Have you ever wondered ‘why are dog rescue centres important and why do they exist?’.
The number of dog rescue centres in the UK is increasing, and sadly, there is a consistently high number of abandoned dogs in need. Dog rescue centres do such a fantastic job, and they must be well supported. But why do they exist in the first place, and how do they look out for the welfare of dogs?
We spoke to Jenny Green, Chair of Trustees at St Giles Animal Rescue – past 1st place winner of the DoggyLottery – to find out more about their amazing work.
Dog Rescue Centres: Why Do They Exist?
Over the last year, St Giles has taken in around 160 dogs and amazingly, they have successfully rehomed 140. But why do dogs end up at shelters like St Giles? It’s because dog abandonment is a real problem in the UK, and one that, sadly, isn’t going away.
There are numerous reasons for dog abandonment, but the most common is because a dog has developed behavioural issues such as biting and aggression. With love, care and training, all behavioural issues in dogs can be treated or avoided, so abandonment is nearly always an avoidable outcome.
Jenny tells us that the team at St Giles Animal Rescue often receive stray dogs through the local dog warden service, including some that are expecting puppies. They also care for mistreated dogs that have been rescued from puppy farms where they have been used for breeding.
Other reasons for dog abandonment include changing circumstances, perhaps because an owner is moving away or into an unsuitable home. Sometimes dogs are abandoned because their owner cannot afford to look after them, or they have become sick or sadly passed away.
How do Rescue Centres Help Dogs in Need?
Dog rescue centres like St Giles Animal Rescue support dogs in need in the following ways:
‘Dogs arrive in all kinds of conditions,’ says Jenny from St Giles. ‘Some need immediate veterinary treatment, grooming or weight putting on.’
Dogs like these that arrive at rescue centres sick or injured will immediately receive vital emergency health care to give them the best chance. Rescue centres also carry out routine treatments such as vaccinations, flea treatments, deworming, neutering and grooming, and this all helps to prepare dogs for a bright future in a forever home.
Dog rescue centres work with abandoned pups to rehabilitate them, building up their trust of humans and other dogs and focussing on social interaction and relationship building.
‘Dogs can and will arrive unsure and fearful of the world and people around them, particularly with our ex-puppy farm dogs arriving with little to no experience of the outside world,’ Jenny explains. ‘In this case, we have to begin total rehabilitation.’
At St Giles, dogs’ wellbeing is of the utmost importance. Staff and volunteers work really hard to keep dogs stimulated during their stay, offering nice long walks and time spent outside of kennels in an enrichment area, filled with different scents, textures and fun activities. Dogs also have lots of exciting training toys to keep them entertained, including filled kongs, snuffle mats and destruction boxes.
Dogs who struggle to adapt to a kennel environment sometimes go to live with dedicated foster carers who further help in the dog’s rehabilitation until a forever home is found for them.
Another reason why dog rescue centres are so important is because they help to ensure dogs in need find their forever homes. ‘Like many rescue centres, we are proud to help find the perfect match for both dog and potential owner,’ says Jenny.
With their years of experience and expertise, staff and volunteers at dog rescue centres like St Giles complete a thorough assessment and profile a dog’s perfect home. ‘We build up a picture of the type of home the dog is in search of, whether they would be able to live alongside other dogs, cats or children and we take into account the dog’s history, age, breed and training needs.’
Once a dog has been thoroughly assessed and has been brought back to full health, they will be put up for adoption and the search for the perfect home begins!
St Giles organise ‘meet and greets’ between dogs and potential owners at the centre. ‘This allows the potential owner to get to know the dog and allows us at the Centre, and the potential owners, to see if they would be a suitable match for one another,’ Jenny tells us. ‘All potential homes have a home visit conducted prior to fostering or adoption – a method to help support everyone with that transition. Post adoption, we will also check on how dogs are settling in, and will offer our on-site animal trainer for support and behavioural training.’
How You Can Help Dog Rescue Centres
Dog rescue centres are so important in rebuilding abandoned dogs’ lives and helping them to find wonderful new owners who can show them the love and comfort they deserve. Enabling and spreading the word about this vital work is at the heart of everything we do at DoggyLottery.
You can help and support dogs in need and the heroes that look after them at incredible rescue centres like St Giles by playing our fun online game. Who knows, you could even win a prize!
ABOUT ST GILES ANIMAL RESCUE
St Giles Animal Rescue is a registered charity responsible for taking in and caring for 100% of the stray dogs over West Somerset, covering two council areas; Somerset West & Taunton and West Somerset. The dogs are brought to them by the dog warden and, if not reclaimed by their owners within the legal statutory time, they then re-home them on behalf of the councils. As well as the animals they take through these routes, they also care for many other rescue cats and dogs that come to them directly from families that are no longer able to care for them. For more info on St Giles Animal Rescue, please click here.
Hollie Kingsland, Official Freelancer for DoggyLottery