Meet Missy (above) her owner rang me on Tuesday desperate, like so many genuine pet lovers, to take in their beloved animal they could no longer care for. He told me that he had been trying for 4 weeks to find a shelter that could help, but as it is with us and everywhere else, adoptions are few and far between and demand to take in is at a high.

The owner was now at breaking point as he was homeless and could not get new accommodation with a dog in tow. He explained to me that he and his girlfriend had separated and he had nowhere to live. He had had Missy since a pup and she had never left his side in all the 6 years they'd been together. They had even holidayed together; truly never parted.

I offered other numbers of sanctuaries he had tried but he soon came back to me for more support. So, I tentatively broached the awful subject of euthanasia because he couldn't keep sleeping in his car or on friends' floors. He took the suggestion well and understood that I was raising it as a welfare option rather than to be unkind. He could see the merits of letting Missy go out on a high, having enjoyed a happy life together, rather than subject her to kennels and an unknown length of time waiting in hope for a new home to come along. We finished our conversation with much shared sadness and I my heart really went out to him because he clearly loved his dog.

A while later he called me back. As he was not registered at any vet he had had to ring around different vets; each had refused to euthanase his dog. I told him about the RSPCA clinic in Salford and what he had to do but toward the end of the conversation I caved in and said he could have our only empty kennel (that was being reserved for an inspector's rescued dog later in the week). Whilst I knew I shouldn't have done it really, it didn't feel wrong, and I've long worked on the principle of 'we'll worry about things when they happen'.

To his eternal credit he thanked me for the offer but said that he had decided it was kinder on Missy to let her go than to let her live in a kennel indefinitely. My admiration for the gentleman was immense and we spoke about how he was taking responsibility for his situation and being, well, responsible.

I thought that was that and so the rest of the day resumed as it always does.....

But later in the afternoon he called back again. He said he had been to the RSPCA clinic and seen all the owners and their dogs and just couldn't 'do it' to Missy. He asked if he could sign her over and we made arrangements for her to come in the next day. (I had of course advised him that if we assessed Missy as unsuitable for rehoming we would have to pts and he was fully understanding of this and just wanted to give her a chance.)

So the next day we met Missy and her owner. It was a tearful separation but he was so grateful and even insisted on giving a donation toward her keep and we promised to let him know what happens to her.

Missy is truly a lovely dog. She has been very well cared for and very well loved and we have high hopes that this little girl will make a lovely family dog and live happily ever after.

Hopefully by the time I return on 25th August she will have completed her assessments and be up for adoption. Au Revoir!