Awe Is Too Small A Word
When I adopted Susie-Belle in 2011 she’d spent 6 months living with Janet, her foster mum. Janet is the manager of the Diana Brimblecombe Animal Rescue Centre but the care given to Susie-Belle went beyond that typically given in small animal rescues. She had a range of problems arising from years spent in a puppy farm, problems I’ve now seen Janet address for many more dogs since Susie-Belle. Veterinary care for dogs coming out of puppy farms comes at a high cost and as soon as I knew the kind of money that Susie-Belle’s 6 months with DBARC involved, I pledged to do what I could to support their work with those who would take Susie-Belle’s place.
After doing various fundraising things for DBARC from the moment I adopted Susie-Belle, in 2014 Schnauzerfest came into being, the same year Susie-Belle’s book was published. This week, the amount of money raised by Schnauzerfest went over £205,000. The majority of this over 6 years has supported the work of Susie-Belle’s first place of safety and care, DBARC. I think Susie-Belle would approve.
But as well as fundraising, it’s always been important to me to write and tell people by any means I can, what’s happening to dogs in puppy farms. Not only to fundraise for them. Again, I think Susie-Belle would approve. She put me on this path and almost 4 years on from her death, she’s keeping me as firmly on it as I ever was.
By the time Saving Susie-Belle was published I’d adopted Twinkle, also fostered by Janet but for just a month. But what an important month for Twinkle that was. She experienced kindness for the first time in her life. My admiration for Janet’s work, and her role as foster mum deepens each year. Although I was Susie-Belle’s official, adopted mum, Janet’s always held a special place in my mind for Susie-Belle, for getting the life she enjoyed with us for 4 years off to such a solid start.
No doubt that Janet was the first human who Susie-Belle bonded with; one who showed her unconditional love and who cared for her, bringing her back from a point of abuse and neglect which almost ended her life. When I first met Janet I was already in awe of what she did for dogs like Susie-Belle; but now, having seen for over 8 years the relentless demands that working in rescue entails and the emotional toll this takes, awe barely touches what I feel for the work done daily by Janet and her team.
Caring for dogs who need a calm, loving presence almost more than they need anything else in their early days out of the puppy farms, is no small task. Fostering dogs who are so traumatised, who must be utterly bewildered by everything happening to them; to bring them out of their fear and offer a place they can begin to heal, both physically and emotionally, and then to let them go, is complete selflessness. A human quality which dogs who have been harmed by the greed of our society deserve to have offered in spades.