Give a dog a home
PUBLISHED: 11:50 07 April 2014 | UPDATED: 11:50 07 April 2014
The recent recession and a faster pace of life means more dogs than ever are being taken into shelters across the UK, but over the last 12 months Essex Life, with the help of the RSPCA Danaher Animal Home in Whetherfield, has profiled some of those animals in need of loving new owners. Here are just some of those tales that have enjoyed a happy ending with a new beginning
RSPCA Danaher Animal Home in Wethersfield caters for a variety of animals, from dogs to guinea pigs. The centre relies on donations to continue running and the staff, many of whom are volunteers, run events and appeals throughout the year in order to encourage the public to provide a stable home for discarded dogs.
Following monthly adoption pleas within Essex Life and a broad range of in-house promotions, last year Danaher Animal Shelter successfully re-homed 195 dogs to loving families and each dog that is adopted into a new home means double joy for the re-homing centre.
RSPCA Danaher manager, Deborah Satchell, explains: ‘When you adopt a dog you save two lives − the animal you have taken into your home and the one that will take its place here when it’s gone.’
Louise, a two-year-old Staffordshire bull terrier, arrived at Danaher having been neglected, tied up and left with another dog by her previous owners.
Staffordshire bull terrier-type dogs are one of the most over-bred canines in the UK and this leads to high abandonment numbers. Also known as Staffies, they are a breed with an intimidating reputation which can often deter potential suitors.
Louise suffered a traumatic history, often common in rescue dogs, but staff at the shelter soon discovered she was extremely sweet natured, despite how neglected she had been.
After six months of living in the kennels, Louise was greeting visitors behind the counter of the shelter when she was spotted by Rebecca Carter on her way out. Rebecca took the troubled dog out for a walk and fell in love with her friendly character. She promptly adopted her.
Given her background you might expect that Louise, who was not house trained when she arrived at the Carters’ home and had a fear of fellow dogs, would have had trouble settling into her new surroundings, but her owner testifies quite the opposite.
Illustrating the canine’s new-found boisterous behaviour, Rebecca quips: ‘She’s taken over one of the sofas, ripped the cover to pieces and eats everything in sight. Luckily we didn’t want that sofa anymore, but Louise has definitely settled in.’
Despite some furnishing issues, the adoptive owner is adamant that she has no regrets taking in her new sofa-dwelling occupant and Rebecca emphasises that the family are delighted with their new member and Louise is a focal point in the household.
Rebecca recollects one of their favourite days spent with their new pet, commenting: ‘On Christmas morning we walked her through the park in our onesies!’ Rebecca also expressed her views on the lack of potential families for rescue dogs: ‘A lot of these dogs are not in shelters through a fault of their own. They deserve a second chance and I don’t understand why more people don’t consider taking them in.’
Tia, another Staffie, arrived at Danaher Animal Home with her three puppies suffering from mange, a skin disease caused by a mite infection. Tia was adopted last year by the Scriveners. The terrier dog was embraced by the family following the death of their beloved Yorkshire terrier in May last year. After becoming acclimatised to the kennels she was staying in, Tia was slightly overwhelmed by how much room she had in the Scrivener home, but has quickly settled in and enjoys her new-found freedom. Proud new owner, June Scrivener, believes Tia has changed their lives, filling a void their previous pet left behind becoming a sweet, obedient and generally lovely new pet.
Three-year-old fellow bull terrier, Doug, was a stray when he was allocated to Danaher Animal Home and ended up being accommodated in the staff room due to the stress he suffered living in the kennels. He has since found a loving home with the Berrows.
Heather Berrow and her husband were slightly wary of adopting a Staffie, which are infamous for having a questionable character, but trusted the reputable shelter and fostered the dog on a one month trial basis. They soon became besotted with sweet natured Doug and his enthusiasm for roast chicken.
Heather says: ‘He fits into our lives. We couldn’t bear to return Doug back to the shelter so we decided to adopt him. He is quite a large dog, so we were apprehensive as we didn’t know his history, but Doug has been wonderful. Initially he was slightly nervous. On arrival he was scared of loud noises, but now he has grown in confidence and settled in nicely. We are a family now.’
Doug is now comfortably living in a quiet household, communicating with Heather when he is hungry and enjoying curling up with his new owners on the sofa.
Financial reasons are often a feature in dogs arriving at RSPCA homes and young Trixie, who is an Akita breed, arrived at Danaher after her owner was made homeless. She amused staff with her bouncy behaviour and soon impressed Lorraine and Shaun Lampen who took the decision to adopt her. Lorraine explains why she chose Trixie, saying: ‘I fell in love with her. Trixie had been in the shelter since she was just a puppy and I couldn’t believe that no one wanted her.’
Lorraine also praised Danaher Animal Home for all their devotion to animal welfare adding: ‘They really aren’t recognised for all the hard work they do. The staff there are very devoted and they don’t get the praise that they deserve.’
While these four dogs have found a loving home, this is not the case for many others. Sadly, thousands of dogs are still deserted by the owners that they adored, to be left on the streets. These tragic stories continue unchecked, even though it is a criminal offence to abandon an animal and could lead to prosecution.
Although RSPCA shelters are always looking for families to provide a stable home to unwanted dogs, Danaher manager, Deborah, stresses how important it is that the public should only opt to adopt an animal that they are able to comfortably take into their lives. Dog owners, particularly of larger breeds, must be committed and able to equate to their new canine’s needs.
Deborah adds: ‘Dog adoption can be a daunting experience and we will always take them back if it goes wrong. Kennels are not the ideal environment for a dog at the end of the day. They need a loving and stable environment.’
This time of year is a common time for pets to be deserted. Many people are given dogs as a Christmas present and by April they have started to grow and become more demanding or the novelty of being a pet owner has simply worn off. For those that are unable to adopt a dog, the RSPCA relies on donations.
This Easter, Danaher Animal Home is running an event on April 20 along with an Open Day on June 29. For more information on donations, events or adopting an animal, please visit www.rspcaessex.org.uk or contact 0300 111 4321. n
Turn to page 15 to read about this month’s dog looking for home in the Home is Where the Heart is feature