Kate on Conservation

ELAFI Animal Welfare: Sharing the stories of shelter dogs

One-mans-rescue-with-the-elafi-team

As ‘self-isolation’ and ‘social distancing’ becomes a new normality across the world, one man has already gone to the extremes of confinement – in the name of animal awareness.

‘One Man’s Rescue’

British-born positive reinforcement dog trainer David Reid launched ‘One Man’s Rescue’; an animal rescue awareness project in Cyprus last month, spending four nights and five days in a dog cage at Aradippou Dog Shelter — to raise awareness of what rescue dogs go through physically and emotionally when placed in a shelter environment.

In partnership with the ELAFI Animal Welfare Awards, 60-year-old David shared a cage with senior and disabled dogs who have been in the shelter for years, and videoed his experience.

Living in a cage can be soul-wrenching for any being, so David also took the opportunity to work with the animals as a trainer, to start helping them overcome their fears and prepare them for life on the outside when forever homes are found.

“I want to show people how it is to live in a cage for extended periods of time through the point of view of the dogs, spread awareness and rehome some of the older dogs who have been in the shelter for years” said Reid.

“I am going to experience exactly what the dogs are thinking and feeling during their day in a cage, and what does it do to your mental health” said the former bank worker, who moved to Cyprus 10 years ago.

During his stay at the shelter David only used a sleeping bag, ate field-exercise food donated by friends in the British Military and was only ‘let out’ while the cage was cleaned — using his phone once a day to report his experiences to ELAFI founder Anna Georghallides, who wrote daily updates on the project’s blog.

The process was filmed 24/7 and will now be made into a short film to promote the initiative and share the outcome at the end of the campaign.

“My goal is to help people understand the plight of rescue dogs in rescue accommodation,” Reid said, and adds that he is determined to show “there is more to dogs than just four legs and a head.”

Who is David Reid?

David Reid is a positive reinforcement dog trainer in Cyprus working with both adopted pets and dogs waiting in rescue centres. As a child he empathized with dogs, even taking his pet to a trainer but in those days the training was rough and after just one lesson he refused to take the dog back.

His feelings for dogs run deep so, like most people involved with rescue, when he sees a dog in need he can’t turn away.

​No one truly understands what it means be a dog in a rescue environment – not even those who work in the centres — so David decided to create a project to highlight what they experience in a pound or shelter.

One Man’s Rescue — the film

Now that David has completed his experience of living with the dogs in the shelter, ELAFI Animal Welfare Awards are hoping to turn his recorded footage into a powerful campaign film.

David was able to video the entire stay of his One Man’s Rescue project, and record his observations and emotions.

Video diary from David’s last night in the shelter

It’s going to take the professional editing team hours to go through footage taken 24/7 for 5 days to create an eye-opening final film.

Fortunately, a professional team are willing to support One Man’s Rescue and have requested only a very small amount of their usual fee for being involved with the project.

If you would like to help make the film a reality, please head to the ELAFI fundraiser page and give what you can, by helping to create this film you help animals desperately looking for loving homes.

Take part in my fundraising raffle for One Man’s Rescue

You may have seen that I recently held an online raffle to raise funds for koalas affected by wild fires in Australia — as that turned out to be a great success, I’ve decided to hold another!

If you’d like to help me fundraise for the One Man’s Rescue film to be made — and also be in with a chance of winning the bundle of goodies shown above…

1. Head over to my Justgiving fundraising page here: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/elafi-animal-welfare

2. Please choose a number from the grid.

3. Make a donation to claim a number from the grid. £1 per raffle entry*, but of course you can donate £5 and pick 5 numbers, or £10 and pick 10 if you’d like. The more numbers you pick, the higher your chances of winning. *Justgiving has a minimum donation option of £2.

4. Write your numbers in the comment box on the Justgiving page when you’ve made your donation. Be sure to check the other comments first, to make sure your numbers aren’t already claimed.

I’ll try and keep an updated number grid showing available entries on my Instagram Stories

Once the grid is sold out, I’ll make an announcement and draw the winner with a random number generator. 

Good luck! Let’s see if we can sell out the grid for shelter dogs!

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