By Ciaran Lockhart
Leading animal welfare charity, Dogs Trust has issued an appeal to the public to be mindful about buying or giving dogs as presents this Christmas.
The charity has released a video advert reminding people that ‘a dog is for life, not just for Christmas.’ The advert features a little puppy made of cork, rummaging around on the Christmas dinner table. Set to a rendition of ‘have yourself a merry Christmas’, the playful pup finds itself swept up and left outside in the bin with the rest of the boxing day rubbish.
Dogs Trust, formerly the National Canine Defense League, is the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, caring for over 15,000 dogs each year through a network of 20 rehoming centresin the UK. Their phrase ‘a dog is for life, not just for Christmas’ was coined in 1978 and later trademarked. Dogs Trust have said that they ‘receive a call every six minutes from someone wanting to give up their dog.’
One local group who is all too aware of the plight of unwanted pets is St Columb’s Animal Rescue and Rehoming (SCARR). The group was set up by three local women who all had experience volunteering with other rescue organisations.
Anne-Marie O’Hara, Catherine Magill, and Jolene McLaughlin set up SCARR last year and have been caring for unwanted animals since then. Anne-Marie said that: “The novelty tends to wear off quickly when people realise puppies poop, need walked and a require good level of training. A dog can live upwards of 17 years, every day they will need love, attention, food, warmth, discipline, walks and occasionally vet’s attention. It is a massive commitmentmany do not consider.”
With so many dogs and other animals in need of care, groups like SCARR are encouraging the public not to buy from questionable sources such as websites where standards of care can’t be verified. often the animals sold on-line may have a host of health issues, whereas animals from rescue groups will be vaccinated, defleaed, speyed or neutered.
For those who are looking to own a pet but are unsure of the commitment required, there is now the option of ‘pet fostering.’ Becoming a foster carer lets an owner experience caring for a pet on a short-term basis with support from rescue group. With no obligation to take on the pet forever, a member of the public can see if owning a pet is right for them. Pet fostering is also beneficial for older pets, who may have lost their ‘puppy cuteness’ but are still in desperate need of care.
According to Dogs Trust they receive a few dogs that just aren’t cut out for kennels. “These may be puppies, older dogs, dogs with injuries/medical conditions or sometimes we just run out of space. We are looking for foster carers that are happy to take dogs into their home until we can find a forever home for them.”
To find out more about SCARR, see the animals currently looking for a forever home, the latest fundraising events or to find out how to get involved visit https://www.facebook.com/SCARR.NI/
To donate via paypal email@example.com