TRURO – It was the story of Dog 1 and Dog 2 that tugged at the heartstrings – and the purse-strings – of the members of 100 Women Who Care Truro.
The group voted at its March meeting in support of the Colchester SPCA to receive their collective donation. Taylor Mundy presented on behalf of the Colchester SPCA, alongside Colchester Ground Search and Rescue, and the Jane Norman College.
Mundy asked those in the audience who had a pet at home. She then asked if that pet was a spoiled one.
“Looking around the room, it certainly seems like happy cats and dogs like yours are the majority. But at the SPCA, we know that’s not always the case,” Mundy said.
In fact, many of the animals seen at the SPCA weren’t treated like pets at all. Some were abused or neglected, while others had been abandoned or thrown away like trash, which was the case for Dog 1 and Dog 2 that arrived in the Colchester SPCA’s care last January.
“You heard that right, they didn’t have names because they were not considered companion animals and were treated like anything but a pet,” Mundy said. “They never felt the warm snuggle or hearty belly rub before, and instead were left to fend for themselves, outside, cold and alone.”
Mundy explained how the two dogs were found abandoned on a vacant piece of land amongst piles of garbage and feces.
“They huddled together for warmth beneath a makeshift shelter of broken doors and shook at the sight of the SPCA team,” she said. “Besides having no warm shelter in the middle of winter, they had no food and the only water – likely rain water – was frozen solid. But if that wasn’t enough, they were found about 10 feet away from the body of a third dog, who had starved to death.
“Normally I wouldn’t call being caked in mattes and feces lucky, but at least they were alive.”
Many in the room were emotional at hearing about Dog 1 and Dog 2, but Mundy continued.
She said they rarely had any contact with humans – it was clear by their fearful behaviour.
“They’d never been given the chance to be a pet before, so when we took them in we knew there was going to be some serious rehabilitation before they could ever be part of a family,” she said.
Unfortunately, she said situations such as Dog 1 and Dog 2 are common at the SPCA, which has a strong emphasis on rehabilitation.
“To help animals become the best versions of themselves, our staff and volunteers work one-on-one with animals to rebuild their trust in humans and prepare them for their next stage in life,” she said.
Therapy includes training, playing and veterinary care, which can sometimes be a challenge at the Colchester shelter due to veterinary costs and the outdoor space needing restoration.
“Knowing that we have so many animals that have lives their entire lives tied up or confined, it breaks our hearts knowing they don’t have a space where they can be free,” said Mundy.
With the support of the group, the SPCA would be able to help their situation.
“Currently our outdoor fence is so short that dogs can jump over it, so it can’t be used for off-leash training or play. Our outdoor kennels are also in need of serious repair. For lack of better words, they’re falling apart and the layout doesn’t work for us to be able to use it to its full potential,” she explained. The roof, she added, is a makeshift tarp that leaks, leaving the kennels useless in rain or snow.
The number of animals at the local shelter has increased by 33 per cent over the last five years, says Mundy, and they tackle difficult medical and cruelty cases. They provide antibiotics, surgery, and emergency medical treatment through veterinary services.
“Our dream is to be able to keep local animals here, but to do that we need to better equip our shelter for the growing numbers,” she said, adding if the SPCA were the recipients of the collective donation, they’d be able to redesign their yard to better meet needs for dog training and enrichment. It would also help create larger kennels to be used year-round, and proper fencing for secure outdoor space.
“It would ultimately help us continue to save animals like Dog 1 and Dog 2,” she said.