The fate of a dog. Abandoned by a human in his prime years, only to be rejected and discarded by humans again in his golden years, when it is the most delicate time when he needs most care and love.

This is the case of MFA’s mascot, Żepp, who was tied to a wooden fence under the rain back in 2013 in a field near Mellieħa. He was found by Noah’s Arc Sanctuary shivering and drenched in water.

Norman Darmanin Demajo, the former president of the MFA, adopted Łepp as the mascot for the MFA national teams shortly after the dog was rescued. The dog was originally named Sunday after the day he was found. The MFA even created a poll for fans to select a name for their four-legged mascot, Żepp, who was a big draw. Those who put forward a name were also eligible to win complimentary tickets to Malta’s domestic World Cup qualifying matches. During a game, this beloved best man’s friend used to sit and wait patiently near the parker.

Up until this week, Żepp was provided with food, medical tests, and vet appointments and was housed in a large kennel. However, he enjoyed roaming the stadium, which had become his ‘playground and home.’ If he was always provided with medical care, how come nothing was done about the fatty lumps that the MFA became aware that Żepp developed on his legs? Were they being seen to? Or was he seen, and carers were advised that these are cancerous, and considering Żepp’s age, he could not be operated upon and treated?

It was a passersby who noticed Żepp’s state, and after having the microchip checked, he was taken to Noah’s Ark, as the chip still showed that he resided there. In their post, Noah’s Ark said Żepp had also lost sight in one eye. Why didn’t MFA transfer the chip? Why didn’t he have a collar and tag on?

Well, this is normal in old dogs. My late Sprocket had cataracts in both eyes in his last two years on earth, but for dogs, eyesight is not as important as sniffing. So, they can still do well without it.

The MFA spokesperson said that they contacted Noah’s Ark immediately, and they were told that at his age and condition, he needed full-time care.

“Unfortunately, at the stadium, no one can be with him 24/7, so we decided it would be best that he stays at the sanctuary,” he said.

Excuse me, but this is abandonment, and this was the easy thing for MFA to do! No, this was not for the dog’s best!

Not even at a sanctuary can a dog have 24/7 care, as sanctuaries depend a lot on volunteers and on people who also work. No sanctuary has people at night, and very often, a dog who needs care is put up for fostering. Is it possible that no one from MFA could foster him during the night?

To make matters worse, at Ta’ Qali, Żepp was used to a kind of free lifestyle, a freedom which he has now lost while being enclosed in a pen in a shelter. True, he is old, as he is over 14 years of age, and according to the MFA spokesperson, during a recent vet check-up, they were told that his end was near. Some vets have glass balls in which they can predict the death of a dog! Whatever! It does not matter how much Żepp had left, I am sure that he would have loved to die at the place where he spent most of his years roaming around and being the mascot of Malta’s national football ground.

And the least that MFA could do, was keep on loving him, showering him with hugs and pats, and taking care of him as best as they could, without shouldering all responsibility on Noah’s Arc, and once Żepp passes away, he will have been paid a tribute at the ground before an important match!

Is this too much to ask of humanity? No wonder that MFA received backlash from the general public.

MFA should have gone to Noah’s Arc, and take him back while promising to take care of him till the end and provide a solution. In my opinion, again, the solution is to have someone taking him in for the night or to find a room or a space in an office in Ta’ Qali where he can sleep during the night. During the morning, Żepp could be left to the routine he was used to and loved.

How low has humanity gone and how low was MFA’s behaviour when it discarded a faithful friend it had for years, during his golden years, when it was during these times when he needed them most!

I wonder what is going on through Żepp’s mind at the moment. So this site is asking MFA to take him back and shoulder responsibility and give Żepp the best of his remaining time on earth. A dog is a lifetime commitment!

We humans give dogs a forever home. They, in return, give us forever love.

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