Sunday, 14 September 2014

Manchester Dogs' Home Disaster

It seemed wrong that we let a disaster that is this close to our hearts go by without comment or respect so our post this month is in response to the terrible event.  For those who are unfamiliar with the horrific incident that occurred at this rescue centre, here is a link to a news article on the matter: News Report From Manchester Evening News.

It seems that the recent news has been showered with examples of how evil the human race can be.  In fact, I've taken to changing the channel every time the radio announces a news broadcast; ignorance is bliss after all.  And, while I'm concerned that if we don't all die of the latest infectious virus, or in a nuclear war, we'll probably be mauled by a police dog or stabbed by a junkie.  And we wonder why almost 10% of the population is suffering from depression and anxiety? (The Fundamental Facts, Mental Health Foundation, Link Here, 2007).

Anyhow, no matter how I try to avoid it, the important stuff leaks it's way through.  So it was through Facebook that I first heard about the disaster.  The fact that over 50 dogs have died already is beyond a tragedy.  However what is, perhaps, worse is that these were 50 dogs who, for whatever reason, were looking for a fresh start.

Anyone who has gone through the process of adopting a pet will know how it brings out emotions that you never expected to feel.  If you get lucky, you get an easy ride.  A dog that has few issues and settles into your home quickly.  However the reality is that most rescue dogs bring with them their own baggage - and I don't mean a doggy suitcase with food and a blanket.  These issues could be the reason that they found themselves in a kennel in the first place or it could be the result of a trauma that they suffered by being abandoned or neglected or abused.

When I visited the shelter where I adopted Caesar, I could not believe some of the horror stories.  In fact, it seems that Caesar got off fairly lightly as far as some of the dogs were concerned.  In the short time I was there, I saw a dog who had been living out of bins and was so malnourished that he had been brought in on the brink of death, a dog that had been found in a shed in someones back garden; unfed and uncared for.  Another that had been taken by social services along with the family's children; there was evidence to show that the dog had been kicked and every bone poked through her thin skin.  I'd like to tell you that these were extreme cases but you'd only have to look on any rescue centre's website to find that, unfortunately, they're not.  What's worse, some pounds will sell dogs for money with no home check on the owner and risk putting them in the same position that they found themselves in before.  Or, dogs are brought back into the kennels for reasons so petty that they hardly qualify as an excuse.  I've bared witness to these 'reasons' and I don't even work at a rescue centre or pound.

It wasn't just 50 dogs that died in the fire.  It was 50 chances to build something amazing.  50 blank slates waiting to start their lives again.  Waiting for a better home, for a better life and for someone who would keep them safe and care for them.  The heartbreaking thing is; they were almost there.  They'd already been taken from their sheds, back rooms, skips and owners who did not have the time or heart for them.  They'd made it further than some dogs could ever dream to come.  They were somewhere where they were supposed to be safe and loved.  They had a name and a bed.

I want to think that the incident was not further proof of the evil of which human kind is capable.  I want to think that it was some horrific accident.  And that an explanation will come.  But, in truth, the majority of the dogs in rescue centres are proof enough that the world we hear about on the news, the world that I try to block out for my own sanity, is becoming more and more out of control.  Just weeks ago, I accidentally heard a story on the news of a horse being attacked by a man with a knife.  I thought to myself 'what is this world coming to?'  Who would stab an innocent animal?  To me, it is crimes like this - crimes that cannot possibly have a sane motive and that affect the defenseless and the innocent that make my blood boil.

So here we are.  50 dogs murdered and a charity building that works every day and night to give them a chance at a new life, burnt to the ground.  I'd like to be able to offer some comforting words.  Or, at the very least, some reassurance but I can't.  All I can say is that I'm glad the number of good people donating, helping and of course the two men who ran into the building to save the dogs from certain death, exceeds the number of terrible people who caused such a terrible incident to occur (one).  And, I hope that, wherever that person is, just like the dogs trapped in those burning kennels, he feels very very alone.

And to all the dogs that died, who have remained nameless and lost forever, we are truly sorry that you didn't get the second chance that you deserved.

If you'd like to help:
Donate to Manchester Dogs' Home here

A wonderful channel from a centre called 'Hope For Paws' in America gives some good examples of some of the work that faces rescue centres today.  They have a YouTube channel and it's definitely worth a watch (tissues first)! Hope For Paws on YouTube