A day in the life of a canine rescuer – what really happens at the shelter?


A rescue center can be a difficult but rewarding place to work.

For people who abandon their dog, this can be the scene of one of their worst days.

But this is also where people go to complete their families, which means there is some joy and excitement as well.

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

Hope Rescue was founded in 2005 after a local greyhound called “Last Hope” was shot and left on a mountainside in the valleys.

Vanessa, the founder, had an unrelated job at the time, but the story struck a chord in her heart.

According to some research, Vanessa discovered that there was a huge stray dog ​​problem in Wales, with around 10,000 dogs in the UK being euthanized each year because there was no space. so that they will wait for their homes forever.

Could you give a dog in need a loving home?

From there, Hope Rescue began, first as a coordinating rescue and space search for stray dogs, and then in 2017 as a charity and rescue center itself.

Sara, Welfare and Adoption Manager, said: “We take in around 900 dogs now every year, we relocate a lot on our own and still work with good nationwide rescues like Dogs Trust.

“We also offer a dog respite program for people in crisis who cannot take their dogs with them, for example to escape domestic violence or if they are hospitalized, but desperately want to keep their dogs.”

Hope Rescue has dogs of all breeds and ages looking for homes, some ready to relocate immediately and others working with behaviorists to prepare for a new home forever.

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

“It’s literally different every day,” Sara explained. “I oversee the operation of the kennels, making sure that the needs of each of our animals are met.

“We have animal welfare assistants who provide everything the dog needs during the day: making sure their kennels are clean, that they have the opportunity to adopt natural behaviors and to make sure their kennels are clean. exercise, providing enrichment – training, food fortification toys, games – and creating a training program to give them the best chance of being rehoused. “

Sometimes the center is quiet and the employees work on the dogs they have, other days they organize a visit for a possible new family, and other times they have to take in large numbers at a time from a crisis.

Sara said: “As a stray dog ​​rescuer you literally never know what’s going through the door.”

Giving up 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 is always working to achieve the best possible result for dogs.

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

“There may be times when we are full and the capacity means we cannot help immediately, but in that case we will advise another suitable rescue that may be able to help.”

Once a dog is returned, the Hope Rescue team strives to give the pooch the best possible chance of resettling.

Some are ready right away, others require a little more time and a period of adjustment before they are ready.

“We are fortunate to have a very active network of foster homes, we have about 50 at the moment and we are always desperately looking for more as there will always be dogs to house,” said Sara.

When it comes to adopting or raising a dog, Sara says the main thing owners need to have is patience.

Each dog in the rescue center has a specific character and needs; some may be home alone all day, others need more attentive care; some dogs love children, some don’t.

“Sometimes we have a little old man who is happy to tinker in the morning and will sleep the rest of the day,” she added. “We try to find the right foster home or adoptive home for the dog, rather than a general set of rules for adoption.”

Dogs have the freedom to run while at Hope Rescue - but what they really want is a new permanent home
Dogs have the freedom to run while at Hope Rescue – but what they really want is a new permanent home

Until adoption day arrives, the rescue center must work with charities and fundraisers to continue.

The center uses many relationships to support the dogs in their care.

Charitable funding from charities associated with PetPlan and Pets at Home can be thanked for some of the indoor developments for dogs.

In addition, they have in-house grooming for their dogs and a vet station for a vet to visit the center rather than transporting multiple dogs at once.

Cheryl George, Head of Fundraising at Hope, said: “Last year we really had to change the way we interact with our supporters, to move to digital fundraising, so to online auctions, to online auctions. raffles, virtual balloon races. “

However, with leaky roofs over the kennels and no chill out areas for staff, there is still a lot to do.

“We’ve had fantastic support from major funders and one-on-one support, but last year the tables really turned in fundraising and they kept us going, keeping the doors open and the lights on. .

“We have really ambitious plans here in terms of site development. Some areas are a bit worn out and as the teams grow the buildings are not suited to their function.”

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

Our roundup of some of Hope Rescue’s most eligible residents

Hope Rescue Information

Ruben is almost six months old and looking for a new home
Ruben is almost six months old and looking for a new home

Reuben is almost six months old and is a mastiff cross staffie. He had a shaky start, which means he can be restless in certain situations.

He is also a typical puppy who loves everything and a bright boy who loves to learn new things.

He is looking for a patient owner who will use training based on positive rewards to build his confidence.

He would love a house with another dog to help him settle in and learn the ropes.

He seeks a home without children because of his sensitive nature.

Trixie is a gorgeous staffie-bulldog and is looking for an adults-only house
Trixie is a gorgeous staffie-bulldog and is looking for an adults-only house

Trixie is a two year old Staffie x Bulldog. She came to us with her young puppies who have since all found new homes, but Trixie has yet to find the right person and the right home for her.

Trixie can be very worried and boisterous about new people and places, but once she gets to know you she is the dumbest, dumbest dog you could wish to meet and it’s a pleasure to meet you. to be with you.

She loves to play with other dogs and would love to live with a dog. She is looking for an adults-only house with quieter local walks.

Harmony is a lurcher looking for a home with
Harmony is a lurcher looking for a home with “quieter” places to walk nearby

Harmony is a three year old lurcher. She came to us with her ten puppies, who have now all found a home.

She is a really fun and friendly girl who loves to zoom around the paddock and would do anything for a tasty treat!

Harmony can be vocal on a leash around dogs, so she will benefit from a home with quieter walking areas, but she is able to befriend other dogs with gradual introductions.

She can live with children ten years and older and would love a home without small animals to please as they are too tempting to hunt!

You can see all the dogs available on Hope Rescue here .

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