Hi, Vicky here…DOTS blogger, obviously! But this blog gets a bit more of a first hand account from me than most, because yesterday, Sunday May 28th was the first time I’d been to a DOTS station since coming on board to help.
I arrived at The Strand around 1.30pm to find Michelle coordinating the set up and Jade parking up before starting to unload bits for the veterinary tent. I joined in time to help hoist up the red DOTS canopy alongside Pamper Camper Fee and vet Gabe before we started filling up the trestle tables with doggy essentials. Food from our partners Barking Heads, Nature Diet, treats from Huxley Hound (with their lovely Zena in attendance too), Kongs, leads, collars, harnesses and muzzles. Squeaky toys, poo bags, dog bowls. Bottles of water, foodie treats for the homeless doggy owners.
My mind was already blown before we were ready to roll.
Because the weather was so warm this week, a second canopy had been brought along for the dogs to rest under after their baths and vet checks and loads of water bowls were filled up and dotted about.
It was a main station this week with full services in attendance; Jade the Head Street Vet plus accompanying vets Gabe and Anna, Groomers Fee and Siobhaun, trainer Kimberley and of course Michelle. It was also a special one due to it being our first inoculation station.
We had a journalist and photographer from The Evening Standard with us, ready to cover the station and interview the various team members too.
A lovely moment in preparation for the start of the station was when Michelle handed out ‘Volunteer’ t-shirts to two homeless friends of DOTS; one being Misty’s owner, and his friend Dodge – remember him from here, a few blogs back who had his hair punked up by Josh at a previous station? I chatted to these two a lot yesterday and the admiration and gratitude they have towards DOTS is so very warming. Dodge got his chalks out and started to create his pavement art in the hope to generate some donations from passers by whilst Misty had her stitches out. It really brought home just how much DOTS supports the doggies which in turn is a great relief to the owners.
Anyway, back to our furiends!
I first met doggy Misty a few weeks back on the day of her mammary mass op when I went to finally meet Michelle for the first time and here she was in brilliant condition since the big day, ready to have her stitches out. She really is a treasure. Those perky little ears! Stitches out in no time, Misty’s next stop was into Fee’s Pamper Camper for a lovely soak in the tub before being lovingly rubbed dry. Squeaky clean, she then got even more squeaky, having a little play under the doggy canopy with her chosen Kong ball. Misty then guzzled down some water and went to check out Dodge’s pavement art…we assume she was impressed!
Then we were greeted by the lovely Gunner. What a handsome boy! Another fan of a squeaky ball. He got checked over as his ears had been a bit uncomfortable so Anna the vet took a close look and saw that he had an infection. After a thorough ear clean and some comforting drops, he had a play and his daddy collected all the bits needed from the essential tables for the week ahead.
Next to stop by was one year old Jack. Now we only post pics and stories of doggies here and on social if we have the owners consent. Life on the streets can be tough and some of the homeless community just don’t want to feel even more exposed. So while we cant post pics or much more here about Jack, trust me, he’s the cutest fur baby and such a playful boy! He got checked over, had a scrub in the tub and then had a play with one of the squeaky carrot toys from our toy box. Such a bundle of energy and fun. Kimberly also spent some time with Jack’s owner to teach him some tips and tricks on excitable doggy behaviour.
Then DOTS met a newbie; teddy bear Tyson! Look at him…! The most striking black coat and smiley staffy face. Tyson is around 7 years old and came with his devoted daddy to have a thorough health check including vaccination. He was quickly registered with DOTS, had a warm bubble bath and got himself a dapper new red harness! We loaded up a big bag of essentials, including loads of Nature Diet to make sure he is on a healthy doggy food diet and off he trotted.
Thankfully we then had a visit from lovely old Cassie who had had her operation just last week to tend to her very sore mouth. Jade had to remove about 40 teeth in total leaving Cassie with just 2 left. But the op was such a success and seeing her happy at the station was so joyful. She wolfed down 3 bowls of chicken and rice with no problems! We’re very confident that now that her mouth is pain free, she will start to gain some lost weight. Because of her operation ordeal, Fee gave her an extra special massage while she was in the bubble bath. Michelle and Jade will of course be keeping a close eye on her progress…
Then we had an energetic visit from big boy Ty! He really has a presence about him as he knowingly trots about the DOTS station helping himself to toys! So lovely to see him play. Brilliant news about Ty and his dad is that they are now secure in a doggy friendly hostel. We love a happy ending like this and DOTS will keep in close contact to make sure it continues..
While the main team did their thing, I chatted to Zena from Huxley Hound before we both decided to try and rustle up some donations from passers by.
Before it started to rain, Dodge did some more pavement art for the entertainment of a little 4 year old boy called Teddy who was wandering by with his parents. Check the shark out below! They kindly donated what change they had to DOTS as a result, nice work Dodge!
Seeing the station first hand was amazing. The collective goodwill, generosity and dedication of the DOTS service team, the rapport Michelle has built with the homeless doggy owning community of London and the unwavering love the homeless have for their pooches is the very essence of compassion.
I know I ask at the end of every blog, but if you have a bit of spare cash you could donate to DOTS to ensure we can support and care for London’s street dogs we would be so thrilled.
Thank you x