Dog rescue by Angela Caldin

I’ve recently discovered a new time-wasting Facebook-based activity which can keep me distracted from important tasks for hours on end. A while ago, a short video of an abandoned dog found in a precarious situation popped up on my newsfeed; an intrepid and persistent rescuer overcame enormous difficulty to finally succeed in saving the poor animal from its desperate plight. After a visit to the vet to treat wounds and combat infections, the rescued dog, plied with food and loving care, made a complete recovery and went off to a foster home until a forever home was found

So many videos

It was a wonderful story of human kindness and the possibility of recovery against all the odds. I found it uplifting and inspiring.  I must have given it a like, because ever since I’ve been bombarded by similar videos of dogs in dire straits. There’ve been dogs who’ve got stranded in frozen lakes, dogs who’ve fallen into canals, dogs chained to trees, dogs in cages, dogs hiding with their puppies in derelict buildings, dogs abandoned on motorways by their owners, dogs whose fur has grown so long they can hardly see or walk, dogs infested with fleas and ticks, and dogs with wounds inflicted by humans or other dogs. The possibilities for accident and cruelty seem endless.

Hope triumphs

But in almost every case, there is a hope. Vets, animal rescue staff and foster carers combine to restore a mistreated animal to health and happiness. I saw a dog so overtaken by mange that it had no fur and looked like a kind of marble statue. I saw a little dog whose fur was so long and matted that the surplus hair when shaved weighed about a kilo. I saw a dog so thin that you could count all its ribs and see the outline of its pelvic bone. I saw a dog that snarled and bared its teeth as it cowered in a corner. In every case, with persistence and loving care, these dogs recovered and went on to be cherished by new owners.

These videos showed both the worst and the best of human nature. In many cases, human cruelty and neglect had led to the dogs’ suffering, but human kindness and persistent caring had led to their recovery. It took a big effort and lots of dedicated care to turn these dogs from bewildered frightened beings into gambolling contented pets.

I thought about the Rohingya refugees whose camp in Bangladesh has recently been burnt to the ground and the children on the US border, separated from their parents, sleeping under foil sheets, packed tightly together. Examples of cruelty and neglect among humans are everywhere. Surely kindness and caring in these situations are somewhere to be found.

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