Dogs From Abroad (written Sept 2015)

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I will be a bit controversial in this month’s column.

Over the last few years we have seen a large increase in dogs rescued from abroad. Most of the dogs have come with pet passports, but some have had false or incomplete paperwork. Many of the dogs have had serious health problems, often these have been long term problems that cannot be cured, only managed. Only last week I was called up by a man who was thinking of rescuing a dog from Spain that has a condition called leishmaniasis. This condition will need lifelong treatment for the dog, but it could also spread to his other dog and to humans. My advice was not to take the dog on. This may sound very harsh but I think we need to be careful in which illnesses we bring into the UK. What all these dogs have in common is well meaning people wanting to save a dog that has had a very poor life. I do wonder if the money spent on bringing these dogs to the UK would be better spent on supporting charities in the country of origin. This would mean that more dogs could be helped, rather than the few that are lucky enough to be brought into the UK.

In the UK, 21 abandon dogs are put to sleep every day. They amounts to 7665 per year. I am fully aware that not all of these dogs are completely healthy, but it is sad that we have to put healthy dogs to sleep. It would be great if we could find more homes that would be keen to take on a rescue dog. Taking on a rescue dog can be very challenging but also very rewarding. It can take time and patience to bring a scared and anxious dog around to become happy and playful. The British are a nation of animal lovers and I am so impressed with the number of charities that are dedicated to rescuing all sorts of pets. 

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