“Saving one dog will not change the world, but surely for that one dog, the world will change forever.” – Karen Davison
In 1824 the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was founded (SPCA). This was the first charity of its kind and worked to safeguard the future of vulnerable animals by introducing the mantra that they too had a right to be protected against cruelty, neglect and maltreatment. This idea that animal welfare should be protected was written into British law with the introduction of the “Cruelty to Animals Act 1835“.
This legislation, as well as the introduction of companionship breeding and a growing interest in dog showing has helped change people’s perception of dogs. Dogs which were once used solely as working breeds have now become family pets, equally at home on a sofa as their counterparts are on a farm. Since the Victorian era Britain has become a country populated by animal lovers, with the dog further earning its title of ‘man’s best friend’ as well as pride of place within homes as the nation’s most beloved pet. Today there are an estimated 8.5 million homes with a resident dog in the United Kingdom alone. Alongside our growing love of dogs is also unfortunately a growing amount of back yard breeders and puppy farms which breed poor quality puppies and ‘designer dogs’ to quench the growing demand for cute, affordable animals. As a result of this careless breeding and society’s fickle need for puppies the amount of unwanted dogs has risen alarmingly with the amount of dogs relinquished into rescues, being put to sleep or simply abandoned now at almost unmanageable levels. In the past 12 months alone Dogs Trust centres have picked up approximately 111,986 dogs from British streets.
In a bid to save the fate of these dogs there are now hundreds of animal shelters and a growing number of breed specific charities dedicated to helping rescue, rehabilitate and rehome unwanted dogs. Almost all of these rescues are run entirely by volunteers and have to rely only on fundraising, donations from the public and the goodwill of their supporters to cover all costs involved with animal care. These range from neutering, routine veterinary fees, urgent medical care, vaccinations and worming, as well as food, transport etc… Whether it is dogs in danger of being put to sleep, an owner who can no longer care for their dog, or dogs that have been in the long term care of a pound, rescue volunteers are called upon to foster these dogs into their own home and help address any behavioral problems, provide training and most of all rebuild the animal’s trust. This process may take weeks, months or years with some dogs in care struggling to recover from severe neglect or cruelty. The lives of so many dogs are often in the hands of average individuals who willingly give up their own time to work relentlessly to fundraise and support these rescues.
Malamute Matters is a fundraising group which helps raise funds for a selection of dog rescues who operate entirely on a voluntary basis. The charity began as a fundraising endeavour answering the plight of an Alaskan malamute called Alfie, a rescue dog who needed costly surgery to save his sight. Since then it has raised over £18,000 in the past year through fundraising efforts and auctions in addition to opening an online store that stocks a range of apparel and dog related merchandise including toys, working equipment and treats. The money is split between several charities including Saints Sled Dog Rescue, Helping Hearts Animal Rescue, S.H.A.R.E (Siberian Husky Aid Rescue Education), UK German Shepherd Rescue and many more. Malamute Matters also offers a variety of grants and run incentives to help emergency cases.
Despite rescue volunteers’ best efforts, the stream of unwanted dogs only seems to continue to grow. Dogs are being abandoned in their thousands and there are simply not enough homes, rescues are full with waiting lists filling up fast. However, despite this never ending cycle and bleak outlook there are still success stories, dogs who overcome sometimes overwhelming odds and go on to become much loved family pets and it all relies on those individuals who will go that extra mile to save a dog in need. We may be called Malamute Matters but all dogs matter to us…