Thursday, 17 July 2014

Care of Magical Creatures

Hello readers and friends,

Mad Cow of the Deluminators here to discuss my ‘pet’ project, Care of Magical Creatures!

As Sirius Black, good guy and part-time dog himself, once said – “Judge a man not by how he treats his equals but by how he treats his inferiors”. We concur. Now I’m not convinced ‘inferior’ is the word to describe the non-human, but at the same time we do hold a position of superiority over them. We have great power and responsibility, and frankly in a lot of areas we haven’t done amazingly with either of those things. When it comes to the unacceptable circumstances in which we’ve put our furry/feathery/scaly pals, we Deluminators are passionate about using our own power to counteract some of the damage.

We decided to start local, because unfortunately help is needed in our own backyard, where so many animals are neglected, abused, abandoned, and killed. (*Note, no animal-harming happens in our actual own backyards. Only happy animals live in those. But the bad stuff does happen closer than you’d think.) I’d heard of Monika’s Doggie Rescue but never knew just how much amazing work it does in our region and how many ways I as an individual could help out. So I decided to gather a couple of equally enthusiastic reps and pay the shelter a visit to discuss what we could do, and of course hang out with a bunch of dogs.

When we arrived and heard the surprisingly not-annoying sound of a few hundred barks at once, one of us had to take a moment to breathe, another took a moment to cry, and the third was yelling at everyone to get out so he could get to the puppies. We also established the joint understanding that any dog, regardless of age, was a puppy.  Our excitement levels did not decline, and we were probably very obvious first-timers. But the volunteers at the shelter were friendly and appreciative of our help, and with a well-organised system for dog walkers it was clear that the safety and comfort of the animals was priority. The excitement of being in the company of multiple dogs aside, it was genuinely enjoyable to take a stroll along the quiet roads surrounded by fields and the valleys beyond.  As the dogs investigated every shrub (and puddle) they came across, and while we all sat down for a while in the sunshine, it was clear they loved getting out and having a bit of an adventure. Even if there was nothing else we could do, contributing to the happiness of a pup was rewarding in itself.

But there WAS more we could do, so after puppy-walking we stayed back to help with laundry and discuss future projects with a head volunteer. One of the things we hadn’t thought about was the huge task that laundry presents to Monika’s, as they provide clean blankets and towels for the dogs daily. This is another task I’d recommend volunteers asking about when they visit; it’s a sizeable job that needs to be done and is made a lot easier with more people working at it. Other than that, we saw a lot of ways we could be helping at different levels – MDR is grateful for donations of things like food, treats, blankets and even sweaters in these colder months (for the little dogs, not the volunteers). As well as this, fundraising is a main way we as a larger group can really make a difference with this organisation. In addition to the constant cost of caring for as many rescued dogs as possible, they are currently working at such costly tasks as building more weather-proof shelter for the animals. Discussion started immediately for us into all the possibilities for animal-meets-magic-themed fundraising opportunities. Watch this space for those plans!

Hanging out with the pups, seeing their individual personalities and how happy they were to be with people, it was difficult to wrap our heads around the fact that without Monika’s they would be ‘death row dogs’.  And I couldn’t help thinking of how my own dog – whom I adopted through PAWS, another awesome organisation we hope to help in the future – would have been the same. The volunteers from PAWS were informed that she would have no place in a pound and would have to have been euthanized. She was perfectly healthy, sweet-natured and beautiful – but the fact that she was a large dog, primarily black (an actual trend!), and already six meant she didn’t make the cut. This information itself was a shocking insight into the situation of animal shelters and the limited resources they have.

Last year, around 60 000 dogs were euthanized in shelters in NSW alone. Upon hearing this, many blame the institution, but the fact is that pounds simply don’t have the resources to accommodate for the sheer number of animals abandoned and surrendered every day. Seeing the dogs at Monika’s, I was comforted by the knowledge that they were at least safe from that threat.  Doggie Rescue commits to the rescued dogs for the rest of their natural lives if not adopted. But as well as immense dedication by volunteers, this demands an incredible monetary cost – which is completely reliant on donations, as they receive no government funding. Help from volunteers like us is entirely necessary to help keep these animals safe, whether already at the shelter or waiting on death row in a pound.

Most people agree that they’d like to help combat this unfortunate situation, but with its immense and global scale it can be difficult to know where to begin. So we’re starting here and seeing how far we can go. Anyone reading this can help in many ways:

- Keep an eye out for future projects and fundraisers we will undertake for Doggie Rescue

- Visit the shelter yourself, walk some dogs and have a great time in the process!

- Ask around and find out how you can raise money through your school or work. Please contact us for assistance on this, and we can help you carry it out.

- Talk to people about it! Awareness is everything! Spread information about the importance of desexing pets, as well as the devastating repercussions of puppy farms and store-sold animals. Tell everyone and anyone who’ll listen to ADOPT DON’T SHOP (a hashtag you have permission to overuse!)

And of course, be creative.  Like all causes we Deluminators pursue, this can be so hugely altered by the creative work of individuals, spreading the word and enacting change that only escalates and grows. Knowing that the possibilities are endless, and that the power of good people is all the magic we need, we are excited to see what we can do for those who truly rely on us.

Contact us below, or on FB or twitter to get in on the puppy-saving action!

Love and baby animals,

The Mad Cow (or my unofficial title, Alice)