TAKING IN a rescue dog is an option that many consider when looking for a family pet.
But one family from Gosport is going one step further – helping a charity that is saving dogs throughout Europe while a home is found for them.
It is about making these poor dogs feel like they belong somewhere.Richard Hancock
Richard Hancock, a 41-year-old bus depot controller, was inspired to start looking after stray and rescue dogs after a holiday abroad.
He said: ‘My family adopted a rescue dog from Croatia several months ago and she has become a lovely part of our lives.
‘Since adopting her, we have learnt more about the way stray dogs are treated in Bosnia and Croatia – and have started fostering rescue dogs for the charity Action Aid For Animals.’
Action Aid For Animals was set up five years ago.
The charity funds sterilisations and vaccinations for stray dogs in eastern European countries.
The AAFA then takes in the strays and looks to rehouse them – however, the animals can only be in that transition period for a short time.
The work that Richard and others like him do allows the charity to give these dogs a place to be looked after while a permanent home is found.
But the venture is not without its obstacles, as Richard explained.
He said: ‘Some of these dogs are in a shocking state when they are rescued – they aren’t house trained and since most of they have suffered abuse in the past, they tend to not be very receptive to human interaction. For example, the current dog we are looking after – Maya – is very nervous and has a limp after a car accident.
‘Therefore, the role myself and my family play is not just that of a placeholder residency – it is about making these poor dogs feel like they belong somewhere, and get their confidence back.
‘It really is an amazing feeling to help them recover and lead happy lives.
‘It honestly does break your heart to give the dog away after bonding with it, but it is nice to know they are going to a good, happy home.’
For more, go to actionaidforanimals.com