Surrendering your Cavalier is the hardest thing you can ever imagine. People don’t ask for our help unless there is no other alternative, they are heartbroken at the decision they have had to make. With that in mind we always want to be compassionate and discreet and during a pandemic we have had to change our procedure time and time again.
In ‘normal’ times we often spend time with the owner and their family inside their home if we are invited to do so. It provides comfort for owners to hear about how the rescue works and each stage of the process from collection to point of adoption.
We have adapted our procedure to keep our volunteers and members of the public at the lowest risk possible.
Dog rescues are allowed to travel around the tiers for welfare reasons as long as we adhere to strict protocol. We can continue to help owners that cannot keep their dogs. We can not allow members of the public to bring their dogs to us and have to collect them from their homes.
As always before each journey the vehicle is thoroughly cleaned, fresh bedding added, seat belts and harnesses added, water is stocked up and first aid supplies are checked. That is standard procedure.
Since the Covid-19 pandemic began we have another checklist. Now antibacterial products are used to spray all bedding, seats, carpet areas and any areas that we touch. We have to carry not only the antibacterial spray but also hand gel, face masks and antibacterial wipes.
We now ask owners to print and complete our paperwork prior to their arrival if they have a printer, if not possible we can supply still but it is all about minimising risk where we can do. Paperwork can include a behaviour questionnaire if the Cavalier is coming into rescue due to behavioural problems and a surrender form.
The rescue aims to cover any questions and explain the process over the phone prior to our arrival to limit ‘contact’ time with the owner.
We try to not stop too often when travelling and keep the vehicle topped up with fuel, Adblue, screenwash etc. If we do need to stop we use gloves when adding fuel and are very careful when inside fuelling stations.
On arrival at the home of the Cavalier coming into rescue we have to remain outside of the property unless it is absolutely necessary and of course we wear face masks. One concern many owners have had is regarding our vehicle as they do not want neighbours to know what is taking place. We do not have our vehicle sign-written with the rescue logo or any details for this reason. We understand the need to be discreet especially at such an upsetting time.
We do ask owners to wear a face mask and distance themselves from us as much as possible. The paperwork and any items belonging to the Cavalier(s) coming into rescue will be placed in the boot of the vehicle, we do not touch this unless we absolutely need to until a later time.
Cavaliers are transported with a harness and a seat belt in the back seat, we ask owners to step back while we clip the dog in when the time comes. Dogs that are more used to travelling in crates or dogs that have never travelled in a vehicle are usually safer to travel in one of our crates. This will be discussed prior to collection and we always do what is best for the dog.
On arrival back at HQ all items will be sprayed with disinfectant and left in the vehicle for 24 hours before we handle them.
If we are collecting a dog from a home with a positive or suspected positive Coronavirus case we bath the dog as soon as we return, prior to this we handle the dog with gloves.
It seems as though we are in this situation for the foreseeable and we may have to tweak our procedures as things change. Ultimately we are just pleased we can continue to help Cavaliers come into rescue when they need to.