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Dogs Trust’s newest Centre ‘Leeds’ the way

OUR DOGS’ Chief Reporter NICK MAYS was a guest at the official opening of the Dogs Trust’s newest Rehoming Centre at Leeds…

Photo by Nick Mays
Clarissa Baldwin Dogs Trust Chief Executive, Malandra Burrows from Emmerdale,
Emma Milne TV Vet and Philip Daubeny, Chairman of Dogs Trust with TJ,
an 8 year-old Golden Retriever at the Centre, who was seeking a new home.

I might have said this before, but sometimes I love my job! A recent case in point was the official opening of the latest state-of-the-art Dogs Trust Rehoming Centre in Leeds two weeks ago. As Leeds is ‘just down the road’ from my home in Doncaster, I couldn’t very well pass up the invitation to have a look around the new centre, so accompanied by Assistant Reporter Kay Redhead, who lives even closer in Wakefield, I did just that.

I had a personal interest too – about eight years ago, I’d spent a day at the charity’s old Centre at Adel, on the other side of Leeds and was mightily impressed by the dedication of the hard-working staff and volunteers in what, they all admit struggled to cope with the increasing numbers of stray, unwanted and abandoned dogs in the area. That said, Adel had one of the best rehoming records of all the Charity’s Rehoming Centres in the UK.

But happily, I was able to re-make the acquaintance of many of the old team who moved across to the brand new Centre, once again under the personable and efficient guidance of Manager Amanda Sands, who has worked for the charity for over 12 years.

Dogs Trust Leeds was officially opened by actress and TV star, Malandra Burrows. Malandra, of course, is best known for her role as Kathy Glover in Emmerdale and is also an avid dog lover, owning a rescue dog of her own. In fact, as Malandra related during her speech, she and many of her fellow dog-loving Emmerdale actors often used to decamp to the old Adel Centre during filming to meet the dogs and help out by taking them for exercise walks.

Amongst the other invited guests to then opening were TV vet Emma Milne and Duncan Greene, Chief Executive of the Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, whilst several senior Dogs Trust official were present, including Chief Executive Clarissa Baldwin Veterinary Officer Chris Lawrence and Chairman Phillip Daubeney.

The new site is an exciting and much needed addition to the network of 17 Dogs Trust Rehoming Centres across the UK which currently care for over 14,000 stray and abandoned dogs every year.

Chief Executive Clarissa Baldwin said: ‘We are so thrilled to be able to be unveiling another of our new Rehoming Centres. The facilities for the dogs are second to none, and we are just so pleased we can help so many more dogs in need in these regions. Last year there were 6,000 stray dogs in Yorkshire alone. The new Centre will be able to care for hundreds more rescue dogs at any one time and help us to find new homes for all these dogs with so much love to give.’

Chairman Phillip Daubeney explained that luck had played a great part in securing the new site from Mr Jackson, a farmer. Dogs Trust had advertised for the land in a local newspaper but Mr Jackson had missed obtaining a copy of that issue. However, by chance, when he went to buy the next week’s issue, the shop had sold out, and only had a copy of the previous week’s paper, which he took and then saw the advert.

Mr Daubeney also paid tribute to the hard work of Steven Rawson of the charity’s General Purposes and Finance Committee who had dedicated so much time and effort into completing the complex negotiations needed to secure the purchase of the site.

The new Centres can care for about 90 dogs at any one time, with 20 rehoming kennels, eight puppy kennels and 30 holding kennels. The kennels are angled, glass fronted and with underfloor heating. Research has shown that installing glass-fronts to kennels dramatically reduces noise and stress whilst allowing visitors to approach and interact with the dog through specially positioned ‘sniffer holes’. Real Life Behaviour Suites with one-way glass viewing will assist with behavioural assessments for the dogs and the Veterinary Suites will ensure that all dogs receive prompt veterinary treatment.

Specific Grooming Suites with tiered shower stations allows every dog to be thoroughly washed and groomed and for puppies there are the Special Puppy Blocks where mothers and their pups can relax in peace and quiet or enjoy the fun exercise area where new pups get to know the world around them in safety.

Different groups of visitors were shown round by Dogs Trust staff. Our group was shown round by Amanda, who was obviously proud of her new Centre and doubly proud of her dedicated staff.

The facilities were amazing and the dogs, many of whom have very sad stories, some of them being brought in as cruelty cases, were obviously very happy in their new ‘halfway home’.

One elderly Boxer named Bentley made a great impression on Kay, who later offered him a foster home (see below).

It was a day of new experiences all round. I found myself agreeing with Emma Milne when she said that the kennels looked comfortable enough for people to live in, especially with the underfloor heating. Well, what with so many lovely dogs as neighbours and being looked after by such wonderful people, who could disagree with that?

I wonder if they take holiday reservations?

* Additional Reporting by Kay Redhead

Our Dogs Reporter gets a vintage Bentley

OUR DOGS Assistant Reporter Kay Redhead ended up with more than she bargained for when she accompanied Chief Reporter Nick Mays to the official opening of the new Dogs Trust Rescue Centre in Leeds… a 14 year-old Bentley!

In this case, the Bentley was a 14 year-old deaf Boxer of the same name, who came to the Centre after problems forced his owner to put him up for rehoming. Due to Bentley’s age and disability, including several small, but benign growths on his body, it was decided that Bentley would not be permanently rehomed but instead put up for fostering in a suitable ‘foster home’.

The foster scheme ensures that all veterinary care for dogs with existing conditions is paid for by the Trust, enabling the dog to go to a home. It is ideal for older dogs such as Bentley where the only other option would be for the dog to stay in kennels to ensure its welfare. Legal ownership is retained by the Trust but the dog will stay in its new home for good.

Kay fell in love with Bentley and asked if she could be considered as a foster owner. Less than two weeks and a successful homecheck later, Kay took Bentley to her Wakefield home, which she shares with her son Antony, 6 and a number of Fancy Rats. Bentley settled in straight away and bonded with the whole family, including Kay’s boyfriend Ed.

‘He’s such a lovely, happy, obliging old chap,’ says Kay, 27. ‘I’m learning sign language for dogs and teaching him simple commands. He’s a quick learner and so affectionate. I wanted to offer Bentley the chance of a comfortable retirement and I hope he enjoys his time with us. I just can’t think how we got through life without him around.’

Sheena Sett-Ers her sights on a Willow

IN A similar chain of events, another OUR DOGS Assistant Reporter Sheena Stratton accompanied her partner, Chief Reporter Nick Mays to the Wiccaweys Border Collie Rescue Show last month.
Sheena had been looking for a dog for some months and wanted to take on a rescue. Whilst at the show she looked at some photographs of the dogs currently living at Wiccaweys and seeking new homes. One of these was ‘Piper’, a two-year-old English Setter bitch who came to Wiccaweys via a rescue in Oban, Ireland. Piper had been trained as a gundog but wasn’t very good at it as she is afraid of loud bangs. Her owner’s reaction to this was to beat her to make her a better gundog. Thankfully, Piper ended up at Wiccaweys and was being fostered by Alexa, one of the Rescue’s volunteers. She was at the show and duly met Sheena and the two bonded immediately.

Sheena has now adopted Piper and, a few days later, Piper, now renamed ‘Willow’, which suits her willowy build better, came to live with Sheena. Reports are that she’s settled in very well.

OUR DOGS Assistant Editor Ali Smith commented on Reporter/Rescue Dog phenomena: ‘I’m not going to any rescue centres with Nick. Every time someone accompanies him to an event, they end up with a dog. I’ve got enough with my two Staffies!’