when we dig deep into the pocket of our own humanity, we realise we are so much more than we have imagined ...
Changing the World of one Dog at a time...
Angel's Kiss is a charitable enterprise, established to provided canine welfare and supported by Mrs Osborne Recommends; a formal way of giving something back to the world. A tithing of sorts...
Tithing is the practise of regularly giving a percentage of one's income. I first heard about this concept a long time ago, but I can still remember thinking how wonderful it would be, to have sufficient wealth to be confident of making a regular commitment to giving. I didn't entirely understand the dynamics! In the years since then, I have made regular donations and given of my time and energy to various causes, but I have never made a formal commitment to a regular percentage of my income until now. Mrs Osborne recommends pledges to give 10% of profits to Angel's Kiss.
However. I have never been accused of being too conformist so, not surprisingly, my kind of tithing is not just about money. It's also about donating time, energy, using your skill set; giving some space in your heart. My tithing is about giving, even if you're a tiny bit scared that you don't have enough, because giving nurtures a feeling of plenty, that begins to dissolve a feeling of lack. Giving will bring wealth to your spirit and richness to your life, because when we genuinely dig deep into the pocket of our own humanity, we find that we are so much more than we have imagined.
But we cannot give to everything, we cannot be involved with everything, and neither should we be. There are forgotten souls and desperately worthy causes everywhere. Dire situations call for everyone to open their hearts, not for a minority of individuals to shoulder the troubles of the world. Charitable work can be exhausting and demoralising, and deeply distressing, so we must choose wisely how we use our energy and attention. In Charitable endeavour the going will nearly always be tough, and in order to keep going when it gets even tougher we must give to those causes that push our buttons enough to drive our motivation, yet do not render us incapacitated when atrocities are revealed. That way, we will find the courage and conviction to keep going when our spirits flag. Mrs Osborne Recommends makes regular donations to humane medical research and child welfare, and I, personally, roll up my sleeves and get my hands dirty for dogs. Because I am able to do it, and be genuinely useful, without crumbling into a heap at the horror of it all.
The problem of unwanted pets, indiscriminate breeding and irresponsible ownership is one of gargantuan proportions, and it's everywhere, so it's important to feel that what one is doing is not just a drop in the ocean and that it can make a real difference. Mrs O has helped and continues to help dogs in the UK, but is also actively involved in helping canines in the province of Ourense in north west Spain. Grass roots campaigning to highlight the appalling situation there and to change policies in that area is underway, but there is a staggering lack of practical, hands on, charitable assistance for the dedicated volunteers. Every little bit of help counts and makes a significant difference to the pitiful lives of the dogs who are suffering there right now. Being part of that solution feels good, and it feels rewarding, but more importantly, it feels right.
How we Work
Angel's Kiss was set up to help only the most desperate of cases; invisible dogs that have endured years of neglect or abuse and that suffer in silence, unnoticed. We work only with other rescues or volunteers; we will not take dogs directly from members of the public. Not every dog we help will come into rescue because much can be done by sourcing foster homes, finding other more appropriate rescues and placing dogs directly into forever homes.
Some though, will come into our care and it goes without saying that every one of those dogs receives the best possible veterinary attention and is microchipped, vaccinated, neutered and treated for parasites as standard. But what we really excel at is providing sanctuary and healing. And when these broken souls are sufficiently mended we look for a suitable forever home or get them into a breed specific rescue if that is the most viable option.
We Don't use Shock Tactics
Often, kind hearted people who would be willing to help are discouraged from doing so because these charitable causes can be deeply distressing and interfere with our own wellbeing, sometimes to a degree that is harmful to our health. I am no different in that respect.
For that reason, there will never be page after page of heart rending stories and shocking photos on this website. Make no mistake; those wretched cases are out there, and many are already on my radar. But being overwhelmed by horrors creates a feeling of helplessness and despair which can be paralysing. I want to cultivate the positive, empowering feeling of hope, which can be transformed into direct action.
For that reason, Angel's Kiss focuses on a small number of invisible souls at a time. Once a dog gets onto this page, whilst their story may still be shocking, their plight has been seen and their life is no longer completely hopeless.
Stages of a Rescue
Rescuing a dog is often a multi stage process and more so when that dog comes from outside of the UK. Broadly speaking there are 5 stages of an overseas rescue:
On the Radar
This first stage is where we identify those dogs that we may be able to save. They are not yet in our care, but we have noticed their plight and are working out if and how we might help. Many of these dogs may be injured or infirm and will still be in imminent danger of severe harm and loss of life. But they are no longer invisible and if we can help them we will.
A dog at this stage has been reserved at the pound by Angel's Kiss and an active process of getting it to safety has begun. But the situation in the pound is volatile and unpredictable and until dogs have been physically removed from that environment, even if they have been microchipped and rabies vaccinated, they remain at risk until they can be taken to the safety of a residence or foster home. Frustratingly, this stage may take several weeks, because reliable residences and foster homes are extremely thin on the ground in the area of Spain where we are operating. For every dog at this stage Angel's Kiss has made a commitment to bring it to safety, one way or the other. And we ALWAYS honour our commitments...
This is when I breathe a big sigh of relief! These are the reserved dogs that we have been able to remove from the pound in Ourense and for whom we are now directly responsible financially, morally and also legally. These dogs will all be microchipped and registered to Angel's Kiss, will be receiving veterinary attention, proper nutrition and loving care. Every dog in this category is under our control, whether that be in Spain or the UK and after a period of rehabilitation most will eventually become available for rehoming.
Looking for a Forever Home
These dogs have all been rehabilitated and assessed. They come with a full profile of history (where known) and behaviour, likes, dislikes and the type of home we are seeking for them. Placing of rescue dogs needs to be done very carefully because they have all been let down to one degree or another and need committed homes where they will get lots of TLC! Giving a home to a rescue dog is extremely rewarding because, without exception, they have received so very little in their lives that they are so very grateful for every kindness. Go on.... open your heart and home to one of our babies...
And these little darlings are the truly happy ones who are now, finally, placed in permanent loving homes, and living in the light at the end of their tunnel of darkness.
Become a Rescue Angel
If you have read this far, a very big and heartfelt thanks to you! And if you think you may be interested in helping our dogs keep reading, because there are almost as many ways of helping as there are dogs to be helped. It doesn't matter where in the world you live, if you want to help there will be something you can do. We don't turn anybody away!
Adoption and Fostering
Every time a dog is adopted, fostered or taken on by a rescue, two dogs are helped. The first dog gets a loving placement, often for the first time in it's life, and another dog comes off the radar and onto the project list, to fill the space that has been freed up. Fundraising will always be ongoing, but the availability of safe placements is our biggest restricting factor. To bring dogs out of hell we need to secure them safe haven, and the shortage of foster placements and permanent loving homes dictates the numbers we can help. If you are willing to open your heart and your home to welcome a dog in need, either for temporary fostering or as a permanent member of your family, please, don't hold back. The dogs and I will be eternally grateful and you will find that it is more rewarding than you can possibly imagine...
Money, money, money...
Angel's Kiss is supported entirely by Mrs Osborne Recommends, the fund raising efforts of the volunteer group in Ourense and donations. It may not be money that really makes the world go round, but there is no mistaking it keeps the wheels oiled and moving. Our pockets are not infinitely deep and our purse strings are not elastic: we can only help a dog if we can fund it. Without exception, we are always stretched to financial capacity. Please think about organising a fund raiser, it doesn't need to be ambitious. Or could you make a regular small donation, a one off gift, a legacy, or sponsor a particular dog whose story pulls at your heartstrings more than most? Every single contribution is gratefully received and absolutely everything is spent on the dogs. Go on; donate, you will feel so very good....
Are you Savvy with Social Media?
I don't consider myself savvy in this respect but even I, in an hour of my time, can have a mooch around Facebook and find relevant groups, pages and people to share photos and posts with. Sharing can bring in help and every bit of help counts so please feel free to share, tag and message to your heart's content. Help and support can come from unexpected sources so don't hold back either. Don't be proud and do think laterally; step outside your comfort zone, it's only a virtual interaction after all!
Besotted with a Particular Breed?
A number of breed specific rescues are willing to help a dog of that breed wherever it is located because their passion is not limited to national boundaries. Many of our dogs are pure breeds or obvious purebred crosses and they desperately need knowledgeable foster and permanent homes. If you have good breed specific contacts please use them, on our behalf, for the dogs.
Living or have contacts in North West Spain?
We need soldiers on the ground in or near the province of Ourense for transporting and fostering. Get in touch!
Willing to Get your Hands Dirty for the Dogs?
Last but by absolutely no means least we must have hands to help with the dogs in foster and kennels in the UK. Walking, feeding, cleaning, cuddling, home checking, vet trips. You name it we need it.
A new TAKE on GIVING!
There are many, many ways in which you can help our dogs if you really want to; the foregoing list is not intended to be exhaustive!!
We always need hands on help with the dogs, and we need fund raisers and social media superstars. But we also need people with practical skills to help with such things as electrics, concreting, carpentry and fencing; because we will always need kenneling and safe exercise enclosures as well as a host of other stuff too numerous to mention. So if you have a practical skill or a trade, and you are willing to use it for the dogs, please get in touch.
As well as the hands on business of saving dogs lives in the here and now, we are also pushing for legal change and enforcement of existing legislation within Spain and the EU, to improve the situation for the future. So if you're a legal beagle or politically inclined come on down! There really is no shortage of opportunity to give of yourself...