The life of a dog rescue centre worker | TeamDogs
NEWS

The life of a dog rescue centre worker

Hope Rescue, in South Wales, talks to us about the realities of working in a kennels

Corrie David

Posted 3 months ago ago

A rescue centre can be a challenging but rewarding place to work. For people surrendering their dog, it can be the location of one of their very worst days. But it’s also where people go to complete their families, meaning there’s joy and excitement as well. 

Hope Rescue in South Wales deals with those differences on a daily basis. 

Hope Rescue was founded in 2005 after a local greyhound called ‘Last Hope’ was shot and left on a mountain-side in the valleys. Vanessa, the founder, was working in an unrelated job at the time but the story struck a chord in her heart.

From some research Vanessa found there was a huge stray dog issue in Wales, with around 10,000 dogs in the UK being euthanized every year because there weren’t any spaces for them to wait for their forever homes.

Credit: Hope Rescue

From there Hope Rescue started, initially as a coordinating rescue and finding spaces for stray dogs, then in 2017 as a charity and rescue centre itself. 

Sara, Head of Welfare and Adoption, said: “We take in around 900 dogs now every year, we rehome a lot ourselves and also still work with good rescues nationwide like Dogs Trust.

“We also offer a canine respite scheme for people who are in crisis and can’t take their dogs with them, for example escaping domestic abuse or if they’re in hospital, but desperately want to keep their dogs.” 

Hope Rescue has dogs of all breeds and ages looking for homes, with some ready to be rehomed immediately and others who are working with behaviourists to prepare themselves for a new forever home.

A day for a rescue centre worker varies from day to day, depending on the dogs’ needs. 

“It’s different literally every single day,” Sara explained. “I oversee the running of the kennels, ensuring the needs of every single one of our animals are met.

“We have animal welfare assistants who provide all the things the dog needs during the day: making sure their kennels are clean, that they get the opportunity to perform natural behaviours and to exercise, providing enrichment - training, food enrichment toys, games - and creating a training programme to give them the best chance at being rehomed.”

Credit: Hope Rescue

Sometimes the centre is quiet and the employees work on the dogs they have, other days they’re arranging a visit for a possible new family, and other times they have to take in large numbers at a time from a seizure.

Sara said: “Being a stray dog rescue, you literally never know what is coming through the door.”

Surrendering a dog can be an emotional and difficult process for owners, who can have a number of reasons for having to give up their pet. Hope Rescue understands this and always works to get the best possible outcome for the dogs. 

Sara explained, “We ask people to give us a call and give us as much detail as possible and we always do our best to help. 

“There may be some times where we are full and capacity means we can’t help immediately, but in that case we will advise another suitable rescue that may be able to help.”

Once a dog is surrendered, the Hope Rescue team then works to give the pooch the best possible chance at rehoming. Some are ready straight away, others require some more time and an adjustment period before being ready. 

“We’re lucky to have a really active network of foster homes, we have around 50 at the moment and we’re always desperately looking for more, because there will always be dogs needing fostering”

When it comes to adopting or fostering a dog, Sara said the main thing owners must have is patience. Each dog at the rescue centre has a specific character and needs; some may be fine home alone all day, others need closer care; some dogs like children, others don’t. 

“Sometimes we get a little oldie who is happy to potter in the morning and will sleep the rest of the day,” Sara explained. 

We try to be about finding the right foster home or adoptive home for the dog, rather than a blanket set of rules for adoption.”

Until that day of adoption comes along, the rescue centre must work with charities and fundraisers to keep going.

The centre utilises many relationships to keep the dogs in their care supported. Charity funding from charities associated with PetPlan and Pets at Home can be thanked for some of the interior developments for the dogs.

Additionally, they have in-house grooming for their dogs, and a vets’ station for a vet to visit the centre rather than transporting several dogs at a time.

Cheryl George, fundraising manager at Hope said, “Last year really had to change how we interacted with our supporters, moving to digital fundraising, so online auctions, raffles, virtual balloon races.”

However with leaking roofs over kennels and no chill out area for staff, there’s still plenty to work towards.

“We’ve had some fantastic support from grand funders and individual support, but last year the tables really turned in fundraising and they have kept us going, kept the doors open and the lights on.

“We’ve got some really ambitious plans here in terms of developing the site. Some of the areas are a bit worn and as the teams are growing the buildings aren’t fit for purpose.”

The Hope Rescue team is looking to the easing of lockdown restrictions to bring back hosting face-to-face events, such as dog shows, as well as continuing to run the digital events.

Some of Hope Rescue’s most eligible residents:

Credit: Hope Rescue

Reuben is nearly 6 months old and is a mastiff cross staffie. He has had an unsettled start meaning he can be worried in some situations. He is also a typical puppy who is into everything and a bright lad who loves to learn new things. He is looking for a patient owner who will use positive reward based training to build his confidence. He would like a home with another dog to help him settle and learn the ropes. He is looking for a home without children due to his sensitive nature. 

Credit: Hope Rescue

Trixie is a 2 year old staffie x bulldog. She came into us with her young puppies who have since all found new homes but Trixie has yet to find the right person and home for her. Trixie can be very worried and vocal of new people and places however once she gets to know you she is the silliest, soppiest dog you could wish to meet and a pleasure to be around. She loves to play with other dogs and would enjoy living with a dog. She is looking for an adult only home with quieter local walks. 

Credit: Hope Rescue

Harmony is a 3 year old lurcher. She came into us with her 10 puppies, who have now all found homes. She is a really fun and friendly girl who loves zooming around the paddock and would do anything for a tasty treat! Harmony can be vocal on lead around dogs so will benefit from a home with quieter walking areas but she is able to make friends with other dogs with gradual introductions. She can live with children aged 10 and over and would like a home with no small pets please as they are too tempting to chase! 

You can view all the dogs available at Hope Rescue here.

Comments
Be the first to comment!