An interesting moral question was raised for me today, and I am still not sure of the right answer (if there is such a thing!)
We have a golden Labrador that we took on about 4 years ago to stop him being shot. He is handsome, intelligent, kind, suave and happy.
Before my husband died we discussed giving him (and some lucky female retriever) a litter of pups to carry on his wonderful line so that we could have a puppy or two and give the others to those friends who had expressed that they would certainly want a mini Woody of their own. I put a couple of ads out for a female, and meant to do something pro active about it, but did not until the day before yesterday.
I went with my 11-year-old son to Nicosia on business. He wanted to visit the Nicosia Dog shelter where they have many unwanted dogs, and so I thought maybe it would be better to take one of these poor girls as long as she displayed good character rather than a pedigree or pure breed (more saleable I agree but that was not the idea.)
We phoned a friend of mine to find out how to get there.
She phoned us later (we were by that time shopping in Ledra Street ) and asked me what time we would be going as we would need to be escorted through the UN checkpoint as the dog shelter is in the buffer zone. I said that we didn’t know a time but did they have any Golden retrievers or similar females. I was told there was one. I took the chaps number and promised to call when I got to the UN checkpoint.
Later that day I called him – he arrived within 2 minutes. As we drove down the road towards the Nicosia Airport and wondered how he got to us so quickly as this was a long way.
We drove in to the Nissan hut area and were greeted by about 7 or 8 happy yapping dogs. We were then hailed by a cacophony of excitement from some caged enclosures housing 20 or so dogs each.
There were so many cute dogs all getting along together. I thought to myself that if there were so many humans in this situation they would be at best dejected and at worst surly or aggressive.
I explained to the chap that I would take a female of medium build to mate with my dog and produce 1 litter of pups if there was a suitable one.
We walked the cages, all the ones that caught my eye were male. There was a wall eyed afghan type – lovely, the poodle who put her head in my lap and wouldn’t take it of, scores of ‘ take me, take me please’ hopefuls. At the back of the 3rd cage was a golden skilos who didn’t bother to come over, her attitude was timid and she seemed to say ‘ well you aren’t going to take me anyway, so why bother’
After falling for many, the peke who said ‘ I do not belong here – you really should take me away’ the lassie dog with the dodgy eye, the puppies, the Alsatian, the many poodles – great intelligent affectionate dogs – I came back again to the brown one. My son agreed, she was the most suitable, and not so cute that anyone else might take her easily.
We asked the chap if we could see her up close. She was frightened (she seems more frightened of men than women) She has kind intelligent eyes, and wagged her tail when we communicated what we were thinking.
The chap whom I presumed was in charge said that we would have to come back to get her another day – I said that I would not come to Nicosia for months, but if my dog did not like her, could we bring her back. He kindly said that if that were the case he would collect her.
He said the lady who ran everything would be coming in a couple of days, I asked if I could contact her by phone, he said no – he then said that he would let me take the nameless dog (thinking I expect that it was better to give the dog a home than not) and came out with a form for me to fill in. I did that and gave him a donation for the dogs which he asked me to note on the form.
We put her in the car (I think she thought that this combi van was where we lived and did appreciate the padded bench seats)
When we arrived home we fed her – I was quite worried that she would hurt her stomach because she scoffed so much. We introduced her to the cats whom she didn’t mind, and to Woody – they got on ok, but it was not love at first sight. I gave her a basket in the garage and by morning she was almost settled in to the hole that she had made under the trees by the swimming pool. She has a thing about shoes and puts them in the hole with her (:o))
Today I put the dog shelter on the animal page of this site as I had decided to offer our support to the cause – I also entered it in to the Cyprus-directory.com – looking at the site I saw an entry which said
She is a Golden Labrador cross and is about 11/2 years old. She had 6 puppies about 4 months ago. Three puppies have found good homes. The 3 puppies that are left are all males, and they also would like to have loving homes. Lara is a very gentle mother, but has now been spayed.
I thought ‘Oh dear’ she is spayed – so I telephoned the number my friend had sent me and spoke to Sharon.
I said who I was and that I had taken the dog on Thursday, and had she been spayed – she was surprised and knew nothing about me, but explained that she was moving house, and that she met all the people who took dogs and how did I get in ?
I explained what had happened and what I intended – she reacted and told me that they do not allow any dogs to have puppies as there are too many unwanted dogs in Cyprus – I agreed in principle but said that these would not be unwanted, and I would be responsible for them.
We talked some more about our respective viewpoints, I had to have the dog spayed she said – I explained that I am going to get a female for Woody – better an unwanted homeless one than a piece of merchandise - she told me that I was being selfish, I agreed and said that I feel the same way about unwanted and starving children, and did she have children or had they adopted – she told me that she didn’t want to discuss in this line, - maybe we could come to a compromise. I would allow a litter of pups, keep 2 and put the others to death as soon as they were born ! I said nooo I am sorry, that I will not do! She said that she was trying to compromise and I was not.
I explained that I consider having well behaved and friendly dogs in the community very important for the educating of peoples who were always taught that dogs are dangerous and must not be touched or tolerated off a chain. That Woody is an ambassador, and that I would help with promotion, do their website free and try to raise donations - in the end she said that she would come down to Larnaca and meet me, ( we ascertained that we had in fact met briefly some years before in Oroklini, where they had lived, ) and she would bring some photos of the dogs now in residence for me to put online.
We ended amicably enough – I put the phone down with the impression that she was a committed animal lover who had dedicated her life to saving animals (her words).
About an hour later I received another call from a chap who said he ran the Nicosia dog shelter, and that there had been a mistake, I should not have been allowed to take the dog and that I had 2 choices. I could either return the dog (he would send someone in the nice van to pick her up as it was their mistake ) or I could have her spayed, and which choice did I want. I said neither. I asked him if it would make him feel better if I lied to him and told him that I would have her spayed . He said that we were both grown ups and that if I said I would then he would believe me.
He then told me that he had to put down 2 dogs a day, over 500 a year and that I did not understand the problem in Cyprus. I said that I had a pretty good idea of the attitude here and had been rescuing animals here myself for over 20 years and had noticed a marked improvement and that I did understand his concerns, but maybe this one had been given this chance and that it is possible that ‘ God works in mysterious ways’ and she might be meant to have 1 litter before I spay her.
He then told me not to quote God at him, I said I was not ‘ quoting God’ merely making a simile for ‘ the one that got away was maybe meant to’
Actually I was unable to explain more as he launched into a verbose attack about how I was the most awful woman he had ever met (he must have led a very sheltered life !) and that when I die I will be punished when I have to account for everything, that I broke in under false pretences and stole a dog and that if I go anywhere near the UN zone or the dog shelter he will have me arrested and that he was never going to speak to me again – finished with a flurry of words and put the phone down.
I do understand that the job he does is a valuable and depressing one, I also understand by his attitude that he is possibly ex military and still on a bit of a power trip if people don’t do as he tells them but I do NOT understand why as the policy published on their website says
'The charity is committed to the belief that no healthy dog should be destroyed and that all dogs should be protected, wanted, suitably homed for life and cared for by responsible owners.'
That he is in the position of destroying 2 dogs a day, surely they can’t all be that unhealthy ?
I have just finished removing the numerous tic’s from Tiger Lily (as we have called her ) She now has a clean coat, a comfortable bed, 2 nice kids to fuss over her, a garden to roam in, as much food as she need and hopefully a secure future where she can fulfil her potential as a mother to healthy, wanted, protected progeny.
Of course I would like to know what injections she received so I can do the right thing at the vet - Sharon - will you let me know please ?
I am interested in the feedback of all – diverse and extreme opinions are ok, and I will publish them here as long as there is no profanity – as I said I am not sure of the moral issue, but I am sure that a totalitarianist system is not a world I wish to live in, albeit cleaner, better fed and sterile.
I opened my book of karma on this question and it said
Signs of Destiny
Every culture has included some form of divination. From the shaman to the native doctor, the oracle and seer, someone has always interpreted the signs for us. This is as true today as ever it was, with a growing army of psychics and diviners on tap to help in any situation. It is only reasonable to assume that there must be something in it.
It would be appreciated if this could be published on your site as a reply to your article:
The policy of the Nicosia Dog Shelter is that all dogs, which are old enough, are spayed or neutered before they are rehomed. The reason for this policy is simple the shelter receives on average 12 dogs a week that are unwanted. The Nicosia Dog Shelter does not feel that it should encourage or condone the breeding of dogs in Cyprus. Indeed a lot of time and money is spent educating people and carrying out neutering and spaying.
'Mistress' will no doubt give her new Golden Retriever Cross a loving and secure home, a thing we want for all dogs. Unfortunately 'Mistress' aquired this dog for the purpose of breeding. The Nicosia Dog Shelter, as 'Mistress' was informed by the Sri Lankan worker, does not hand out dogs on speck but our vet neuteres, vaccinates and carries out a health check before they are homed, a process which takes about a week. It is not clear how 'Mistress' used her forceful personality to "persuade" the kennel worker to break the quite clear and reaonable policy. The policy is designed to avoid dogs going to inappropriate homes, which includes poor care, abuse or breeding.
The Nicosia Dog Shelter will not persue 'Mistress' for the return of Tiger Lilly as we are sure that she will be given a good home. However, we would like to ask the following question:
"Are 'Mistress's' dogs so extraordinary that their puppies are guarenteed to be more affectionate, better looking and more intelligent than the 200 dogs in the shelter who currently desparate for good homes right now"
If not then we ask that rather than bringing more dogs into their overcroweded world in Cyprus, she recommends to her 6-8 friends, who she says have already agreed to take the puppies, visit either us or one of the other 7 main dog shelters in Cyprus where wonderfull, loving and grateful dogs are waiting as 'Mistress' describes so well in her article.
Nicosia Dogs Shelter contact number: 99 868512
Yes of course you may ask, and I will answer (I am still awaiting your answers to the above questions which have been studiously ignored)
My dog Woody is certainly not more anything than any other creature on the planet - but - the politically correct position that has been taken here suggests that only the children of irresponsible, loose or destitute parents should be allowed to procreate.
My dog has not yet fathered any puppies - he has not had the opportunity. (It will be interesting to see if Tiger Lilly is indeed pregnant from one of the not dealt with yet dogs that she was living with in the shelter - as my vet has suggested, which would be an interesting twist on my theory that 'God works in mysterious ways') I note that in your answer you say that 'our vet neuters, vaccinates and carries out a health check before they are homed, a process which takes about a week. ' What happens to the dogs before that week arrives ? Do they not get health care, i.e vaccinations, worming and delousing ? Are they just allowed to mate in the shelter, I did note that dogs and bitches were housed together?
I did not know this policy of neutering. It was not written anywhere, it was not on the form I filled in and I was not told by your very nice kennel man.
I reiterate my questions above. And with so many hungry, unwanted and ill treated children worldwide, why did you, and I , have children of our own, and not adopt some of these ? Your answer may be the same as mine, who knows.
Click to enlarge Woody the magnificent