When I think of Christmas, I think of family. Spending time together, playing games and eating good food, relaxing and reminiscing. Part of those memories always include our family pets-they are indeed part of our celebrations. We spoil them, bake some special cookies for them, and sometimes we even get a bit silly and dress them up like reindeer. Even the horses get extra apple and carrot treats. It ́s all part of the celebration and not only does it leave all of us with good memories, but I really believe that they love it too. They are part of our family and love to be spoiled once in a while.
This, however, is not the scenario for all animals.
A few months ago, while driving home from work, we came across a family of dogs dumped at the side of the road. There was a nursing mom and her 5 puppies. As we passed by her, she looked at us expectantly, presumably to see if we were her owners coming back to pick them up. Maybe she thinks it was just a mistake that they were left alone on a lonely road far from everything.
Now you might think, as we drive by, that we are just as callous as the owner who abandoned this poor family. But I can tell you that this is what we see almost every day, and although we have rescued many, unfortunately, even we can’t save them all. Puppies, lactating mothers, and old dogs crippled with age – all abandoned by their owners on rural back roads as if “out of sight, out of mind“ were an appropriate way of dealing with their problems. What do they tell their kids? Their neighbors? Their families? Does anyone tell the truth? “I just drove them up the road and dumped them-they were too much for us.” Or do they lie to everyone: “She ran away! “or “We found great homes for all the puppies!”
So, there they were, this family suddenly left to figure out life on their own in the woods. We posted their photos on our social media, looking for homes, looking for help, and although no-one contacted us directly, within a day, there was evidence that someone was feeding them every day. A week later, someone had built them a house to protect them from the elements. Not a solution…we all know, but certainly a gesture of humanity.
We have tried to catch them a number of times, so that we can at least spay or neuter, vaccinate and deworm them all, ideally to find them homes. But they are skittish and will not come to us yet. Over time, they have started to disappear, one by one. This last week, we have only seen one. Are they dead? Have they moved on? Did someone adopt them? We hope for the latter, but fear the former. Life alone for five dogs on the side of the road is not easy.
We are still trying to catch the last dog, and somehow, our goal is to find her a forever home in time for Christmas. Doesn’t she deserve to be spoiled? To be warm? To be loved as part of someone’s family? To be included in a family’s photo album? We think so.
When you celebrate with your families and pets over the holidays, please consider supporting our work throughout the year so that we can help some of these animals that need it so badly. We know that this does not change the people that continue to do this, but it can certainly change the life for some of the victims of their actions.
Every dollar that you donate (up to $10,000) will be matched this holiday season!
You can double the good by donating now to our equality for all campaign.