In January 2015, shortly after my involvement began in the dog rescue world, I made a New Year’s resolution (or more of a target I should say) to rehome 5o stray dogs from Cyprus before the end of the year. I set the rules as follows:
- I had to have facilitated the adoption/foster process and carried it through
- The dog had to have arrived at the new country of residence by the end of 2015
- The dog had to have gone into either temporary foster care, or a forever home
- The dog had to be from Cyprus
In March 2015 I became part of the Wild at Heart Foundation team, and in my first week of working with them we were hit with a huge crisis in Cyprus whereby a local pound was forced to close and relocate, leaving over 40 dogs with their lives hanging in the balance. We had 15 days to find homes for these dogs, and as soon as we could prove that the dogs had somewhere to go the dog was reserved and started immediate vet care to ensure they could travel as soon as possible.
Luckily, we were granted an extension of two more weeks, which allowed us enough time to find a new site enabling us to completely relocate the shelter, moving the dogs that were still without homes to the new premises. Within a month all the dogs had found homes, the majority of them through the Wild at Heart Foundation website and media campaign.
By June 2015, I had reached 50 already(!) thanks both to all my followers on my @cyprusdogs Instagram account and my new role at the charity. I decided to up-the-ante and go for 100 – why not?!
Although it seemed completely out of reach, with my new role at the Wild at Heart Foundation I was able to find more homes.
By using social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook, and of course our website www.wildatheartfoundation.org, I was able to post the dogs to a much wider audience than previously, and by summer I was answering new adoption enquiries every couple of days. As it drew closer to the end of the year I was a little concerned that I might not make it to 100, which would have been a real shame, but suddenly five enquiries came through the charity at once and by the 20th December 2015, the 102nd dog of 2015 arrived at his new home.
It has been a crazy year. We have sent dogs to England, Scotland, Switzerland, Sweden, Holland, Germany, France and Finland. We have even rehomed five sets of duo adoptions (Adi and Izzy, Oscar and Ernie, Donald and Nina, Alice and Theo, and Ramon and Thelma)! Whilst some have gone into short term foster care, most have found their forever homes and become a wonderful addition to a family.
Of course, adopting a rescue dog can be an overwhelming experience, and whilst we have only had to place one dog into a secondary foster home due to their behavioural traits (which I’m pleased to say have now been corrected), we have had to rehome a small handful of others due to changes in their owners’ circumstances. This is most definitely something to consider when adopting, or even buying a dog. We appreciate sometimes change isn’t expected, but in case it ever does occur please consider the options for your dog to reduce their stress and anxiety.
Aside from that I would like to thank every single adopter, from the opera singers, journalists, photographers, fashion designers, teachers and fiction writers, to the hockey players, students, engineers, illustrators, care workers, hairdressers, casting directors, models and coffee shop owners. You have all been amazing and you’ve all saved a life this year. There are 102 dogs from Cyprus that would be without a home if it weren’t for the likes of you.
So I’m delighted to have reached my 100 target! What a year – and the cherry on the cake is that we also rehomed an additional 50 dogs from Romania, Bosnia and Greece. We managed to triple my original goal.
This year I will be setting a target across all of the projects we work with, including Cyprus, Romania, Bosnia and Greece, so if you’d like to follow my progress feel free to check out my new Instagram account,
So, here’s to 2016 – let’s hope it’s full of success stories just like 2015 has been!