Three Counties has a mission statement “To accept, care for and find homes for unwanted, lost and stray dogs”. It was put together many years ago and apart from a departure in that we do the same for cats, has stood the test of time.
For that reason I am not about to change it but it has given me cause to dwell upon one of the words we use; “unwanted”. The reality is that the dogs we take under our wing are not unwanted. Nearly six thousand Three Counties dogs and cats have been wanted very much by their new owners and have enjoyed the pleasure of love and affection.
The nature of “unwanted” that we face comes in a variety of guises. Some are brought about by genuine circumstances involving illness and bereavement. Most result from a failure to think ahead to anticipate situations that are almost inevitable. The obvious example is of a couple taking on a dog and then finding that the wife is pregnant. The thought of coping with a baby and a dog results in the dog becoming “unwanted”. Others involve changing jobs and no longer being able to get home at times reasonable for the dog.
Often we are told how the soon to be ex owner has thought “long and hard” before making the decision to give their dog away. Thinking “long and hard” before taking one on in the first place may have saved a lot of trouble.
So I plan, as much as possible, not to refer to our dogs and cats as unwanted and needing homes. They are in our care and waiting to become someone’s companion where they will be very much wanted.