First of all, let me say that this article is not aimed at pointing out a finger to people who opted to buy a dog over adopting. Each one has their own reasons and I am sharing here my personal reasoning behind our decision to rescue Timón to inspire others to consider adoption as an option too.
I always knew that I would adopt a dog and after meeting Sam, adopted himself, it just confirmed my primary idea that this is how I wanted to introduce a dog to my household.
Help A Shelter
Every country’s economic situation is different as well as the input from the government towards helping local charities. In the case of Spain, charities are on a survival mode with no financial help from the government and only relying on donations; most of them owe thousands in veterinary bills and heavily seek funding in the non profitable aim to feed, care and offer shelter to more dogs in need. With such lack of resources, they find themselves in a difficult situation where they cannot turn down a dog but still don’t have the necessary facilities to welcome more. Also remember that dog pound is still very much existing in Spain, known as “killing stations” where the dogs are living in horrendous conditions and put down only after a couple of weeks if not requested by their owner during that time. Local charities still try their best to save some dogs out of the local dog pound whenever they can but have to go through the process to leave some behind fully aware of their tragic fate.
Battersea Dogs & Cats Home is a well-known organisation receiving a lot of support and media coverage thus I did expect the shelter where was Timón to be in a similar position. Unfortunately, the situation in Spain is different and I did not realise that more than 400 dogs would be there at the time of our first visit. It was heart breaking but also eye opening as the team explained to us the difficulties that they were facing daily in Spain.
To comfort me afterwards, my partner kept on saying that the dogs were better here than where they were before, here in a rescue centre where they are looked after, fed and not suffering from mistreatment any longer for some cases.
We have been helping here and there but I always had the intention to use this platform to help more dogs to be adopted.
The best reward for the team devoting their life to the shelter as well as for the volunteers behind the scenes is to see the dogs leaving them with their new family. After all their hard work in rescuing, rehabilitating and caring for those dogs daily it must be a real motivation to keep them going. Sadly it’s a never-ending story with the ratio of one dog living and two more entering.
Do Not Support Dog Trafficking or Puppy Farming
An underlying issue is the demand that the society is creating for specific dogs with some breeds being so popular that it leads illegal organisations to make a business and generate profit out of it worth over millions. Many of those dogs are coming from Eastern Europe, mainly trafficked to the UK in horrendous conditions with most of the puppies dying on the way or soon after suffering from bad health conditions. Sometimes even stolen from their owner to then be sold again.
Before moving to Spain, I have met with Animal Rescue Espana on their day out in Fuencarral Street in Madrid. One of the volunteer told me that they were in the process of rescuing a 150 dogs from a breeder that was closing down with all of them living in poor conditions, many suffering from Leishmaniasis and confined in small cages the whole time. Although your intentions might be good, it is often not enough asking to see the mother of the puppies, as they would have two dogs including one in a good state not use for breeding that is shown to potential buyers.
So if you are to buy a dog make sure that you are not funding one these people but go through a trusty breeder.
Give A Dog A Second Chance
The general thinking is that dogs in shelter are dangerous dogs or come with issues. We can’t outlaw this possibility but in most cases dogs end up in shelter for multiple reasons such as the death of his owner, the end of hunting season, misjudgement of the responsibilities involved when getting a dog, no more useful for the breeder or puppies from unwanted litters. Also the shelter would not hand you a dog at risk especially if you do not have the knowledge about the breed or on how to handle aggressive behaviour. Hence why it’s important to be honest and transparent about your lifestyle and background when filling out the adoption form, as the team would find a dog that will be suitable to you and your family.
There are many dogs around the world, and wherever you are reading this there will be a shelter close by. If you are to visit a shelter don’t go there with a set up mind on the type of dog you may want, as it might not be right for you. We initially went to the rescue to meet another dog that was not Timon, a blond cocker spaniel, but who was already reserved. Thus we knew that we could not fix ourselves on one specific dog seen on a picture.
Also the breed that you have in mind might not fit your lifestyle, I absolutely fell in love with Sam’s breed that is a Springer Spaniel but I am aware that I don’t have the right lifestyle and household to welcome a dog of this breed.
Each dog is different so do their behaviour, the team in your local shelter knows best which dog will be a perfect match as they did when matching us with Timón.
You can find any dogs of any breeds or any age in shelters from puppies to Dalmatian, Westie, Boston Terrier… or Brittany like Timón. I truly believe that Timón is aware that he has been given a second chance and is everyday thankful for it by loving us back.D
Notice The Change In Your Dog
Timón was a shy dog, scared of humans and running away from us in his spacious outdoor cage when attempting to approach him. After just a few days at home Timon started to show a different side of him and his personality came to life once he felt safe with us. Timón appeared to be playful, funny, and clumsy and soon lost his fears. Today we are pleased to see how far he has gone since we have first met him.
Not all dogs are like Timón and in fact we decided to adopt him also because he had less chances to be adopted than other dogs if people focused only on the first impression they had of him. In any scenarios you will get to discover your dog over the next few months just as you would with any other dogs and always be surprise about how smart or funny is your dog.
Whether you buy or adopt a dog, the responsibilities are the same as well as the impact on your life. I believe that there are no words to explain the love that they give back to you but keep in mind it’s a lifetime commitment to seriously consider beforehand.
If you want to know more about us read about our 6 months adoption update below.