Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Hard Facts of Life

A big reddish yellow female dog had been hanging around our place for about a week.  I never saw her but Tanya said whenever anyone went outside she would run away through the back garden.  She was sleeping in our yard.  Two days ago, our neighbour from whom we buy milk, Victor, had all his ducks killed and eaten, he assumed by this dog.  He wondered if we had a rifle.

Tanya locked the dog out of the yard.  She dug out the hard path under the gate until she could squeeze herself back into the yard.  Last night, Tanya and Roman found the reason.  Nine little puppies in a nest in our garden shed lean-to. Good sized, healthy little black or brown puppies with their eyes still shut.

No wonder Victor's ducks were eaten and one of our neighbour's rabbits this morning.  She was ravenous trying to feed nine puppies.  And they were still little.  There was no way she could scavenge enough to feed them as they grew and they would simply starve, one by one.Roman would have taken them all home.  Lena would have left him if he had. So he moved them to another spot and put them on a blanket while we debated what to do.  We already knew the answer, we just didn't know how. 

The veterinarian in Zhovti Vody does not euthanize unwanted animals.  There was no way I was going to drown them, or put them in a sack and leave them in the brush to die.  I wished I had a .22 rifle.  We talked about trying to find homes for them.  Yeah, right nine homes?  And it is no use waiting until they are older to put them down. We left it for the night.

This morning Tanya went out to check on things and the mother dog had moved the puppies back to the nest in the corner of the garden shed.  Tanya didn't touch them or speak to the dog.  She started phoning people.  She remembered our neighbour Valerie had a rifle and called him.  He said he would come over in about two hours.

When he arrived, he and Tanya went to where the puppies were.  They were gone.  The mother dog must have felt something was wrong and did everything in her power to keep her babies safe. She is a good mother and is doing her best as she sees it.

It doesn't solve the bigger problem - can she feed them?  Will they starve?  Will there just be  more homeless dogs roaming the country?  Dogs and cats are not neutered in Ukraine.  It is considered unnatural.  And since there is no way to dispose of unwanted pets unless you do it yourself, most people just abandon them. 

People always treat and respect animals just slightly worse than they themselves are treated and respected by society.  it is a hard life.  For man and beast.


  1. Oh Daddy. That makes me so sad. I'm glad she got away though. She will make it.

  2. What a sad story. If the pups starve, succumb to disease, or get hit by cars, nine little lives will be senslessly lost. On the other hand, if they survive, there will be nine more stray dogs trying to scratch out a hard life in the world.

    This is why spaying and neutering are so important. I honestly can't understand why Ukrainians would be opposed to a procedure that could avert so much animal suffering.

  3. It costs money and animal suffering is pretty far down the list of concerns for most people. Getting enough money to live is the top concern.

  4. All I can think of is "poor mommy", never having a feeling of safety and showing all the concern for the survival of her babies. They'll never make it, and neither will she. Such a waste of a good, loyal, intelligent and feeling companion.

  5. The pups won't survive, or most of them but she will. And have more pups. She is an old dog. Yes, such a waste of a good dog.
    In too many places in the world, too many people live like that too. Such a waste of good people.

  6. It's gotten so bad here that animal shelters are over crowded and funds for such programs are being cut. With high unemployment people are just abandoning their pets. What to do?

  7. Only thing you can do. Put them down as fast as they come in. Cruel in the short run, kind in the long run.

  8. I agree with you. Here, dogs get treated better than the humans, lots of times. Come to think of it--euthanasia is part of that.

  9. This tugs at the heart. That notion Ukrainians have about spaying and neutering can and should be changed.

    In any area there's always people with strong humane feelings. The start of organizations like the Humane Society we have here is when those people get together and decide to do some things: create a shelter, urge local government to register pets, urge proper immunizations; perhaps most importantly, provide low-cost or no-cost spaying and neutering along with spreading the word about why population control is so important.

    I'm not saying a miracle can be worked overnight, just that determined people who join together to improve the situation inevitably do just that.


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