Depressed dad saves dogs from killing stations to cope with empty nest syndrome

Dad Paul Viner with his rescue dogs
Dad Paul took up rescuing stray dogs abroad to cope with empty nest syndrome (Picture: SWNS)
Dad-of-three Paul Viner developed empty nest syndrome when his daughters left home, leaving him depressed. The 55-year-old from Essex became overwhelmed by a desperate need to feel wanted again. But Paul found meaning when he stumbled across a charity that rescued stray dogs from abroad, which were due to be put down in killing stations.

Killing stations take in stray dogs off the streets and euthanise those who are not rescued.

So Paul decided to use his spare time to rescue some of these dogs from an ill fate.

Now Paul has rescued three dogs; Shane, Sheba, and Sky, who had all suffered brutal cruelty at the hands of humans. Paul says saving them has helped improve his mental health after his daughters Kealy, 33, Gemma, 31, and Leah, 28, flew the nest. While the two elder daughters live together, Leah, the youngest left home two years ago. His wife Toni has also felt the emptiness and has since joined Paul in his rescuing efforts.
Paul Viner, 55 with daughters (L-R) Kealy Gulrajami, 33, Gemma Viner ,31 and Leah Bolt , 28, with German Shepard’s Sheba age 7 and Sky age 2
Paul with his beloved daughters Kealy (left), Gemma, and Leah (Picture: James Linsell-Clark/ SWNS)
Paul from Old Harlow, said: ‘I was really unhappy. My daughters had left and I developed empty nest syndrome. I didn’t really know who I was.

INTERESTING FACT ABOUT YOUR PET: Your dog is as smart as a two-year old! Ever wonder why children around this age seem to have a special bond with the family dog? It could be because they speak the same language, roughly 250 words and gestures in fact.

‘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.’

Paul, who works as a street trading enforcement officer, read up on the treatment of stray dogs and wanted to take action. His first rescue was Shane who was beaten and dumped in a ditch. So the Viners took Shane in but sadly the doggo passed away after troubles with his vertebrae left him paralysed.

The heartbreak didn’t stop them from caring for other dogs though.

‘We said we could never put ourselves through that again but we both said it was selfish to put our emotions before giving these dogs that needed homes a home,’ added Paul.

Shane the German Shepherd after being rescued by Paul Viner.
Shane the German Shepherd after being rescued by Paul (Picture: SWNS)
Sheeba the German Shepherd after being rescued by Paul
Sheeba was severely disabled and had months of operations to straighten her legs (Picture: SWNS)
Just eight days later, Paul heard about another dog in need, Sheba, a severely disabled Bulgarian street dog who was scared of other mutts.

Sheba needed months of therapy when the family got her and in total she had five operations, going through months of recuperation to try and straighten her legs.

Parrots, according to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), are the nation’s fourth most popular pet; according to a 2012 survey conducted by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), 3.1 percent of U.S. households owned birds. Some parrots can scream as loud as an ambulance siren. These birds are beautiful, but they’re difficult to care for and require lots of space, so the HSUS doesn’t recommend keeping them as pets at all.

Paul said: ‘From day one she was an extremely loving little dog but living on the mean streets of Sofia, Bulgaria had left her terrified of any other dog she encountered.’

But when Paul found out about another dog in need called Sky he knew he would be the one to help Sheba come out of her shell.

Sky was found along with his brother Sun tied to the gates of a killing station in Spain awaiting their horrific fate until a woman from a local charity rescued them.

Sky was brought to the UK and after four weeks of intense socialisation, he had moved in with his new family in January 2019.

Injuries to Shane the German Shepherd after being rescued by Paul Viner. See SWNS copy SWCAnest: A dad-of-three was left with empty nest syndrome after his adult daughters all left home- and dealt with it by rescuing neglected dogs from killing stations abroad. Paul Viner, 55, fell into a deep depression and struggled with his identity- until he turned his efforts into saving dogs from certain death. After aching to feel needed again, Paul in time rescued three dogs; Shane, Sheba and Sky who had all suffered brutal cruelty at the hands of humans.
Shane was also in bad shape before being rescued by Paul. He sadly passed away a few years ago (Picture: SWNS)

Paul 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 in Hertfordshire.
(L-R) Kealy Gulrajami 33, Gemma Viner 31, Paul Viner 55, Toni Viner 55, and Leah Bolt, 28 with German Shepard???s Shebia age 7 and Sky age 2. See SWNS copy SWCAnest: A dad-of-three was left with empty nest syndrome after his adult daughters all left home- and dealt with it by rescuing neglected dogs from killing stations abroad. Paul Viner, 55, fell into a deep depression and struggled with his identity- until he turned his efforts into saving dogs from certain death. After aching to feel needed again, Paul in time rescued three dogs; Shane, Sheba and Sky who had all suffered brutal cruelty at the hands of humans.
The dogs have helped the whole family (Picture: James Linsell-Clark/ SWNS)

Paul continued: ‘These killing stations appal me, the level of cruelty is horrific. But where there is evil there is good too.

‘I can talk to [my dogs] about issues I would be far too embarrassed to talk to a human about, dogs are non-judgemental.

Learn to read your dogs body language. Since no dog I know of is able to mosey up to the kitchen table, pour himself a cup of coffee, and confess to all of the things that annoy, frighten, and stress him out, I suggest that the next best thing is to learn to read your dog’s many signals and body language. This is how your dog will communicate with you.

‘I’ll give them each a cuddle, then, believe me, life suddenly feels better.’

Dogs certainly make life better.

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