He’s still there. Those big brown eyes staring at me through his cage. I walk by his kennel almost every day to say hello. When he sees me, he recognises me instantly. He never fails to show his delight at the extra attention.
I walk into the staff only section and reach my fingers through the gate wires to scratch his back first. He rolls over on his back so that I can try to rub his tummy too. If I have time, I might even go into the kennel with him and allow him smoother me with love and leaving me covered in his hair and drool in the process. I don’t have any treats with me this time, but he doesn’t care. He just wants to show me how happy he is to get this extra attention. How can I not love him back?
Leopold has been at RSPCA ACT for over 290 days now making him our longest term dog at the moment waiting… so patiently waiting for the right family with a tall fence to take him to his forever home.
I think it’s good for me to sit in the kennels with our dogs sometimes. While we have volunteers that do this and also ensure that they get their daily walks, I feel that it’s important for me to try to see things from their perspective every now and then. So, I sit on their blankets on the floor and try to get them to play with a toy, and then I eventually go back to my life outside of their cage proving to myself once again that despite all we give them; kennel nor cage will ever be a home. And so they continue to wait.
For the third year in a row, RSPCA ACT is hosting our annual “In the Dog House” fundraiser on 24th March that will benefit all our rescue animals by giving members of the public an opportunity to see what life at the Shelter is really like by spending some time in a kennel for at least an hour. People that have done it before have said that it was fun at first especially when they have other participants to talk too, but it does get old after a while (particularly for those that decide to spend the whole day in there).
We have been blessed to have Ambassadors that are also taking time out of their busy schedules to hang out with the dogs to raise funds for the Shelter. This includes political, government and business leaders like Senator Katy Gallagher, First Assistant Secretary for the Department of Veteran’s Affairs Narelle Dotta and Director of the National Museum of Australia Dr Mathew Trinca. Former Chief Minister, Senator and now Chair of RSPCA Australia Gary Humphries will also be participating.
What about you? Do you know someone that should spend some time in the Dog House to raise funds for animals in need? Nominate them today at www.actdoghouse.com.au. They only have to spend a minimum of one hour in the kennel, and I guarantee that they will have a new perspective of life at the Shelter!
Tammy Ven Dange is the CEO of RSPCA ACT. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @tvendange.