Tag Archives: Dogs
Just imagine the situation. You are getting older and are not in the best of health. You live alone with your beloved dog, your constant companion and friend since your husband died some years ago. Sometimes you think he’s the only thing that keeps you sane. But there’s one problem that’s destroying your peace of mind. That keeps you awake at night.
You’re finding it harder and harder to get about. The doctor is suggesting residential care but you can’t bear to be parted from your pet. And, you have to face it, even should you remain at home, what will happen when you die? Who will look after him? How will he cope? This is the agonising problem that faces many elderly people. Those who become terminally ill confront the same difficulty, have similar fears and worries.
This is where the Cinnamon Trust comes in. I came across it almost by chance when I was researching something else on the net. It’s the only specialist national charity with the sole aim of helping older people, and those who are terminally ill, to ensure that their pets are well looked after when they can no longer care for them. I’m amazed to discover that in the UK at least, it’s the only charity working quietly in this crucially important but almost invisible area.
The trust was founded nearly thirty years ago by Mrs Avril Jarvis, and named after her much-loved corgi – Cinnamon. It’s stated aim is ‘to respect and preserve the treasured relationship between owners and their pets.’ It works in partnership with owners, solving any difficulties that arise. Avril Jarvis says she has known many elderly people who have, quite literally, lost the will to live when their pets have died, but have been too worried about what might happen after their own deaths to acquire new animals.
With this in mind, the Trust enables owners to hand their pets over to the Trust before they die, or on their death, so that they have the comfort of knowing not only that their companion will be well cared for but also who will be doing the caring. Younger animals are fostered long-term with financial help from the charity or matched with distressed owners whose pets have died. Older ones live out their days comfortably in one of the trust’s two unique sanctuaries in Devon and Cornwall.
What makes these sanctuaries so special is that they replicate, as far as is possible, a proper home. Instead of kennels or cages there are sofas and armchairs, rugs and cushions. Even TVs. Everything these pets would have been used to. The Trust does more than provide sanctuary and match pets with new owners. An army of volunteers, the length and breadth of Britain, come to the rescue in all sorts of situations. From short term fostering when someone is in hospital to walking a dog for a housebound couple, to driving a pet to the vet or shopping for supplies.
If I ever win the lottery, there will be a shed load of money coming their way.
I find it almost impossible to believe that just over a year ago, on 19th May to be precise, I had never been to El Refugio, the rescue centre in Spain. It’s called El Refugio for a reason - it truly represents salvation for thousands of abandoned and abused dogs. They come in all shapes and sizes – some are old, some are hardly born, many are damaged physically. From the moment they come into the Refugio or into foster care, every single dog is treated with kindness and care – a visit to the vet, a nice bath, good food, kind words and above all a cuddle. And, soon, very soon we hope, the golden basket – a loving family of their very own and no more sadness and pain.
I’d left England the day before, May 18th, on a very early flight. I settled into my apartment, slept and prepared to go up the next day.That night, around 2a.m., I was woken by the most violent thunderstorm I have ever experienced. The sky was a pulsating electric blue, the rain lashed the windows, the wind howled. It went on for several hours. Next morning the sky was blue, the sun shone, the air was fresh. I phoned for a taxi to take me to El Refugio. I got there at 10. At this point I still had no idea of the enormity of what had happened. I soon found out. As I walked up towards the portakabins I could see it. The place was a sea of mud, the dogs were covered in mud, parts of the hill had slid down in several places. People were busy digging, hosing, sluicing. Marjolijn, a Dutch volunteer, introduced herself, showed me where to find a sluicer and we just got stuck in. A generator was brought in.
Everyone worked non-stop. All that day, and the next day and the next. People came from everywhere. The phone never stopped ringing from 7.30 am and into the night. The local radio station appealed for help. Another dog charity brought a van load of food. I hadn’t known it at the time, but over the next days I discovered that the deluge had destroyed all the food stores, all the medicine, all the towels and the blankets and much else beside. The weaker dogs were in danger and some died. From pneumonia, from hypothermia. It was the saddest of times. A time that no one associated with A.C.E. will ever forget.
May 19th 2012 – the pictures tell their own story. Bigger, better, stronger. Nevertheless, the demands are great and growing daily. Spain is in a dreadful state, the dogs are under even greater threat. El Refugio is constantly under pressure. But it’s still going, thanks to the immense efforts, love and devotion of the founder of A.C.E. Fabienne and team Spain, of team Holland and of Team Belgium – of every single volunteer, worker, student, supporter, donor, foster parent – everyone and anyone who makes this brilliant organisation what it is today. And the work goes on.
… well we’ll have to wait until Monday to find out. No I haven’t got that wrong. The people Oscars do take place on a Sunday, on February 26th in fact, but this year there’s another very important date in the Oscar calendar. For Monday, 13th February, sees the inauguration of the annual dog Oscars. The Golden Collar awards have been created by Alan Siskind, the founder and CEO of Dog News Daily, a digital-media and marketing company.
Uggie has two nominations!
It’s about time. Dogs have played an important part in movies for over a hundred years. The first being Rover the Collie in a British short, filmed in 1905; he was followed by many more. Some now forgotten, others enshrined in movie memory. Old Yeller and Lassie and Rin Tin Tin. Skip, Marley and Hooch. To say nothing of the dogs in family films like Hotel for Dogs and 101 Dalmations. They make us laugh, they make us cry. The cinema would be the poorer without them.
Blackie – a dastardly plot?
Of course there’s a commercial element to these Oscars. Not to mention their value in the marketing mix. Nevertheless, just because that’s true it doesn’t make the creation of the Golden Collars any less laudable. Apart from the recognition it brings to these clever, hardworking dogs and their owners and trainers, there’s another excellent reason for welcoming them. For it’s been announced that all the proceeds will go to rescue charities. And that alone is a good enough reason, in my book. And it’s appropriate since at least two of the dogs are rescue dogs.
Hummer- how cute is that!
Categories include best dog in a television series, in a reality television series and in a direct-to-DVD film as well as best dog in a foreign film and best dog in a theatrical film. This last category, like it’s counterpart in the people Oscars before it, has stirred up some controversy. Originally Blackie the Doberman, star of Hugo, was not included. Until the film’s director, Martin Scorsese kicked up a storm in the media, insisting on the stars inclusion in the list.
Cosmo-from Rescue to Film Star
It was unfair he claimed. Just because cute Jack Russell Uggie, star of The Artist, plays a nice little mascot who does tricks and saves his master’s life, whereas Blackie plays a ferocious guard dog who terrorizes children, that was no reason to exclude her. To add insult to injury, little Uggie actually has two nominations, the second for his portrayal as Queenie in Water for Elephants.
Dog News Daily responded by saying that rather than engage in a war of words about two extremely talented dogs it would leave the public decide, via Facebook. If it received 500 nominations for Blackie by 6th February, Blackie would be in. He’s in! Joining Uggie and Blackie on the short list for Best Dog in a theatrical film are Cosmo, as Arthur, in Beginners, Denver as Skeletor in 50/50 and Hummer as Dolce in Young Adult. Uggie in fact has two nominations, the second for his portrayal as Queenie in Water for Elephants.