Animal rescue is currently hitting a crisis point for a few reasons. A vast number of animals were purchased or adopted during the pandemic, and now owners are finding themselves unable to care for these animals due to behavioural issues, finances or changes in circumstances. Sadly, other owners with elderly or poorly animals are left without any money due to fuel, energy and food price increases, so they cannot afford their vet bills. Due to the current financial problems that everyone is facing, there are fewer adopters than ever. So, in turn, animals are in rescue for much more extended periods; meanwhile, many are waiting for a rescue space to become available.
The pandemic caused the perfect storm; many owners were in an excellent financial position and either furloughed or working from home, so they felt it was a great time to purchase a puppy. The dogs bred during the pandemic were, for the most part, bred without any health testing or consideration for the welfare of the parents or the pup’s future. Breeders rubbed their hands together; there would be no members of the public able to view the puppies, and deliveries became the norm meaning there was no one to ask ‘where’s mum?’ or see their backyard set up. There were very few questions asked, and the breeders were even able to double the prices of the puppies due to the overwhelming demand. Now rescues and owners are trying to pick up the pieces while the breeders have run off into the sunset with their inflated earnings.
These poorly bred animals will be costly to insure and care for due to their health and behavioural issues. It is almost impossible to get a veterinary behaviourist appointment for many months because the qualified behaviourists are so over subscribed. Veterinarians have never been so busy or short-staffed, a real double whammy.
Many of you know the stories of the pandemic puppies that came into our rescue, such as Rupert, Lola, Scout, Zuma, Margot and countless others. These Cavaliers are in rescue because of poor breeding practices. Their owners either couldn’t keep up with the cost of their veterinary care or cope with these dogs’ challenges. These dogs aren’t isolated cases; their plights are mirrored across the UK and beyond.
The Cavaliers arriving in rescue have often been left without veterinary care for some time due to a lack of either time or finances, and sadly this makes things much more difficult for our vets and us.
The UK economy is in crisis. We are all feeling the pinch, and this may only be the beginning. The public quite rightly has become concerned about taking on a rescue Cavalier in these uncertain times.
We are a rescue charity that promotes responsible ownership and understands the massive burden of taking on a Cavalier with very expensive health problems. With this in mind, what will happen going forwards? We don’t know. Many dogs available for adoption are already on medication for health conditions; all pre-existing conditions are not insurable, meaning the adopter must be in a stable financial position to take a rescue dog on. We cannot lower our adoption fees further as these currently do not cover our vet bills, but we frequently reduce them for dogs with extensive health problems.
Bliss Cavalier Rescue has a Forever Foster scheme, so dogs that cannot be rehomed are safe under the rescue receiving all of the veterinary care and medication they need. Most of our long-term dogs are palliative care Cavaliers, some are too unstable medically to rehome, and others have severe behavioural issues. We didn’t envisage the need for this scheme would be so great, and the number of spaces is increasingly limited. We are fortunate that members of the public do donate monthly to help long-term dogs.
Like all other rescues, we have a waiting list of dogs needing to come into the rescue. We prioritise the list based on different factors. The wait is just too long for some desperate owners, but we do our best to help them. It is taking much longer to find homes for the Cavaliers that are currently in rescue, meaning the dogs waiting for a rescue space will wait longer than we would like. We have recently taken Cavaliers into rescue that more prominent and supported charities have refused to take due to their health or behaviour problems. We have a limited number of spaces and resources, as all rescues do. The future is incredibly worrying for us.
If you aren’t a Bliss Cavalier Rescue supporter, please support your local small animal rescue. They need all the help they can get.