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For The Love Of Dogs…

For The Love Of Dogs…
July 07
12:09 2019

“The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated” –Mahatma Ghandi

Our country’s streets are littered with strays and on garbage days, there are probably as many strays as there are garbage bags as they try to get a bone, if not a meal out of a bag before the truck cleans up. Strays have been a problem to everyone for as long as the country has been developing. It is a problem for people whose garbage bags get torn apart for the leftovers, for the sanitation workers who have to then pick up the smelly contents to discard, for the passersby who get barked at while they pass, and for the dogs (and cats) themselves who must fend every day in rain or shine, whether they are well or not, for scraps of food and water in order to carry on.

But strays have become a problem because of careless humans who do not spay and neuter their pets and allow the animals to roam freely or abandon and neglect them.

The stray problem could still be much worse than it is were it not for a few good people who really care about these voiceless creatures. There are too few dog rescuers in our society and that is because it takes genuine concern, money and sacrifice.

For over 20 years, Michelle Rudon has been rescuing and fostering dogs, using her own resources, her vehicle to transport them, her money to feed them, and her property to house these animals until she can find a foster home for them. She gets called out of her bed many times late in the night to rescue some dog that had just been hit by a vehicle or that had taken up shelter in some dangerous place where its life is now at stake. And she responds to these calls selflessly and voluntarily because she cares.

Michelle explained to us that when there is a report of a sick or injured dog or cat, her first reaction is to try to find the animal and to take it to the Animal Medical Centre off the Philip Goldson Highway, which then examines the animal and makes an assessment of whether euthanasia is necessary or whether the animal stands a second chance at life after treatment. The accompanying bill is never cheap, but thankfully too, it often times is a discounted figure from what the real cost would be. Enter the Belize Humane Society.

The various branches of the Humane Society consist of volunteers – people just like Michelle who get up and drive to the areas where dogs are reported roaming or suffering from some ailment in order to try and save these poor creatures. These people are never acknowledged for what they do, but these unsung heroes play a huge role in the lives of the rest of us who scorn the animals they try to save while removing them from our midst, as for the animals themselves who need the care being given.

eLise Arelie, another dog rescuer, shared a touching and sad experience with us of a lactating dog that she wanted to help, but because of limitations, could not before the animal was struck by a vehicle. In the process, one of the puppies was lost, either to others who cared enough to help, or to traffic mishaps. eLise said she got the report of the dog that took up shelter with her pups in an inappropriate environment and went looking for the mom and her litter. She took food and fed the mother and became her friend over some days and then day by day started to remove the pups as she found homes for them. eLise was already taking the mother and her last puppy to someone who had agreed to adopt them but the person changed their mind and there was nowhere else to take the mother and puppy but right back to the same unsafe location. eLise said she wept and consoled herself by promising she would return the next day after finding them a safe home, but by the time she returned, the dog had already been struck by a vehicle and her puppy was nowhere in sight. With night setting in, she decided to return the following day and found the dog taking cover in high bushes with a broken leg. Needless to say the dog got the treatment it needed for a hairline fracture on her leg.

Rescuers keep as many of the animals as they are able to, but finding foster homes until “furever” homes are located is another challenge. Many times the unpleasant decision has to be made at the vet when a dog has overspent his time and foster homes or adoptions are taking too long to occur and the bill to keep them and feed them gets too high while new cases of other animals with more urgent needs keep streaming in.

The Belize City branch of the Belize Humane Society shared with the Reporter that the scope of animal rescue encompasses resources that are often times in scarcity: time, transportation, love, patience, money and a place for them to get back to health. “Finding a foster home is the biggest challenge we face. …Once we find a foster home for the animal, we take care of the medication, vaccination, and spaying/neutering. Once they are fully vaccinated and fixed, we find them “furever” homes. We just do what we can, hoping to inspire others so they too can help as much as possible,” the Society shared.

Animals have to be rescued because of human cruelty and neglect as well, the Society shared. There are people, children and adults, who do cruel things to animals that are not worth repeating. These cases are difficult to deal with as well because, as we learned, the traumatized animal either runs away or fights back thinking that he is again faced with danger.

The Society and the rescuers appeal to people who see sick or injured animals or animals in danger to join in the effort to save these animals while preventing those same animals from becoming nuisances in their area. They encourage people to give a hoot and see if they can get the animals to the Animal Medical Centre and they will take care of the rest.

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