Killing me Softly

In the world of dog rescue we are witnessing a Staffie holocaust.

Bull breeds are powerful dogs and need aware and responsible owners who can optimise their many many positive attributes and kindly train and manage their considerable potential towards their natural inclination to love and obey. Free-ad advertises many litters of Staffie and Staffie x’s for sale. Little licky, overtly cuddly Staffie pups in pet shops start their journey and with money exchanged and not a glance back breeders walk swiftly away.  Buy that pup, see it grow into adolescence. Try to contain a Staffie who isn’t receiving exercise, without training, denied the company. Reports of Staffies left all day in kitchens or sons’ bedrooms, often crated for five to eight hours is common practice.  Hear the family rows, see relationship splits, the landlord insistence NO DOGS, evictions, the sense of wanting to be free of this mighty bond – aka small, carriable wonderment.  Witness the attempts to pass on, payment swings the other way to ‘take it off our hands’. Our Staffie moves through homes or the music fades… time to RID of the Staffie’. Anyone there for an adolescent Staffie?  Wonderful adult Staffie all singing all dancing? The phone line goes dead! Our Staffie has become worthless; society’s liability.  Rescues struggle to get the public to appreciate with today’s veterinary costs alone they run at a loss.  Add kennel costs and fund raising is essential. Then ask those Rescues to consider an adult Staffie, whose prospects of homing are slim, who can blame them in limiting their intake or turning their backs.

We found a dead Staffie in a park in good condition just dead, we took in a pregnant Staffie 10 days off giving birth, full of worms; a starving Staffie found abandoned in the cellar, her pups were sold from the pound and she was about to be put to sleep.  Let’s face facts, so many Staffies are being dumped or handed over on street corners to concerned passerby; thrown out of moving cars and worse.  Destination unknown, leave it to its fate. Arriving at the council pounds and the frown goes on faces; Yet another Staffie…what hope…the following poem says it all. Our council pounds have become death camps for Staffies…is there a political solution?  It must first start with subsidised bull breed neutering and denying the oxygen of Free-ad publicity to the Staffie breeders or pet shop space. Staffies are paying the price by being killed in large numbers softly in our pounds.

All these dogs were in road traffic accidents Eddie and Merlin lost legs and Amber just ended up with severe grazing.

Just a Staffy Cross.

Today is just another day – to me they’re all the same
I have the worst of genes you see, I bear the “Staffy” shame.
The shame is in our numbers, there’s thousands with no home.
Thousands just like me you’ll find, in kennels all alone.

My mum was “just a Staffy”, my father – well who knows?
Mum, too, became unwanted, as the last puppy goes.
And then begins the process, of money-making deals
A life of “moving on” unfolds, who cares how the Staffy feels?
If you have the cash to hand, the Staffy pup is yours
But that pup is getting bigger now, just look at those big paws.

You brought me for your image, thought I’d make you look more tough
But you’ll find my boisterous nature has already got too much.
If you had thought to train me, with kindness and with praise
You would have had a faithful friend to share your darkest days.
I would lay down my life for you, but you simply cannot see
You make sure you get your money back on what you paid for me.

And on it goes, until one day, I’m no longer worth a dime
The retail on an adult staff – not worth the waste of time.
So what happens to a Staffy now? Do you really want to know?
Do you care what will become of us, when we leave our final home?

Have you ever thought to wonder, “Where is that Staffy now?”
The “Staffy” has another name; he’s become a “stray” somehow.
Me, I was put into a car and driven far away
The door held open, I jumped out, I thought to run and play.
It was with joy and happy heart I turned to look for you
You drove away with all my trust and a piece of my heart too.

I wandered round for many days before I was brought here.
Now I wait with heavy heart, trepidation and with fear.
Seven days is all I have you see, seven days for you to claim
The little dog that you threw out, for which you have no shame.

This is my last goodbye now my seven days are up
If only more thought had gone into the future of that pup
As the needle empties to my veins I lay down with one last sigh
I’m sorry I was born a Staff, because it means that I must die.