“Rescuing” Street Dogs

My experience as their last hope.

I assume most people reading this article are fully aware of the feral dogs local rescues have been “saving”. I am using the word “saving” as loosely as possible.

WAIT! Just wait ! Before the title and first sentence upsets you, you need to hear my side of the story and where this article is coming from.

For arguments sake, if you own a foreign dog who is just frigging AWESOME, then you are the exception. This article does not apply to you and there is no point getting all mad about it.

So let’s start with my side of the story, shall we.

As you will see from the video below, I own a street dog. I do not own him by choice, trust me, I did not fly to the Dominican to bring this little street fighter home. A local rescue who spends their time rescuing dogs off the streets in foreign countries did. Then came my little three legged street dog, Amp, yes, it is short for Amputee. We’re sick like that! He was found with a severely injured leg that needed to be amputated. The rescue raised some funds and had the surgery done and then had him flown from the DR to Toronto. I know, I know, the idea behind it sounds great, doesn’t it? These dogs have no home, some are injured and they have no one to love them.

This is usually the story behind these dogs. They are taken off the streets, taken away from their pack and the only life they have ever known only to be “rescued” and “saved” .

Now back to Amp, the three legged street dog. Amp, like many others, are not used to very much human contact. Sure, the locals toss them food and hang out with them, but for the most part they are left alone to just chill out. Once Amp came to Canada and the meds from his surgery wore off, he started to show his true colours. They were not the most beautiful colours, I can assure you that. He did not like to be touched by humans. That made his chances of being adopted REALLY low. So low in fact, that he was going to be euthanized due to his behaviour issues. Imagine that, after EVERYTHING that he had been through and a crap ton of resources spent on this one dog! I was contacted two years ago now and was asked if I could take him. Long story short, Amp has become a member of my pack.

Now these dogs already know how to behave around people. They are surrounded by locals every day. So, when a street dog who was rescued starts biting people, it isn’t because they were aggressive with people prior to coming here. Street dogs do not attack people. They can easily co-exist with them in harmony, because the locals treat them like dogs.

My mother has lived in Chile for 4 years now and she is surrounded by street dogs. They are literally EVERYWHERE! They have their packs (families) and they take care of themselves. The locals will toss them food, but for the most part, they eat garbage and scraps they can find. My mother told me they have several different rescue groups who attempt to save these dogs. They capture them and throw them into shelters that are PACKED and I mean PACKED with dogs that just do not belong in cages. The locals have started threatening the rescues to leave the dogs alone because they have seen the alternative. The alternative is living in a cage with 5-10 dogs per run. Rarely getting out to run because volunteers and staff numbers are really low.

The local groups who sterilize the dogs, provide medical care and let them free, that I can totally get on board with, 100%, YES!

I am mad because rescues are euthanizing these dogs after “saving” them. They are medicating the dogs with Prozac just to help the dogs cope with all the pressures of life here. These dogs are coming into care nervous and fearful. They cannot handle being confined or being walked on leash. They cannot handle being cuddled, pet, dressed up and given privileges they have never had before.

Until rescues can understand what these dogs actually need and how to rehabilitate them and properly integrate them into society. LEAVE THEM BE ! There’s no point wasting all resources on dogs that will inevitably be euthanized for behaviour issues. If you think these dogs are coming into Canada and living life to the fullest, I can assure you, they are not.

This isn’t about saving the dogs in our own backyard, you wanna save a life, go for it ! I don’t care how or where you do it. People just need to understand what exactly they are doing and really think about the benefit to the dogs. If you have to medicate, muzzle and kill these dogs. Then are we actually saving them ?

Below is a video of Amp when he first came into care. Of course, he would resource guard food, as he was never taught to share with people ! He would have the same reaction if you tried to touch him or approach his space.