March is Women’s History Month. And while we think of dogs as man’s best friend, they are women’s best friend too. But who is Mary Tealby? And what role did she play in the history of dogs?
According to a blog post from Bark, you may end up quite surprised by just how important Tealby is to dogs and their role in society. Or at the very least, her role in the creation of one of the first rescues/shelters for pups on the street.
Born in 1801, Mary Tealby was a campaigner for animal rights and welfare. While the first Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was founded by a group of men, Tealby was said to be a supported of the group. But overtime, she found herself looking to do more.
After caring for an abandoned dog, which was found by a friend of hers, the pup died, but it left Mary Tealby with a desire to help other dogs in a similar situation. This lead to her forming a place for abandoned dogs to go in 1860. She called it “The Temporary Home for Lost and Starving Dogs.”
Mary Tealby was a hero for dogs and is the founder of the modern rescue
As more and more dogs ended up in her care, Tealby found her “rescue” growing out of its temporary location and that meant finding somewhere else for these pups to go. She soon found a stable that was funded by herself, her brother, and a friend (the same friend that found the dog that started it all). There, they would take care of these dogs until they could either go home to their original owners or find a new home.
Even as she found herself on the receiving end of criticism from the press and others in her community, this attempt to help dogs in need ended up gaining her some very impressive support. And one of the people who offered their support for the cause was none other than Charles Dickens himself.
As more and more influential people began lending this support to this effort, public opinion shifted. And while Mary Tealby died in 1865, just five years after she began this home for dogs, acknowledgement of her work was kept on official paperwork until the 1980s.
But if you are really curious as to just how important Tealby’s work was, just consider the fact that while it is no longer called The Temporary Home for Lost and Starving Dogs, it is now the Battersea Dogs & Cats Home (an organization we have heard of time and time again). And in 2015, Queen Elizabeth II herself helped to unveil a plaque opening the intake kennels at the home in honor of Tealby’s work.
All things considered, anyone who has ever rescued a dog from a shelter owes Mary Tealby for what she did and the way she has made a difference in the lives of abandoned animals.
Had you heard of Mary Tealby before? Have you heard of this organization? Let us know in the comments.