Insanity is doing the same thing again and expecting a different result. The world needs innovators and dogs need them just as much as us. We use our grant programme to find people doing interesting and innovative work and empower them to do more.
Our partner SPA Pomujre do just this. They have worked with the Roma community in Northern Slovenia to improve the welfare of dogs. Traditionally the authorities confiscated dogs from the Roma, but this did nothing to help the dogs who would be often be destroyed and did not reduce numbers as the community simply bought more dogs. Instead SPA Pomujre build trust and improve the lives of dogs in the homes that they are already living in. They work with people on an individual level, they run dog walking clubs and dog training workshops and have created the first Roma language radio show on dog welfare.
Treating people with respect has changed attitudes, Slovenia now has its first qualified dog trainer from a Roma background and rates of microchipping and neutering are now higher in Roma settlements than in other parts of the province. Many dogs have moved from poor conditions tethered in a yard to sleeping in the home as a member of the family. Fewer dogs are abandoned from these settlements and the local government pound has reduced its annual capacity from 225 to 25 dogs. We are saving lives by creating happy homes.
We are continually searching for groups like Pomujre SPA and when we find them we spread the news far and wide through events like our International Companion Animal Welfare Conference, which last year played host to 251 delegates from 39 countries.