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The treatment of dogs varies greatly around the world, from outstanding to horrendous. But global rescue efforts are crucial in virtually every country, no matter how dogs are generally treated. This blog post contains just a few rescues that do excellent work. They exemplify the kind of efforts that go on day in and day out worldwide to help our canine friends.
The Family Dog?
Some countries generally view dogs as family; these dogs are the lucky ones. Other countries treat dogs humanely, but do not elevate canines to the status of “family member.” And then there are countries where dogs receive cruel and inhumane treatment as a whole.
Of course, treatment varies greatly within each country as well, so rescues and shelters are needed throughout the world. Thus, even in the countries where dogs are treated best, there is always a percentage of the canine population that is mistreated.
Canine Populations Worldwide
Do you know which countries have the largest populations of dogs? The United States leads the pack, with more than 75 million, followed by Brazil (almost 36 million), and then China (over 27 million).
Treatment and attitudes toward dogs differs tremendously between these countries. The United States is on one end of the spectrum, where the cultural norm is to embrace dogs as family. In stark contrast, China is on the other end of the spectrum, where the annual dog meat festival is still celebrated.
In countries with a very high percentage of stray dogs, such as in parts of India, rabies present a serious threat. This has sometimes resulted in the large-scale slaughter of dogs. Cultural and socioeconomic factors must be carefully considered in such circumstances in order to best advocate for humane treatment.
Meanwhile, global rescue efforts attend to the immediate, and often very desperate, needs of stray and neglected dogs.
Global Rescue Efforts
A global band of committed, courageous, and relentless rescue workers and volunteers help dogs who are mistreated, homeless, or abandoned. Their assistance takes many forms, from providing shelter and food, to providing critically needed medical services.
In Thailand, Elephant Nature Park Dog Sanctuary does inspiring work. Home to about 400 dogs, the Sanctuary provides dogs with the care they need to thrive, from providing a disabled dog with a dog wheelchair to enable him to lead an active life, to helping dogs suffering from malnutrition or neglect. Many dogs are adopted to forever homes around the world as a result of their efforts.
This video shows a disabled dog helped at the Elephant Nature Park Dog Sanctuary:
Animal Aid Unlimited helps thousands of dogs and other animals each year in India by rescuing street animals and providing them with hospital medical care and sanctuary. The shelter has grown dramatically since its founding in 2002 by a family from Seattle. The shelter employs 50 full-time staff now and has helped over 50,000 animals. In another part of India, exiled Tibetan monks teach people about compassion by providing sanctuary and help for stray dogs. Walkin’ Wheels dog wheelchairs were donated to these efforts to help dogs in great need.
In some countries, caring for dogs as pets is discouraged or even forbidden. This is the case in Iran. Courageous rescuers and shelters may place themselves at uncertain personal risk by reaching out to help dogs.
Pictured at left is a tripod rescue from the Vafa Animal Shelter the first shelter established in Iran in 2004.
In Madrid, an association of committed volunteers called Bichos Raros rescues the most needy abandoned dogs. Bichos Raros helps many disabled dogs who use dog wheelchairs, which they readily supply. Ultimately, the association supports the rescued dogs’ needs across a network of shelters.
ESMA also runs adoption centers and participates in consistent advocacy efforts for the humane treatment of animals. They will be receiving a Walkin’ Wheels dog wheelchair to assist them in their efforts.
The Animal Hope & Wellness Foundation in California does tremendous work to end the practice of torturing “meat” dogs before slaughter in Asia. This practice is done under the erroneous belief that torturing the dogs will make the meat taste better and provide health benefits. The organization rescues dogs destined for the meat trade, as well as raises awareness about this important issue.
Further inland, the Lakota Animal Care Project on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation works tirelessly to help the many strays found on the rugged South Dakota landscape. Read more here about their efforts and about a special rescue named Can Do.
Comme Chiens et Chats is an organization in Morocco that helps stray dogs. Many of the dogs are disabled, which can make it more difficult to find families who will adopt them. Sterilizing strays is central to the organization’s efforts in order to reduce the number of strays found on the streets in the future. To this end, Comme Chiens et Chats works with a large network of volunteers and veterinarians to accomplish their goals.
Global Rescue Efforts Must Continue
The humane treatment of animals appears to be gradually improving globally. Advocacy and rescue efforts continuously raise awareness, and consequently, the global consciousness level rises. Meanwhile, rescue workers and volunteers are on the front lines, giving voice to the voiceless — and saving lives.
Additionally, the media, particularly social media, helps people around the world to readily learn and share information about the treatment of animals and what is being done — and is yet to be done — to help them. All of this is making a difference.
Let the good work continue, and may we all support it in whatever ways we can.
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” – Mahatma Gandhi