A saying that people who work in animal rescue live by is that saving one abandoned, mistreated or stray dog won’t change the world, but for that one dog, the world will change. But even though the individuals are important, and you can see that change just by looking at these before and after pictures of adorable dogs who were picked up from the streets, animal rescue can have more far-reaching effects as well—it can create a community where people are vigilant and care about animal welfare.
26-year-old David Fernández makes it his mission to turn rescue dogs that are unrecognizable due to neglect into happy house pets. While most passersby wouldn’t dare to touch these cases of severe mange and matted hair, Fernández responds to reports of downtrodden abandoned animals by getting them the vet care they need and connecting them with loving foster homes and eventually adopters. You’ll be amazed by what these dogs look like after a few months of good food and baths.
Santiago, Chile, where Fernández does his work, has an abundance of stray dogs. Although Chileans take pride in their compassion towards dogs, often providing food and shelter for strays as communities, and staunchly opposing proposals to cull their population, rough sleeping is still not easy for these cute dogs. As you can see from the pictures posted by Fernández, dogs living outside are vulnerable to mange, injuries, infections, and all the discomfort that poor hygiene and the elements can cause.
57% of Chileans believe that measures to control stray dogs other than euthanasia should be implemented, and public policy is gradually shifting towards population control for stray dogs. The Metropolitan Regional Council of Santiago is investing 3 billion Chilean pesos ($3,678,000) in spaying and neutering strays in an effort to slow the growth of the stray population. Recent laws have also outlawed pet abandonment and made microchipping mandatory in the hopes that pets won't end up on the streets or in animal shelters.
However, animal rescuers and overburdened shelter animal workers say that public education is necessary for any policy changes to help the situation, calling for people to have their pets spayed and neutered, volunteer as foster carers and donate to shelters and rescuers that help with spaying and neutering strays and fix them for future dog adoption.