It is believed that the level of development of a society is largely determined by how it relates to our smaller brothers. In Russia, this issue is in many ways painful, so it makes sense to see how stray animals are treated in other countries. The experience of the Netherlands is especially indicative, where there are no abandoned animals at all. Dutch volunteers who come to our country believe that there is a way to simultaneously solve two problems: find a use for homeless animals and please people in need of warmth and affection. Similar projects are successfully starting to be implemented in our country.
An interesting historical fact: a few years after the release of the excellent children's film "101 Dalmatians", American shelters were overflowing with spotted pedigree dogs. The fact is that, inspired by a magical story, people massively wanted to have these very animals. But in fact, Dalmatians are quite complex in character, very active dogs. They were taken out for hunting, and it is not easy to keep such pets in apartments, therefore, disappointed, many owners solved this problem in the simplest way - they got rid of the dogs. So the film, which was supposed to educate people to love animals, led to the opposite results.
Holland, which today is considered a model country in relation to pets, faced the problem of stray animals in full measure in the 19th century. In those days, keeping a dog at home was considered a sign of good manners - it spoke of the high status of the family. As a result, due to the huge number of dogs in the country, an epidemic of rabies broke out, after which many owners, frightened, got rid of the animals, throwing them out into the street. Of course, this only made things worse. In the XX century, the number of animals was reduced, and in the XXI century, new civilized mechanisms of control over animals were developed and effectively started working. It was based on the question of the owners' responsibility for "those whom they have tamed."
As in the example with the Dalmatians, the most important link in the problem was not the animals themselves, but people. Firstly, in Holland, as in most countries that effectively deal with this issue, most pets are not only registered, but also sterilized (this operation is free of charge, and only certified breeders can have animals for breeding). Secondly, the legislation protects the rights of tailed beasts and provides for fines and even prison terms for people who do not fully understand their responsibility. That is, the owner cannot throw the animal out into the street or fail to provide him with the necessary medical assistance. The special police, Animal Cops, are watching to ensure that animals are not offended. Well, and thirdly, the government encourages the adoption of animals from the shelter into the family. This was done by very simple economic measures - a high tax was introduced on purebred dogs. After such an unusual step, about a million mongrels were "attached to good hands" very quickly.
Of course, putting things in order in a relatively small Holland is not at all the same as working on our vast expanses.The failed experience of the Moscow program of sterilization of stray animals has shown this more than clearly. However, foreign volunteers who come to our country are most surprised not even by the fact that stray animals cause negative emotions in many Russians - this is understandable, and is largely the result of the ineffectiveness of measures to regulate their numbers. Very bad statistics in our country, for example, according to Rosstat, in Russia as a result of an attack by stray dogs from 2000 to 2010, 391 people died (although compared with 20 thousand people who died annually from rabies in India before so scary). Wrong, according to foreigners, we try and take care of stray animals. So, in Europe, if a person wants to help stray dogs, he does not feed them at the entrance, but goes to the shelter and takes care of the pet, which has not yet been able to find an owner. This, by the way, is much more difficult than just sharing food leftovers.
Another great idea that came to our country from Holland was a project to "employ" mongrels. It usually involves volunteer organizations that help nursing homes and orphanages. Lonely old people and children really do not have enough love and affection, which they can be generously rewarded with by pets that have recently acquired owners. For such communication, animals are selected very carefully, according to several criteria - they must be non-aggressive, healthy and respond well to strangers. For dogs from the shelter, curators are selected who have good contact with the animals. If the dogs were recently given to the family, then time is given for them to get to know their new owners well, and then the volunteers, along with the "tailed team", come to visit those who especially need them. According to the participants' reviews, after such meetings, older people feel less lonely, communication with dogs cheers them up and even improves their well-being.
Children who do not have parents are especially happy with unusual guests. According to psychologists, communication with animals can correct many problems in a child's soul, crippled by life circumstances. And we are not talking about special therapy dogs, but simply about good-natured animals from the shelter who are ready to communicate with people. It is very useful for kids to just cuddle the dogs, and learn how to take care of animals - comb, feed, walk with them, holding a leash.
Such projects, which are now being implemented very successfully in many countries, really allow solving several problems at once - children, old people, and the dogs themselves receive a huge portion of positive emotions, and shelter animals, which until recently loitering along the streets and posing a potential threat, are becoming “in demand specialists”doing an important job, the attitude towards them changes before our eyes. In the future, dogs that have received this experience are easier to get into good hands. This is a great example of how a not very difficult to implement and inexpensive idea can bring tangible benefits to all participants.
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