Dad Rescues Dogs From Kill Shelters To Help With His Empty Nest Syndrome
Paul Viner said he fell into a deep depression after all his daughters; Kealy, 33, Gemma, 31, and Leah, 28, grew-up and eventually left the family home.
The 55-year-old said he became overwhelmed by a desperate need to feel wanted again and suffered a mid-life crisis but found comfort when he stumbled upon dog charity, Mutts in Distress, in 2014.
The Hertfordshire-based charity rescues stray dogs from abroad, which were due to be put down in killing stations. These kind of pounds take in stray dogs and euthanise those who are not claimed.
Since volunteering for the worthwhile cause, Paul has rescued three dogs; Shane, Sheba and Sky who had all suffered brutal cruelty at the hands of humans.
Paul from Old Harlow, Essex, said: "I was really unhappy. My daughters had left and I developed empty nest syndrome. I didn't really know who I was.
"A lot of men go through a mid-life crisis so I knew friends who were buying Harley Davidsons and sports cars. I couldn't do any of that but I was looking to feel needed again."
His wife Toni, 55, added: "I did think there was a gap in our lives when our daughters moved out. I thought maybe we could get a dog because it would be nice to do things together."
To fill the void left behind by his daughters, Paul and his teaching assistant wife Toni decided to get a dog - and that's when they stumbled across their first rescue Belgian shepherd Shane in 2014.
The Street Trading Enforcement Officer explained: "I stumbled across a website for rescue dogs and I was shocked at what I read, the horror these dogs go through.
"I refocused and took on our first rescue Shane. He had a horrible life and hated the world.
Adding: "Shane had been in and out of rescues through no fault of his own he had suffered a horrible beating and was dumped in a ditch full of slurry."
Shane sadly passed away in early 2015 after troubles with his vertebrae left him paralysed but just eight days later, Paul heard about another dog in need, Sheba, a severely disabled Bulgarian street dog who was scared of other canines.
A few years later, he then took in Sky, who was found along with his brother Sun tied to the gates of a killing station in Spain.
Paul continued: "These killing stations appal me, the level of cruelty is horrific. But where there is evil there is good too."
The dad has since said all three dogs have completely transformed his life and his mental health helping him feel needed again.
And to help other dogs in need he now regularly volunteers at Mutts in Distress.
Featured Image Credit: SWNS