Like many other animal rescue charities, West Wales Poundies is fighting the odds when it comes to supporting their work at this time of year.
Unfortunately, the flood of discarded ‘Christmas presents’ will see the charity flooded with unwanted pets at the start of the year, although December doesn’t fare much better, as uncaring owners seek to dispose of older animals to make way for ‘the new one’ for Christmas. As volunteer Liz Handford explains:
“Rescues start filling up with unwanted older pets before Christmas, and then after Christmas it is unwanted puppies and kittens. It’s heartbreaking.”
Mumbles Christmas Market raises vital funds
Thankfully, the charity were able to raise some much-needed funds via a recent Christmas Market event in Mumbles, raising £570 to support their work, although this is a drop in the ocean compared to the demand for their services. However, the Christmas Market also helped raise the profile of the small charity.
Rescue Coordinator Lianne Evans explained:
“Osteme Hall was a good venue. It is on a busy high street, so we had lots of people coming to have a look round the Christmas Market that knew nothing about West Wales Poundies, so it was a great opportunity not only for us to raise money for our dogs, but also to talk to people about what we do – and more importantly how they can help, ie with fostering, adopting or just spreading the word about West Wales Poundies.
“WWP’s fundraising team did us proud as always, we might not be a huge team but what we lack in numbers we more than make up for in dedication. They never fail to pull out all the stops to make every event a success, and I am grateful to every one of them- .”
Don’t buy a pet for Christmas
While the Charity are keen to extol the venues of adoption over buying, which reduces the market for puppy farming, they, like many other rescues, do not encourage re-homing over the Christmas period and encourage enthusiastic new pet owners to consider holding off getting a new family member until the New Year instead.
Christmas is an exciting, stressful time, where your family is out of their normal routine. It is normally a busier time, grown ups are more stressed and this will add to the confusion for an animal who has just been plonked into a strange environment.
When you bring home a pet, they need time to settle in, get used to the scents and get used to the family routine. By starting at a place where everyone is out of routine, you are automatically off to a bad start.
New pets need a calm environment with patient people who can help them adjust. They may bark or mark or chew or hide under the kitchen table for a week or more, and they certainly don’t need to be paraded around in front of load of relatives who are also new to them. Imagine the pile of shiny presents, unwrapped, chewed, defecated on and broken as a new puppy finds a coping strategy to the stressful situation they landed in, and ask again whether this really is the right time.
Plus, there are additional hazards at this time of year – from ribbon on packages which can injure a dog’s digestive tract if swallowed, to wire on ornaments, to an environment full of food like chocolate, cookies and berries on Christmas plants, all of which are extremely toxic to animals. Did you budget for an emergency vet’s bill, just after you spent all that money on presents?
Buying a pet is a big responsibility and while they may be cute and cuddly, they are a lifetime commitment. Save buying your new family member until the new year (most reputable breeders would want you to do that anyway), and you can look forward to many future Christmases with them as part of your family.
Meanwhile, if you have some spare cash available, the charity would be grateful for donations and offers of help, including foster carers to cope with the annual influx. You can learn more by visiting their website: https://www.westwalespoundies.org.uk/