Rescue is a funny world. One minute you wave an animal off to its new home, the next there’s someone wanting rid of a pet they “love very much” and they’ve “tried everything” but can’t keep it. Question them and often their version of tried everything is to have not bothered to neuter, no training, no behaviourist and blame the animal. Sad cruelty cases, a few genuine owners in difficult circumstances, and the dogs who stick for a long time and nobody looks at them.
A harsh world where it’s easy to be jaded, cut corners or give up. I was, therefore amazed when visiting The Mayhew yesterday. A team that are very much together, supportive and eloquent. The highest moral and practical standards, animals amazingly well looked after in mind and body and an endless struggle to see if they could do anything better. Rarely am I impressed, as a rescuer, I’ve seen some awful rescues, but I was truly impressed by the Mayhew.
I got the chance to work with the staff, to talk behaviour, problems and reality, to hopefully add something to the already large range of help they give their animals. Actor Peter Egan was there, making sure a staffie got neutered. Peter is a supporter of many rescues, I saw him when I was judging the Wetnose Animal Aid awards as he gave a moving and tearful reading of just one of the tragic stories out there. Andi Godfrey of London Dog Forum was reporting on the day and there will be a feature on the site soon.
I worked with Eli, a young Staffie cross stray who had probably been taught that growling when he had something was OK. The staff had already worked wonders with his food problems, I showed them how to stop the posession and growling when he had something and how to make him give it up. This did involve me looking like a bit of a fool as I ran around their play area with other toys pretending I was playing and had a better toy than him. Very quickly (Eli is a clever boy) he learned to drop his toy and go fetch the other one and repeat. All fun, all persistence, not confrontational. Eli even got a round of applause from his staff!
I hope I have added something to their knowledge and therefore to the animals they can help and rehome. After a wonderfully positive day, reality bit as we were outside after the 5pm closing doing photos. Several people were still turning up to dump dogs, rude or unhappy they wouldn’t simply open and be grateful yet another dog was being left. And today it will all happen again.
Support your local, good rescue. If you can get to the Mayhew, I would recommend them. Even if you can’t adopt, there’s plenty you can do!
See The Mayhew Website and the dogs currently getting our special help here