Our theme in 2019 is Compassion and it drives all the decisions we make at the Alberta SPCA, for the animals, and for the owners as well. Sometimes neglect isn’t intentional and our Peace Officers are trained to recognize when compassion is needed for all.
This is one of those stories.
The owner had hidden the dogs so our Peace Officer had to go looking for them. Once found, it was obvious the dogs weren’t at all used to human contact. It was going to take quite a bit of time and the right tools and techniques to catch them.
It was going to be nothing but a terribly challenging situation.
There were seven starving adult dogs, so feral and so hungry they fought for food and attacked the neighbour’s small Shih Tzu. One was a mamma dog, with six underfed puppies also suffering from neglect.
Thankfully, this story has a happy ending
Compassion played a huge role in this rescue, as it does in all our work to help animals.
Sometimes neglect isn’t intentional. In this case, the owner had developmental disabilities that left him unable to understand that he wasn’t providing good care for the animals. When the owner came home and found our Peace Officer and the RCMP officer there, he became so belligerent backup had to be called.
His fear and his inability to understand the officers were only there to help the animals made him act out in anger, nearly leading to his arrest. It was a tense situation, but our Peace Officer’s compassion for the dogs was matched by compassion for the owner.
Our Peace Officer gently explained how much the Alberta SPCA cares about the well-being of the dogs, and how much the dogs would benefit from some help. The Peace Officer was able to help the owner understand that some simple solutions would dramatically improve the lives of these dogs.
A moment of great cooperation prepared the dogs to be moved
The best start would come from building an area where the owner could feed the dogs for two weeks so they could get used to human contact and being in a confined area. The owner decided where to put the pen, and from there our Peace Officer and the RCMP officer built the fence to create a safe space for the dogs. It was a great moment of cooperation between two agencies and the owner who had resisted help earlier.
In time, we were able to remove all of the dogs but we left the most senior one, a German Shepherd. The owner, who had been so overwhelmed by the needs of 13 dogs, agreed that having one dog was much more manageable. Alberta SPCA arranged and paid for her to be spayed. The owner now keeps her in the house and she is much happier that she doesn’t have to fight for food.
The mamma dog wasn’t pleased when we first removed her. She was scared of everything and was doing crocodile rolls when on a leash for walks. But her life has completely changed. She has been spayed and she has gently been introduced into life with humans. She now loves walks and is getting ready for a new home thanks to the hard work of one of our placement partners. Her puppies, who had been starving and ready to bite instead of play, are now playful animals enjoying life.
All of these animals have received a wonderful second chance to live much better lives. The entire situation was driven by Compassion. Part of that Compassion comes from our donors whose support allows us to do this kind of important work.