What Can I Do?

Since I wrote the post about Fionn, the dog who survived against all odds, I’ve had a lot of thoughts churning around inside my brain.


The animal welfare situation is the worst it’s ever been in Ireland.  On top of the usual abuse, misuse and neglect, there are many animals in crisis due to the recession.  Some people can’t afford veterinary care for their pets – hell, some people can’t even afford to feed their pets.  For some reason, many of these owners don’t turn to the animal rescue organisations – perhaps they’re afraid of censure?  Whatever the reason, starving and sick animals are being rescued on a daily basis.

Then there’s the people who emigrate, leaving the family pet behind.  There have been several stories in the news recently of the ISPCA being called to a house, which has been vacant for days or weeks, to rescue an animal that’s been left there, alone.  I’m tamping down the part of my brain that is screaming WHY? HOW CAN ANYONE POSSIBLY THINK THAT’S A GOOD IDEA? and I’m trying to just concentrate on the animals and their rescuers.  I just hope that I never read about canine skeletons being found in an abandoned house, but it’s a definite possibility.

I don’t know where to begin with the equine crisis…  horses, ponies and donkeys are being dumped and abandoned in their hundreds, if not thousands.  The horse meat scandal at the start of 2013 and the subsequent tightening up of regulations has meant that low-value horses have literally nowhere to go, so they are dumped; many of them injured, most of them starving.  Equine rescues are bursting at the seams, fosterers are hard to find and it seems to me that the only option right now is to offer an ‘amnesty’ of a humane destruction service – a cull, so to speak.   Believe me, a cull is not such a bad idea.  When you see the body of a horse that starved to death,  the ground all churned up around him as he thrashed around for days, unable to rise, or when you read about a pony that was stuck in a bog for a week before being finally found by the ISPCA, too weak for anything other than euthanasia, you realise that there are worse deaths than a bolt in the head.

My friend Oonagh has done an amazing job.  Her Charity Walk for Fionn was a huge success, with almost 1500 people walking to show their support for our four-legged friends.  All in all, it raised over €18,000 for the Cork Dog Animal Welfare Group.  She’s since met with the minister for agriculture, Simon Coveney, and has come away with the news that new animal welfare legislation will be introduced within three months.  These are some of the highlights :

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Finally, the animals have a voice!  And it’s all thanks to this :

But what can I do myself?  I’ve donated to a couple of charities, I’ve promoted Oonagh’s walk, I’ve emailed the minister.  Could I do more?  Could we take in another dog?  Well, why not?  If we adopt another dog, we’re effectively rescuing two – the one we give a home to and the one who will fill the space it vacates.

So I started to peruse the websites of some Irish organisations.

Would they allow a dog to come to France?  I received a rapid “Yes” to that query.

Would the LSH be open to the idea of a third dog?  I cautiously broached the subject and was surprised with his enthusiasm!

We’d like a youngish dog, we agreed.  One that will play with Cookie but it must have a gentle nature so it isn’t mean to poor little Cinnamon!

Not too big, we agreed.  It has to fit in the back of a Fiat 500.

We’ve narrowed our choices down to two and I’m waiting to hear back from the rescue organisation.  I’ve been waiting a while, but they’re all volunteers there and I know that they’re under pressure.  I can wait.

Then I noticed that the Animal Refuge in Manosque was having an Adoption Day in the big pet store where we buy our dog food.  Let’s go along and have a look, I suggested.  Just to see what’s there in case it turns out we can’t take an Irish dog.  Ok, said Himself.

I mentioned it to our friends, Sprocket and Doodles.  They’ve nearly finished their massive house renovations and they’re looking out for a dog.  Would they like to come along?  Sure, they said.

So to make a long story short, this is Gari, the luckiest dog in France.


He doesn’t know it yet, but he’ll be going home with these guys, hopefully in the next week or two.  He’s got to have a vet visit first, to be neutered and have his vaccinations, but then he’ll be ready.  He is going to have such a brilliant life with them!  He’ll be spoiled, walked, trained (Sprocket has had a few rescue dogs through his hands over the years), spoiled, brought everywhere with them, fed, groomed, bathed, spoiled.  And did I say spoiled?


He’s such a sweet, gentle dog, about a year and a half old.  He was willing to play with Cookie and was super-gentle with Cinnamon when they sniffed noses.  We keep saying “If you change your mind, we’ll take him” but they’re not listening 😀


They’re planning to visit him in the refuge every day so that he gets to know them before he comes home.  They’re hoping to be allowed to keep him in their flat.  If not, he may have to stay in the refuge until the middle of March, when their house will be ready.  My fingers are crossed that he’ll be home with them sooner rather than later.


Meanwhile, we’re still waiting for news.

I’ll keep you posted.

PS Fionn the fighter is up for adoption now.  I’m tempted to ask, but in reality, I think he’d be too big for us.  Are any of my Irish or English readers interested?

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