Once Loved Dog Rescue

Giving hope to UK pound dogs

The heartbreaking truth for death row dogs

His last days on earth may be the saddest he has known. He is in a cold concrete kennel with no windows to look out of and no grass to sniff or run on. Bleach, urine and faeces are all he can smell. He is surrounded by many other dogs who are all going crazy in tiny, cold, dim cells and all are literally on death row. They have all been brought here to the kennels because they have been picked up by the council’s dog warden as strays.

Some will have owners who will claim them and they will go home but most are here because nobody wants them. I doubt if this dog will be claimed; he’s the “wrong” shape, size and colour. He’s “just” another Staffy/Staffy cross amongst thousands in pounds up and down the country.

He has nothing to stimulate him in here so he barks until his throat is sore. Soon he may begin spinning round and round again and again just because it’s something for him to do. He may even begin chewing his tail out of frustration and boredom.

You may wonder why he may be about to die? So do I. He is not aggressive and is perfectly healthy. Someone will decide if he is a “prohibited” breed and if he is, he will be killed. If he passes this test he will be kept for seven days and then, if unclaimed he can be killed regardless of his breed. I need to leave now. I’m standing on the other side of the pen staring into his eyes and wondering what I can do to help him. He licks my finger.

I’m here at the dog pound to see if I can get him a space in a dog rescue group. They are all bursting at the seams they say but that’s not quite true. If this dog was a different shape, maybe a Poodle or Labrador shape I could get him a space with ease. In fact I could find him a good forever

home quickly. But he’s not. All I can do today is take him into the outdoor concrete yard and throw a ball around for him to chase. I think about how pathetic we are. Me because I somehow think those ten minutes chasing a ball will help him and him because of his trust in me and need for a cuddle. This dog needs more than a ball or hug.

Once upon a time in his brief life he had a mother who cared for him and maybe brothers and sisters too. I have no idea when he was taken from his mum but it’s likely that he was taken from her much too early before he’d learned all about being a young dog. Is she still having pups? Are his brother’s and sister’s in other pounds? He has had a few cuddles from someone because he loves being cuddled by me in this concrete 12ft sq yard with bare floors and high walls. He buries his head into my chest with complete trust.

He may have had many owners too, increasing his sense of instability. Maybe he was used for dog fighting? Maybe he was too gentle to fight and therefore abandoned? He does have something: a number on his kennel door. This is his entire identity. It will be how he will be known by the vet who kills him. This number is not really his as it will be the identity of the next dog put in this cell within hours of him leaving for his last journey.

Maybe I can help him but more importantly maybe you can help him and many others like him. Could you offer a home to a rescue dog? Could you offer a foster space to a dog so that we can buy them some extra days before a permanent home can be found?

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