Kindness on the frontline
As part of our Kindness at Christmas appeal, we’re sharing examples of how a little kindness can have a huge impact.
This week we have three stories from our inspectors – from helping the homeless, to taking an unhappy dog home and changing a life with a simple cup of tea. Their kindness really has made an incredible difference.
Inspector Charlotte Melvin wanted to do more to help homeless people and their dogs in Staffordshire, so she started her own project called Bag4Life:
"The idea was to fill rucksacks with essential items along with a few treats for homeless people and their canine companions. I made a Facebook page and the project took off.
"Friends, colleagues and strangers from all around the country got in touch asking if they could help, so with a little co-ordination, people started filling rucksacks and handing them out.
"We met a lot of homeless people with dogs. All the dogs I met were very well looked after, and in most cases the only thing that the person had left in life. It was lovely to see the dogs playing with the toys and wearing their lovely new warm jackets.
"People were so grateful for the bags. A lot of people we met were trying to sleep in wet sleeping bags or in some cases under tarpaulin. Knowing that they had a clean, dry set of clothes and a warm sleeping bag to sleep in that night felt like we were helping – even if only on a very small scale compared to the issues these people were facing.
"The project gave out 310 rucksacks around the country in total and we aim to do the same again this year."
Inspector Samantha Weston had always thought of herself as ‘more of a cat person’. But when she rescued Autumn from horrible circumstances, and later learned that she was struggling in the kennels – she couldn’t resist taking her into her life.
"Poor Autumn was found trapped in the wiring of the sofa. Her leg had been tangled in the metal wire and it had dug in so deeply you could nearly see the bone.
"When Autumn went to kennels she couldn’t cope, wouldn’t eat and didn’t wag her tail for a week. So I decided to foster her. When she came home, she immediately went and curled up on the sofa with my rescue cat Bee.
"She was also scared of men and flinched whenever you touched her. Autumn went through a lot of operations and very nearly lost her leg but thankfully she pulled through and kept all four!
"Happily, Autumn is now a different dog and despite her background and the scar left she has done amazingly well, and we have since adopted another dog to keep her company!"
Inspector Tony Woodley tells us about an inspector who made a last minute Christmas Eve visit, that ended up helping to change a life:
The Inspector knocks on the door of the small house which looks a little neglected. A middle aged man, looking unkempt and unshaven answers the door. He sees the RSPCA logo and, unusually, breaks down in tears.
There’s no food for Keith or the dogs anywhere in the house. The two terriers have fleas and long nails but are clearly as utterly devoted to their owner as he is to them.
In fact it transpires that they’re all he has left. He’s lost his job, his family left him and his house is about to be repossessed by the council. He’s about to spend Christmas with just himself and his beloved pets.
On this occasion our officer realised that the best place for the dogs is with their owner and that he needed his help. He heads to the nearby RSPCA animal centre where he collects a tray of dog food and some clean blankets. He also stops and buys milk, bread, biscuits and tea bags. The Inspector clips the nails on the dogs, treats them for fleas, gives the owner the supplies and has a cup of tea with him.
The two agree to meet again between Christmas and New Year to see how the dogs are doing and, of course, so the Inspector can check on Keith. Keith agrees to help from the local social services, he is not evicted and is helped to find a new job. Of course, he keeps his dogs and they keep him. The name of the Inspector…well, he’s writing this.
Give some kindness this Christmas
We’re appealing for kindness this Christmas to help the thousands of animals who are facing neglect and cruelty over the festive season. This year, your kindness can help us care for a rescued animal over the three main days of the holidays.