Puppies need care, attention and training, just like children. SIAN SOLOMON / 21121425
I have always admired people who are able to start a job and see it through, despite not seeming to make progress, writes Dr Michael Baer of Te Are Manu Vet Clinic.
shearers who arrive early in the morning to a shed so full of sheep that by
lunch you can’t tell any have been done.
builders who spend all day on a machine in a cutting, and by the end of the day
the roadbed seems to be at the same level.
workers dumping truckloads of spoil onto a pile, without the hole or the pile
seeming to get bigger.
Some Greek story about a guy rolling a rock up
a hill for eternity. These sorts of jobs, with their endless effort for no
visible reward, are the stuff of legends (like the Greek bloke). I have a list of them, and do my best to
avoid ever doing one. Way too hard for
In the last
18 months I have added two jobs to that list.
I have observed them first hand, at very close range. And I am perilously close to being involved
in doing them.
I have just enough breathing room to stay safe.
But I take my hat off to the people who do it. As should you.
after the puppies for the SPCA is the first of these jobs.
SPCA shelter is the second. They may
seem strange jobs to add to my list. How
can they be in the same class as a miner, shearer or road worker?
with puppies and dogs is fun, not work.
Anyone with a pet knows that! And
I agree, it is fun owning a pet and playing with it.
In the same
way my father explained why grandchildren were more fun than children; you get
a lot more breaks. (He also told me he
loves his children, but really loves his grandchildren. What am I?
that diversion into my family dynamics, how is it that I put these jobs
together with the others?
are equally relentless, and the visual rewards are as difficult to find. When the SPCA rehome a puppy, it is a moment
dog is adopted from the shelter, it is reason for a party. But I see the aftermath. If two puppies leave the market with a new
home on Saturday, I will do a health check for another litter on Monday.
five in. Yes, they may look different,
yes some are stubbies, some are big, some are small, some are fluffy.
are always more of them. And for the
puppies that can’t find homes at the market, the move to the shelter awaits,
when they are big enough. So, the
Of all the
jobs on my list, these two upset me the most.
Because I see them at close quarters.
Because they involve living animals.
And because they really shouldn’t be like that.
there have been 25 free desexing clinics around Rarotonga.
puppies keep rolling into the SPCA, one litter at a time. We have desexed over 400 animals for free. Yet the SPCA shelter is still full to
overflowing. Why? Because we could do more. We could have done 1000 operations for free.
have run extra clinics. We could have
put a halt to the stream of puppies. What
happened? Why didn’t we?
to those questions is best given by an example.
In April we ran a desexing clinic. At each desexing clinic we can do 25
animals comfortably. To run a desexing
clinic the SPCA make their welfare officer available to collect dogs, and he
drives around finding dogs.
We shut our
clinic and set up at a communal facility to operate on all the dogs which are
brought in. Do you know how many came
that day? Six. And five of them came from a different area,
brought in by the SPCA. We put our
clinic on hold, the SPCA ran on a skeleton staff, and we did less than a
quarter of the animals we could have done.
How can we
do better? Simple, we need help. We need pet owners to avoid litters of
puppies that are left for the SPCA to look after. We need pet owners to bring their dogs to
the Puna clinics, or to Arorangi. If people
can’t bring their dogs in, we need them to contact the SPCA for transport. We
need pet owners to have their dogs desexed.
We need all
of that because looking after puppies really shouldn’t have a place on my list
of relentless jobs.
Sally Wyatt on 22/06/2023
As sad as it is, the only way to reduce roaming dog populations is to combine regular de-sexing drives with humane culling of un-owned dogs (putting some dogs down). The animal management NGOs don't seem to want to face this unfortunate fact?