I am not famed for being nice to people who abandon their dogs. In fact sometimes when people come to the refuge to bring their dogs back, I have to leave the office for fear of speaking my mind. However a dog was brought back to the refuge yesterday, and, as the owners were English, I had to deal with them.
This couple had phoned up to tell us they needed to bring their dog back a couple of weeks ago and we agreed upon a date (that way we can make sure we have a place free). In any case, yesterday was the day, and Swiffer was brought back. I was all prepared to be angry, but honestly I just couldn’t be.
Swiffer was adopted from us 6 months ago, and I was aware that there had been some initial problems, but having heard nothing for five and a half months, I assumed all was well. Swiffer was adopted together with his kennel mate at the SPA. The two had got on fabulously whilst at the refuge, no fights, not even during feeding time. However once out of the refuge it was another thing entirely. Swiffer didn’t want to share his new mum and dad’s attention and started attacking poor Whisky. Unbeknownst to me, this has been going on ever since. I had no idea. I asked the couple why they had not asked for help, and they explained that they didn’t want to bother me, as they know I am busy, and they don’t speak any French so couldn’t go to dog training school.
We have 2 qualified dog trainers on our paid staff, and numerous volunteers who could have helped, but sadly it was too late.I just couldn’t be angry; the couple were so upset at leaving Swiffer, whom they felt they had let down.
Swiffer is now nine years old and will not be easy to home. I have arranged for him to be castrated, so that even if he doesn’t find a home, he can share his box with a girl and that will stop him being lonely.
All this to say that please ask for help if you have a problem with a dog. There won’t be a question we haven’t heard before and it is much better to ask for help than feel out of your depth and alone, as this couple clearly did.
Swiffer is a lovely dog who deserves a second chance. His former owners don’t have internet, but I would love to be able to tell them by telephone one day that Swiffer has a new home.