Dogs and cats are in our name, it’s what we do and it’s what gets us up in the morning. The thing about the Home, which many people don’t know about or see, is the reality of the human stories that we come across on a daily basis. The people behind the animals that we are helping. The heartbreaking calls we continued to receive during lockdown only sharpened our focus and resolve to ensure we survived what was happening. The question rang in my head over and over again-“without us where would they turn”. Its this question that not only rings true for those dogs and cats who will need that second chance, but for those owners backed into a hard corner in life and don’t know where to go.
The truth is the survival of Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home isn’t just about being there for the hundreds of animals who desperately need us each year, but also for the people across our communities who are in distress and don’t know who to turn to in a life unravelling with a pet that needs help. When I joined the Home now more than five years ago, I didn’t expect to find myself part of not only an animal welfare movement but a social vulnerability one. I am proud that my wonderfully dedicated team are able to offer hope, dignity and a second chance to people who are struggling in a difficult moment in their life. In the knowledge that the cat or dog coming to us is going to get the best care possible.
The motivation for our foodbank was exactly that, to keep pets in loving homes who had simply fallen on hard times. We love dogs and cats so much that we want them to stay where they are loved and cherished and if we can help out their loving owner through something difficult then we’ll be there. During the height of lockdown this need became more and more apparent and with the impact of this covid crisis deepening across our communities we know we will be needed now more than ever.
I am often asked does it not upset you seeing their sad faces in the kennel and cattery pens. The honest answer is no, because I see the love, care and attention that goes into each of our dogs and cats and it makes my heart swell with pride. The ones who keep me up at night are the ones we receive the phone calls about who haven’t yet reached us and the ones who no one knows is suffering. Those stories are all too common at the Home.
The public response to our emergency appeal has been nothing short of awe inspiring. The care, support and friendship that has reached out to us from not only our immediate Edinburgh and the Lothian’s community but far wider than our own borders has been an emotional experience for all the team at the Home. Everyone at the Home is committed to the fight to keep the Home alive and well for the years ahead where we hope to play a central role in supporting those affected by the crisis.
I don’t know if I will ever be able to find the words to describe how difficult it has been as a CEO to make the decisions we have had to face this year but in equal measure it would be a struggle to describe how grateful I am for the support and dedication to the Home. Hearing your stories and connections to the Home brings to life the history that surrounds us all who work there. A privilege not to be wasted on not fighting for everything we have already and for everything we are yet to be.
To make a start though from the bottom of my heart-thank you.
By Lindsay Fyffe-Jardine, CEO of Edinburgh Dog & Cat Home.