Saint Bernard Benson and and Tibetian Mastiff Romeo were destined to become someone’s meal, but charity Saving Saints stepped in, rescuing them from a Chinese meat market.
Both arrived at Saving Saints’ shelters in poor health condition and very distressed, needing urgent veterinary care. Romeo eventually recovered, but Benson sadly passed away from an undetected heart condition.
Rachel Wesley, secretary of Saving Saints, said, “Benson arrived in terrible physical and mental condition, which is common for meat trade dogs. He had bad skin infection, was underweight and showing clear signs of immunity system compromised by his previous life and poor nutrition. Furthermore, his heart condition couldn’t be diagnosed by regular listening and required a specialist.”
After rescuing Romeo and Benson, Saving Saints became more aware of how vulnerable large dogs are to the dog meat trade poses, as bans on large dogs in some Chinese cities means that dogs can be taken away by authorities and are then often killed for their meat.
The charity is now working with local rescues in China to save more dogs like Benson and Romeo – and will be able to continue doing so through the Covid-19 crisis after receiving funds from the Kennel Club Charitable Trust (KKCT).
Rachel said, “We are very grateful to the Kennel Club Charitable Trust for its support, which will enable us to continue our efforts in saving, rehabilitating and rehoming large dog breeds. We will use the funding towards veterinary bills and other emergency fees.
“Large breed dogs such as St Bernards are more challenging to rehome with behavioural issues due to their size and strength. They are perceived as cuddly bears but are very strong dogs. They have a protective nature and need a lot of human companionship. They are often surrendered due to financial difficulties as when things go wrong, veterinary care is very expensive.”
The KCCT special emergency fund, which was established in April this year, was set up to support canine organisations which may be suffering and unable to continue their vital work. Throghout the Covid-19 pandemic, charities have been struggling for survival as donations dwindled, fundraising events had to be cancelled and charity shops closed – so these founds are a lifeline.
Revd. Bill King, Chairman of the Kennel Club Charitable Trust said, “We have received a significant number of applications for our emergency funding and have had to make some very hard decisions on where funds need to be placed as a matter of urgency.
“Keeping these organisations, which take care of health, welfare and future of dogs from all breeds and backgrounds, functional is a priority for the Kennel Club Charitable Trust. We know that most smaller organisations depend on funding to keep up their excellent work that save dogs lives, and we want to ensure they can continue despite the pandemic.”
To donate online to the KCCT relief fund and help dogs, volunteers and organisations across the country during this difficult time, visit the Virgin Money Giving website. Alternatively, you can make a donation by text. Simply text ‘KCCT [amount]’ to 70450 to donate the desired amount. You will be charged your donation plus one standard rate message, you’ll be opting in to hear more about the work of the KCCT and fundraising via telephone and SMS. If you’d like to make a donation but do not wish to receive marketing communications, text ‘KCCTNOINFO [amount]’ to 70450.