Ever since I got involved in animal rescue when I first moved to this country, I have always maintained that the attitude to street animals here is mainly one of ignorance. I have been saying for so long (and my rescue friends will back me up) that education is the key to changing how people think..
The men working on the industrial estate have watched us for weeks now as we feed the dogs every day, administer worm tablets to the puppies, and give doses of immune booster to as many as 30 dogs. At first they are bemused and watch in silence. Then they are curious and start to talk to us about what we are doing. We tell them everything about how to look after these animals. We assure them that if they are fed regularly, they will no longer have to fight each other for food and will become less aggressive as a result. They have now been able to see this for themselves.
Some have even taken a step further. The man who owns the estate café is now feeding them in the evening. Another man from our village brought a big container of food for them yesterday. We are now seeing large containers of water dotted about which are refilled every day, because we have told everyone how essential it is for animals to have water every day, not just in the hot weather, as some mistakenly think.
This morning, the dogs didn't eat all the food we put down for them...because they are no longer starving. The man who gave his chained up dog fishbones, an onion and stale bread last week, has taken note of what we said and is now bringing more suitable leftovers.
The mum with the large litter of pups is safe in the abandoned car. The notice that Mr A put on the car telling people not to touch the pups or mum has been heeded. When we were about to refill her water bowl outside the car, we saw that it had already been cleaned and refilled. Sadly, there are only 8 pups now but they all seem OK...Mr A managed to remove the dead puppies this morning. Mum is moving about today and seems less lethargic than yesterday. We gave her a meal of cheese, yogurt and milk today, to provide extra calcium.
Eventually we hope that we can find reliable men on the estate to take responsibility for all these dogs. Maybe we will reach a point where we don't have to go every day, and can just provide sacks of food, and do regular checks to see if everything is OK. It's early days yet of course, but it's heading in the right direction. Perhaps we will then be able to concentrate on another local area and repeat the feeding (and education) programme. We would also like to get permission from the local school to go in and talk to the children and get them on board. We have tried this before and it hasn't been welcome, but we will try again.
I sobbed my heart out yesterday because with all these new pups, everything just seemed so hopeless. Today my heart sings. Finally, slowly but surely, the message is getting across. This is more than we could have hoped to achieve in a relatively short space of time.
You can follow my daily updates on the link at the head of this page. A massive thankyou to those of you who have donated, which has made all this possible. Bless you.