This week we welcomed Molly. A very small girl who is about 18 months old, has already been bred from, had 4 homes and was kept in a crate for 23 hours of the day for most of her short life. She is of course, like so many others, a victim of the breeding system and the ‘designer dog preference’ mentality that is epidemic in the UK.
The majority of puppy farmed dogs come from other countries, yet most people are never made aware of this. One such startling insight came from our partner Street Hearts BG who, while queuing for the Eurotunnel with a cargo of 20 precious lives saved from hell, noticed there were vans and vans of puppies coming over. They are brought here to be sold as though they are born and bred in the UK – to unsuspecting people for under the normal value and those who will exploit them for breeding and making money.
A kind person took Molly in, but found she was aggressive with her other dogs and so contacted us. We said no (as we always have to) because we are always full, but also because we purposefully don’t choose the ‘easy to rehome’ dogs. We want to fill our spaces with dogs who will otherwise die in the pounds or abroad, and we knew that being a ‘pedigree’ she would be likely to get taken by other rescues. Or so we thought.
We gave lists of good rescues to try, the main ones and also breed specific ones. But no-one would touch this girl due to her dog aggression issues and reactivity on lead (this is only because she is not used to walking). The advice from every angle was euthanasia.
Luckily the lady didn’t want to see that, as Molly hadn’t even yet begun to live. With no other option she came back to us begging and without any other suggestions we took her in as a rare exception. Only a few hours after she arrived she’d already met all the dogs and we have as of yet had no issues, but she will need full assessment as she has had a very mixed up life.
We know we will be inundated and be able to rehome Molly, but that is not the point. It has to be made clear that all who fund the breeding of, fuel the demand for, and give up their dogs to rescue are causing the problem and that is why there are so few homes out there for dogs of no particular breed, the unpopular breeds and those who are badly bred and have issues.
Breed dogs are used and abused and dumped when they go out of fashion. Many people still assume that rescue dogs are ‘damaged goods’ – that they’re the only ones with issues. Surely when you buy a puppy, you get a clean slate, right? But this is a common misconception. Dogs are individuals, like humans, with complex personalities that are a product of both nature and nurture. We get inundated by people who have bought dogs who have issues of every kind. The breeders are never interested of course and while we know we will get inundated with enquiries for Molly because her breed is in vogue at the moment – other dogs appear worthless.
The rescue problem is getting worse than ever. Designer breeds and ‘on trend’ dogs fund the abuse. It is an ethical and moral issue, ironically funded by people who say they are ‘dog lovers’. Most puppies bought in the UK now come from puppy farms. This is unknown by most.
The good news is that you have the power to stop this. Collectively we can change the current state of things – by turning away from vanity and old prejudices, opening our hearts with compassion and spreading awareness. It is a supply and demand issue – the more people continue to buy designer breeds when other dogs languish in rescue, the more dogs will suffer. The more people assume that certain breeds have certain attributes, rendering rescue dogs ‘damaged’ with prejudice, the worse the problem will become. We have written a blog regarding the prejudice of picking and choosing certain breeds and why general characteristics associated to certain breeds won’t guarantee the personality of your dog here.
Molly will be fine – we will work with her and find her the right home – but she is lucky. The problem is bigger than anyone can contemplate. Nothing will change until those with the power to change it (the consumer) make different choices.
Please – please always rescue, and share the message with as many people as you can.
To save a life is one of the most incredibly rewarding things you can do.