No, we don’t have an Oscar nomination and we’re not best friends with Leonardo DiCaprio (much to our disappointment!) but like heartthrob and avid lover of dogs, Tom Hardy, we were given the opportunity to visit the London branch of Battersea Dogs & Cats Home towards the end of 2015, just as he did as part of the fabulous TV series Pogdogs shown on ITV. Big changes have been afoot at one of the UK’s most loved charities and rehoming centres for dogs (and cats!) so we wanted to find out all about if for ourselves (and for you of course!!) So join us today as we tell you about our little adventure to Battersea!
ABOUT THE HOME
Set within the backdrop of the iconic Battersea Power Station and nestled away from the hustle and bustle of London’s busy streets is Battersea Dogs & Cats Home. Established in 1860 and originally known as ‘The Temporary Home for Lost & Starving Dogs’ it’s safe to say Battersea has evolved enormously since then with increased number of branches (London, Brands Hatch and Windsor), new and improved state of the art kennels and a huge number of workers and volunteers. Caring for around 8,000 animals per year (with over 5,000 of those being dogs) one thing which hasn’t changed though sadly, is the fact that even within a nation of animals lovers, such a facility is still required in this day and age (and some may say, more now than ever).
Upon arrival I was whisked away to visit the new state-of-the-art Mary Tealby Kennels; a £4.8m part of Battersea Dogs & Cats Home which is the first arrival point for any dogs coming to Battersea. These can either be one of the numerous strays picked up from London’s streets or those signed over by owners no longer able to cope. This is where the dogs will be kept for at least the first 7 days of their stay. Here they are checked in terms of health and general wellbeing.
Kennel life is obviously not going to be a normal experience for any dog, which Battersea recognises, therefore the kennels have been designed so dogs are able to acclimatise gradually with the help of a minimum number of kennels per block, none of which face each other, which can often result in dogs barking and showing signs of stress and aggression. Music can also be played into each kennel and there’s even a dedicated area where dogs can be groomed, which many require upon arrival. Incredible. There are also limited visitors so the dogs can keep calm and adjust to their new way of life. It is these little added extras which can make all the difference to the likelihood of a dog being rehomed.
Being located in London, where space is at a premium, Battersea have been clever with their design and have even managed to squeeze in fun outdoor play areas, so many of the dogs can benefit from a good run around rather than being indoors. Not only this, but as the beautiful Battersea Park is close by, you’ll often seen many of the dedicated volunteers walking a number of the dogs there. We were lucky to even bump into one of the most dedicated volunteers who has been a volunteer for decades. He was in his 80’s and it goes to show the range of supporters of Battersea’s work. If you’re interested in volunteering or supporting their work, you can do so HERE.
TIME SPENT WITH ONE OF THE HOME’S RESIDENTS.
Once we finished looking at the new part of the Home, we took a stroll to see the rest (via the amazing part of the home dedicated to cats (yes we know we shouldn’t really mention ‘them’ here, but whilst we love dogs we also love cats, so if you’re a fan like us take a visit there too! They even have special knitting events where you can sit and relax, knit and cuddle with kittens!)
Anyway, back to the dogs! Now the rest of the kennels are where the majority of the dogs stay and whilst not as sophisticated and calm as the new kennels, this is certainly on the wish list of Battersea to help restore and renew in the future along with very exciting plans to create their very own Vet Hospital on site (really, really wish we had won the lottery!!) While at the older kennels, lots of little faces peered up while passing through and we were lucky to be able to venture into one of the kennels to meet the beautiful Billy. Shy and timid, understandably so, and a little off his food, behind these traits you could see a beautiful personality just waiting to leap out. Having looked on the Battersea website, it seems someone else could see this potential as he’s no longer listed there! Yippee!!
There are so many other little faces waiting to look at you though, so if you’re thinking of getting a new addition to your family, take a look at just some of the dogs looking for homes across the three Battersea Dogs & Cats Home sites. You can do so, HERE.
We couldn’t end this blog post without mentioning the amazing campaigns which Battersea launch throughout the year to showcase specific topics such as “Staffies. They’re softer than you think” which is a topic we hope to look at further in an upcoming blog. Another campaign which we particularly love is the “Who Rescued Who” campaign. Take a look at this short video as we think it demonstrates beautifully how rehoming a rescue dog (or cat) can often result in them rescuing you, as well as you rescuing them! Might be worth thinking about if you’re considering a new addition to your family (and you know where to go if you do!!)
A big Thank You to Battersea Dogs & Cats Home for welcoming us to their South London site and especially for allowing us some one on one time with the gorgeous Billy! We can see a lot of change has occurred and we are excited about the upcoming plans for further improvements to the facilities in the coming months and years.
Remember though, they can only do so because of people’s generous donations, so if you feel you would like to contribute to their efforts, you can do so HERE. Alternatively, why not even set yourself a bit of a challenge and take part in one (or more!) of their exciting events and challenges across the UK and abroad too! Great way of keeping fit and supporting a great cause too. It will beat going to the gym any day!! You can find all the details HERE. In the meantime, Ted wants to say his own little thank you below…!!!
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