Lockdown leads to poetic justice for Whanganui pound dogs


Marieke Waghorn, keeper of the Whanganui pound and head of education, with the “Skinny Winnie” Labrador cross that was found attached to a fence without food or water. Photo / Robin Martin, RNZ

By Robin Martin from RNZ

Lockdown and the power of poetry are credited to the Whanganui Pound which has rehoused a record number of dogs this year.

The council-owned facility has found new owners for all 175 dogs in its care and deemed fit for rescue.

When Whanganui’s keeper, Marieke Waghorn, finds a dog, she often writes a poem.

This one is about Skinny Winnie, who was found half-starved tied to a fence with no food or water:

Sometimes life isn’t fair
You try so hard, but you get nowhere,
It’s like me for a part of my life,
I’ve tried so hard to stay out of conflict
I don’t know if my owners didn’t care,
They always seemed to be somewhere else …

In the past, there was a good chance that a dog like Skinny Winnie would be shot, but this year the pound is successfully welcoming more dogs than ever before.

He has treated over 900 dogs, reuniting the vast majority with their owners and finding new homes for 175.

“It’s definitely a record for us and it’s a lot of hard work. A lot of time and effort is put into it. We spend a lot of time advertising on Facebook and finding host families.

“We also make sure that all dogs are deexed, vaccinated, dewormed, registered and microchipped, so a lot of work goes into it.”

Waghorn said the lockdown made it easier to find homes.

“So we actually had a waiting list to adopt dogs so I think a lot of people during the lockdown reassessed their family values ​​and what life was like and after the lockdown they wanted to adopt a dog that was fantastic. “

And then there are these poems on Whanganui Adopt a Dog’s Facebook page:

This cute puppy has not been claimed,
so now Reggie, he’s been named,
He is looking for a new loving home,
somewhere he can call his own,
This is probably a working dog breed,
So you will need more than a bed and food,
He’ll need a job to keep him busy,
Otherwise it will make you dizzy …

Waghorn said she needed something to get people’s attention.

“I want people to know what we’re doing here so I’ve found the best way to do it was to use a little poetry, and people love that.

“So I use the poetry to advertise the stray dogs that we have or if we have any dogs to adopt. I’m going to put their photos up there and write a little poem.”

Fiona Rae is the Whanganui representative of the ARAN Animal Rescue charity.

He does a lot of work preparing the appropriate dogs for the return.

“So I try to set things up for them like a vet appointment first. It’s always a necessity and we always make sure the dogs are vaccinated and deexed when we re-homing. .

“And then I advertise them for a home or try to find a foster family to look after them until we find them a home.”

She said it was incredibly rewarding.

“Sometimes when I see them leave I almost cry about the trip we’ve been on together, but when I hear later on how well they are and how happy they are, I just think it’s great and the motivation to continue.

“Because it’s not always a good result – most of the time it is – but some dogs have a history that comes back to haunt them.”

Whanganui resident Tina Gibson spotted four-month-old Suzie Q on the Adopt a Dog page.

“It’s a personal cross and I’ve had this breed before and they are excellent dogs so I picked her and she’s been doing really well since I got her.

“She’s a very good girl. Aren’t they all with the right care.”

The dog came up with the name.

“Suzie Q was her name when I got her and I loved her, so it stuck. She’s a rock star and a super star from many moons ago.”

Marieke Waghorn said it was stories like Suzie Q’s that made all the hard work worth it.

“Oh that’s fantastic. The feeling is amazing. It gives you a really good feeling and especially when we find dogs that have had a very difficult life and we are able to put them in the right way. healthier and happier ones. It’s so rewarding. “

Anyone interested in adopting a dog like Skinny Winnie for example can visit the Adopt a Whanganui dog Facebook page to check the dogs – and the poems.

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