Next Sunday and the one following that the SPA will be open, so today the volunteers are enjoying a Sunday afternoon at home, many of us with our own dogs.
Of course there is nothing better than a Sunday walk, especially in these warm and sunny autumn days. However one thing is almost guaranteed to spoil a walk; the sight of men clothed in green carrying guns. Yes, it is the dreaded hunt! Being in animal protection means that by definition the SPA is anti-hunt, however, as far as the dogs are concerned, we know that there are good hunters out there, ones who adore their dogs and treat them well. Their dogs are effectively family pets, but pets who spend lots more time outside with their owners than the average dog. On the other hand (and far more commonly, sadly), we see dogs who are left in appalling conditions, unvaccinated, unloved, undernourished and all too often abandoned when they are no longer of use.
When hunt breeds arrive at the SPA they often share certain characteristics. They are unually unacustomed to being on the lead, and jump and twist to escape. They are often very timid, unused as they are to affection (remember, to many hunters dogs are just tools, and you wouldn’t be affectionate towards a hammer, so why would you be nice to a dog?). Many of them are not housetrained, and far too many of them underweight and / or have had multiple puppies.
There tends to be a mass arrival of hunt dogs at both the start and end of the season, when dogs are tested for their prowess on the hunt. Why keep a dog who is not going to pull its weight? Despite regulations to the contrary, hunt dogs often arrive with no identification, leaving us unable to find their owners, (even if we wanted to). And as you know, collecting a dog from the SPA involves a certain financial outlay,as owners must pay the vet for the dog to be identified. Why would you do that for a dog who is of no use?
Of course there are hunt type dogs who have probably never hunted in their lives, and who have found themselves at the SPA for completely different reasons. They may have been family pets, so are not timid, and they are often house trained. However one thing they will have in common with the hunt “escapees”, is that they will have a tendency to be led by their noses. And it is this instinct which is probably the most difficult to deal with when adopting a long-eared dog.
There are guides to help with housetraining, and overcoming a dog’s timidity is often just a question of love and patience. However the solution to a dog’s tendency to wander is quite often to keep him or her on the lead. However as the hunt dogs are amongst the most beautiful in the world ( and no, this is not opinion, it is FACT 🙂 ), you will probably want to keep them as close to your side as possible!
Recent arrival Ellie. She has clearly had multiple litters and is terribly thin.
Dumbo is quite a different character, friendly and affectionate and probably a family pet, despite his long ears.