You hear a dull thud, closely followed by a pitiful, heartbreaking howl. You turn to see that a dog has been struck by a passing car, the impact of which has sent it tumbling helplessly onto the pavement, a pavement walked by many feet.
“Would You Save The Life Of A Street Dog?” Guest Post by Kate Blanchard.
As you stop to get a better look at the injured dog, people push past you and a mother pulls at her son’s arm as he tries to see what you are looking at. The dog, a collarless brown scrap with ribs sticking out, meets your stare and emits a single, solitary yelp.
For a split second, you are overwhelmed with grief and tears burn at your eyes. What can you possibly do to help, you’re just passing through this town, you don’t know anybody here, you barely even speak the language and nobody else seems to care?
Even if you found somebody who could help, you don’t have enough money to pay for vet fees. You don’t know how much those fees will be, but you’re certain you won’t be able to afford them.
If you pick the dog up, what happens if it bites you? Everybody has told you that rabies is a big problem here.
In a brief moment of clarity, you imagine that this was your sister’s beloved dog, Heidi. If this was Heidi, well you wouldn’t hesitate to pick her up and get her to a vet.
But this isn’t Heidi, this is a nameless stray, born to another nameless stray, and destined to die namelessly by the side of the road.
The dog’s condition appears to worsen and it begins to whimper quietly – almost inaudibly – but you hear it. As you stand there alone on the busy pavement, with crowds still pushing past you, you make a decision (an easy one, really); this dog will not die a lonely, painful death because you chose to ignore it, and with renewed determination you bend to whisper words of comfort to the dog as you scoop up its limp, almost weightless body.
Hailing a taxi was easy and the concerned driver made several phone calls to locate a vet.The first one you go to refuses to help without payment upfront, and the next tells you that it’s best to end the animals suffering: ‘there are plenty more where she came from, what are you going to do, rescue them all?’.
But you refuse to give up, and the third vet you find offers to help the dog and will charge you half the price. Not only that, but he will stay with the animal until her condition stabilises. He is not a saint, he is just a man who has seen your efforts, recognised your anguish and wants to help someone who has selflessly helped another.
So if you see an injured dog that clearly needs help, please don’t be part of the crowd who simply walk past or turn away, please do something to try and help:
If you have access to the internet, try and locate a nearby vet or local animal welfare charity; charities will do everything that they can to help anyone reporting an injured dog, but they will ask you to do everything that you can, too.
Most cannot attend personally to every injured animal reported (this may be due to a lack of resources or available volunteers for example) but they will offer you as much guidance and support as they can, they may even be able to help locate donors to fund the rescue if you can’t afford to do so yourself.
Simply reporting an injured dog and pleading with others to help it while you would not, is never enough.
You may be afraid that the dog may harm you, and while this is a real and understandable concern, animal welfare volunteers will tell you that the vast majority of rescues involve passive dogs.
However, if the dog does display aggression, you may need the help of someone with a little more experience, and the animal welfare charities or a local vet will be able to advise you in these circumstances.
Nobody will blame you for not trying to pick up an aggressive dog, but please don’t use this as a reason to simply do nothing.
Prompt action can save an injured dog’s life. Inaction can allow an injured dog to die, it really is that simple.
If you wish to help a street dog, please support out partner charity, Dogstar Foundation.