Pets pay a high price for cost of living crisis - Christine Grahame

Christine Grahame MSP and show dog BagelChristine Grahame MSP and show dog Bagel
Christine Grahame MSP and show dog Bagel
​​I recall the late and rather elegant Max Bygraves (you’re a pink toothbrush, etc) beginning his routine with “I wanna tell you a story.”

Well, I wanna tell you this story and it’s not about the SNP leadership election but about a little King Charles spaniel called Bagel.

As a patron of Edinburgh Dog & Cat Home, when I needed to “borrow” a dog for the annual Holyrood Dog of the Year competition at Parliament this Monday, along came Bagel with Bridget the Home’s resident vet.

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Bagel, of indeterminate age, though possibly late middle age, was discovered abandoned in a car park. She was at death’s door - in pain, blind, deaf and malnourished - half the weight she should have been. It was clear she had suffered years of chronic neglect.

There are suspicions she may have been used (abused?) as a breeding bitch and when no longer of use for that, discarded and dumped like a piece of rubbish.

After being nurtured round-the-clock by in-house vet Bridget, Bagel made a full recovery. Her sight and hearing have returned, her walking is just fine and she is now a happy, healthy little dog.

Through this healing process, vet Bridget formed a loving bond with Bagel and decided to adopt her. Anyone seeing her now cannot comprehend the extent of what she was like when found and her now. Not only that despite what cruelties had been inflicted on her she is affectionate and delights in the company of humans and other dogs.

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She did not win “Holyrood Dog of the Year” but has done much, much, better winning a happy, safe and loving family home. But all dogs are not so lucky, indeed the demands of inflation on the cost of running the home and on the budgets of dog owners has meant additional pressures on EDCH greater than ever before.

So many need the home’s support at the moment, some during their darkest moments when having to consider giving up a pet which they can no longer afford to feed.

EDCH pet food bank provided over 67,000 meals in March to pets across east and central Scotland in the 88 locations they work in and in doing so, keeping thousands of pets in loving homes.

Despite the scale of this, they still can’t meet demand through the pet food banks and are in desperate need of donations of dog and cat food to meet that support.

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Added to that they are seeing significant calls to their seven-day-a-week helpline, which supports pet owners in distress, either through taking in an animal being surrendered or finding a way to keep them in their home.

Last year calls to the helpline increased 236 per cent and there’s no sign of this reducing. As a patron of EDCH and convenor of the Parliament’s Cross Party Group on Animal Welfare I know the stresses on the budgets of other animal welfare organisations are just the same.

Can I ask if you see a donation box for pet food that if you can, you give even a little to help Edinburgh Dog & Cat Home continue its good work for dogs perhaps not so fortunate as Bagel?

Christine Grahame is MSP for Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale