It's no secret that we have a soft spot for rescues. Our own boys, Bongo and Mash are both rescue dogs, so we like to do whatever we can to help. The Innocent Hound often sponsors dog classes and events, and regularly sends treats to rescues and animal charities across the country.
When we heard this heart-warming rescue story from one of our customers Deborah, we couldn't resist sharing it with our lovely Innocent followers.
Hi Deborah! Could you give a bit of background to your lovely story?
Back in 2012, I was staying with family on an island just off Mauritius, in the Indian Ocean. During our stay, my daughter and I befriended two stray dogs on the beach. One was only a few months old and had already learnt to approach children rather than adults, very tentatively and politely. The older one- who may have easily been her mother- came to say hello once we had made friends with the first.
When the time came to leave that evening, my twelve year old daughter simply would not turn her back on them. I did resist – after all taking two feral dogs back to England, especially when I already had two dogs of my own to think about, was not without potential problems!
But my daughter is even more stubborn than I am and on returning to the hotel, I found that I had received a text message from my mother, telling me that they had unfortunately put their own elder dog down that very day. It did seem as though fate was definitely taking a hand. I phoned mum and wasn’t terribly surprised when she said “Of course we will have her. It’s meant to be!”
Deborah's Mauritian rescue dog, Midge
What was the next step?
Initially we asked the hotel and pressed them for help, however they suggested an organisation with the 'catch and kill' policy. It wasn't until a hotel staff member mentioned a local lady named Yasmin, and we met her the next day. She took the two dogs back to her boarding kennels where she sorted their paperwork and vaccinations and six months later they were put on a plane to a new life here in the UK. Since then the quarantine requirements have changed. There is no rabies in Mauritius, so now it is zoned with Europe. That means they now only have to be in quarantine for 12 weeks.
How was it adjusting to life with a foreign pet?
It took the dogs precisely three days to learn the basics of good behaviour, including getting used to unfamiliar and frightening things like walls, floors, electric lights, televisions and cars. If you have to survive, you have to be adaptable and you certainly have to have your wits about you. Mauritian strays are exceptionally bright little dogs.
Unlike training most pets - and rather surprisingly for those of us who have trained a dog - their primary motivation is not food, but affection.
"Perhaps the most heart rending truth about these animals is the fact that given a choice between love and attention or a good meal, in nearly every case it is human companionship that they crave the most."
Can you tell us more about Yasmin, and her kennels?
Yasmin boards dogs when Mauritian owners go on holiday, which gives her an income and rescues and repatriates dogs befriended by tourists, as she did for us. With part of the proceeds from the quarantine fees, she also rescues strays and rehomes them on Mauritius. It obviously isn’t enough, so I fundraise regularly for her. It's important to note that Yasmin's Kennels are not a charity as she runs the kennels commercially to support her family, however operates similarly to that of a rescue charity.
Yasmin lost her original kennels and for a year could not provide the help she had given us. So we decided to help her to set up a new Kennels and Rescue Centre, which is now up and running in La Marie, in the south of the island. She has 16 purpose built kennels and outdoor runs and a permanent helper/security guard who lives on site.
Rescue pup Penny now living in her forever home with Deborah's parents,
Sandra & Clive.
Living in England, why have you chosen to help a centre so far away?
Originally, the Mauritian government had bowed to pressure and introduced a policy of education, sterilisation and micro chipping for strays, however the new regime has re-introduced the brutal ‘catch and kill’ policy.
Their methods for ending the dogs’ lives are not those welfare organisations her in the UK employ. It involves catching the dogs in a net, often resulting in broken limbs and other injuries. They are kept for three days in dreadful conditions and if they aren’t claimed, injected directly in the heart, finally being thrown on a heap of other dogs to die an agonising death. The authorities frequently net people’s pets as well as strays, as often they are left loose in the villages. To reclaim them, locals have to pay a fine which is often too much for people to afford. As you can imagine, even those who are re-claimed are often traumatised by their experiences and never recover.
Do you have any more plans for further international adoptions?
My mother has now adopted two other Mauritian strays, now two year old Chloe and young puppy Belle, who will arrived just before Christmas.
It is a far cry from the golden beaches of Mauritius, but if these dogs could tell you where they would rather be, there would be no hesitation. Secure with a loving family and of course a good supply of Innocent Hound Sausages – it definitely beats desperately digging for Sand Crabs to avoid starvation.
New additions Chloe and Belle
who will hopefully be arriving with the family later in the year.
You may be travelling to Mauritius or know someone who would want to help, please make a note of this address – Yasmin Timol at La Marie, Off Brasserie Road near Vacoas or alternatively you can contact us for the phone number.