Over the last year we're hearing and seeing more and more stories of people surrendering their animals, many because of housing and cost-of-living pressures. We all know what it’s like to experience hard times - health problems, job losses, relationship breakdowns, natural disasters - the list goes on. At these times it can be a struggle to meet the costs of caring for your animals, who to many of us are our family and our best friends. It's hard to imagine how it feels to give up your best friend because you don't have another option.
The story of Spice really brought it home to me.
Spice is a sweet muscovy duck we rescued from a shelter in recent months after she was surrendered. Her family was in crisis and no longer able to care for her – or their two dogs. I received an urgent request from the shelter to take her as it wasn’t a good environment for a lone duck.
Spice came with two beautiful porcelain bowls, shaped to help her scoop up food with her damaged beak from a dog bite she received years earlier. A list of her favourite food was also supplied. She was clearly loved and it must have been a wrench to give her up.
A 5 hour round trip and she was safely at HoH. Understandably after her ordeal, she wasn't interested in much during her first few days. She wouldn’t eat, and ignored treats, which had me increasingly worried. A trip to a specialist bird vet assured me she was in good health and we resumed our feeding struggles. She slowly gained confidence and began splashing about in her pond. Then one day when I wasn’t expecting it, she whipped her head around and took a piece of cucumber from my fingers. Success and relief.
Finding a new home for Spice was the next task. She had lived as a lone duck - but was used to having dogs and people around her. A foster home was found where she made many animal friends - ducks, a rooster and greyhounds - as well as a human who was happy to share her house. It was love at first sight for all involved and soon became permanent.
Even though Spice has wonderful home where the cucumber treats are plentiful, we can't help but think this upheaval could have been avoided if supports were available for her to stay with those that loved her.
While Head Over Hooves is known for rescuing farmed animals, we think that keeping animals with their human families is a worthwhile cause that requires real focus. Community groups at the forefront of helping people in a crisis are asking for practical help to support these animals stay with the people who love them. We want to do something about this, and are working to provide animal food and supplies to community services to help keep animals with their families during these times.
If you would like to help provide delicious and healthy food to animals in need please make a tax-deductible donation today.