Thursday, 9 February 2012

Can you love an ugly?

It seems to me that we really are a nation preoccupied with aesthetics; if it ain’t cute and pretty then we just aren’t interested. At least, that’s how it seems from an animal adoption point of view because any animal that we try to rehome, whether cat, dog, rabbit or guinea pig if it is a
bit on the aesthetically challenged side they will wait months to find a home they can call their own.

Of course there is the extreme of being so ugly that they are deemed cute, like our British Bulldog Lola. But generally, if it ain’t ‘priddy’ they’re gonna get left on the shelf. So, in the run up to Valentine’s Day I want to share some overlooked ugly-buglies that are lonely and looking for
love. So, I ask you; can you love an ugly?

First to share with you is brindle and white staffie Brandy. She has been with us for months now with not even one phone call or email enquiring about her. Brindle staffs are, in our experience, the hardest dogs to rehome. For Brandy it is made all the more worse because she is going on 9 and she has a congenital skin fold on her neck that makes her look even more unattractive.

Now I’ll be honest, I’ve never really taken to Brandy; that was until yesterday. She came into our office for some respite from the kennels (she copes so well in them that we hadn’t considered doing this before) but one of the staff felt sorry for her so popped her in the van and drove her down.

Just seeing the stairs set her off with excitement. The feeling of warmth and the touch of carpet turned this normally placid, self-contained girl into a barrel of excitement and affection. We saw a side to Brandy we had never seen before and we instantly fell smitten. I’ll confess it brought me to tears seeing how different and so very happy she was from such a simple experience. She wanted cuddles and fusses and was so very affectionate. And she wanted a chew; something she’s always ignored in kennels.

It seems that Brandy has been truly hiding her light under a bushel all this time; quite possibly grieving for the loss of her former loving home/owner. Brandy came into our care some 3 months ago but she had spent 3 months already by that time in kennels on emergency boarding, paid for by Social Services (her owner went into hospital and never came out). Really, when you think about it, you can’t begin to imagine what she must have been going through all this time having lost her life as she knew it and now spending endless days, weeks and months incarcerated in a kennel.

The fact Brandy copes so well in kennels demonstrates what a special dog she is, but the reality is she’ll be lucky if she finds a home in another 6 month’s time because nobody wants an ‘ugly’. I truly hope I am proven wrong. And I can reassure everyone that Brandy will not be put to sleep just because she can’t find a home; she will be with us for as long as she needs us.

In reality Brandy is a victim of over breeding and our culture obsessed with image and aesthetics. It is such a shame to see this lonely heart breaking. I hope more than anything she gets to spend her remaining years knowing what love is once again.
You can see a video of Brandy playing at: