Before you say anything, I know I’m preaching to the converted – you all love your fur-babies J. I’ve said before that if you can, please “adopt, don’t shop” and many of you have given a rescue pet a second chance. Unfortunately though there are still thousands of animals in our country alone that are still waiting patiently for their “furever” homes and someone to give their love to.

It never ceases to amaze me, that capacity to love that animals have, even when they’ve been abandoned or abused and neglected. I think therefore, that it’s entirely appropriate to celebrate International Homeless Animals Day. This annual celebration occurs on the third Saturday of August, so it will be observed this year (2018) on Saturday 18th August.

At the risk of showing my age (I know, I look 21; but I’m not!), I always think of The Littlest Hobo when the subject of homeless animals comes up. I bet there’s a few of you reading this, gasping as you recall that slightly scruffy, eyes-that-could-melt-chocolate, cross breed pooch that was the star of this American show. And I bet some of you are humming the theme tune too – come on, admit it! “Maybe tomorrow I’ll wanna settle down, until tomorrow, I’ll just keep movin’ on… dum dum de dum de de dum…..”

Thanks to the internet, furry heroes from all around the globe can be followed and liked. There are some truly remarkable stories of animal bravery, love and compassion, and the bond some of these creatures have with their humans is truly humbling and heart-warming. I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve shed a tear or two on occasion as I’ve watched or read about their tales.

One such tale is about an American chap called P.J Regan who, like many people, had become addicted to alcohol. He’d turned a corner, but needed something to keep him focused on his way to recovery. Two thousand miles away in a shelter (and pretty much on her last chance at being adopted) was Clove, a Pit Bull Terrier who had been abused repeatedly and kept chained up. After seeing her picture on Facebook, P.J knew she was the dog for him; Clove however wasn’t so sure, she had lost all confidence in humans and couldn’t even bring herself to look at P.J.

Their light-bulb moment came when P.J decided that a walk was what they needed to clear the air – Clove loved the freedom to be walking outside without a heavy chain round her neck. Walking strengthened this pairs bond; P.J could forget his demons, Clove could run around and realise that not all humans would hurt her. It was through Clove that P.J met his girlfriend Rachel; a real case of canine-turned-cupid!

This pair continues to have outdoor adventures, sometimes covering 20 miles of mountainous terrain in a single day! You can follow them on Instagram @thebullhikes.

Back here in Blighty we’re not short of incredible homeless furries that could be said to have “rescued” the humans that offered them a home and love. First up is the amazing ginger tomcat called Bob, a London street cat who landed on his paws when he met James Bowen. James had suffered with behavioural and mental issues, was living in sheltered housing, and was enrolled on a Methadone treatment programme when Bob came into his life. This duo became high profile in Piccadilly and Covent Garden, where James busked and sold copies of The Big Issue magazine.

People would upload videos of this unlikely pair as Bob high-fived James or as he perched on James’ shoulder, and news of them spread fast. Fast forward to the present day, and the pair have their own home, a film made about them, several books, and are ambassadors for The Big Issue Foundation and The Blue Cross, among other charities. Life is certainly better now for this Dairylea Dunker loving, high-fiveing kitty and his human.

Piglet, a white English Bull Terrier from Arundawn rescue, and her human Mike Shaw, make the unlikeliest of pairings. She is pure white (save for a light ear patch), Mike is a solidly built, bearded biker – you get the picture! This pair is a true case of co-rescuers; Mike has suffered with Mental Health issues for years, and Piglet (real name Winnifred) was so stressed that she span around constantly.

Mike, his wife, and their (grown up) children showed Piglet what a loving home was, and in turn she became a source of comfort and canine therapy for Mike. They have their own Facebook page and, thanks to Mike’s incredible writing talent, you can follow their escapades on a daily basis. You might need a crash course in “Pigletese” – Piglet’s language- though. Anyone for a bendiyell? That’s a Banana in case you wondered! 🙂

I am privileged to meet lots of furry homeless heroes that are in the care of the animal rescue centres that we support here at Saint Leonard Veterinary Centre. If you want to find out more about Angels Small Paws, Lina’s Cat Rescue, Life Commitment, Yappy Ever After, Harleys Hounds, or Hope Animal Rescue, just go to their websites.

You never know, you could end up celebrating International Homeless Animals Day by making it your own “Gotcha” day for a lucky furryJ

Until next time; stay safe, stay well, and be happy 🙂