By Ann Evans
As a nation of animal lovers, you have to feel sorry for pets who have been loved all their lives but find themselves unwanted when their owner goes into permanent residential care or passes away. You can only imagine the trauma and confusion when these dogs – and cats suddenly find themselves having to cope with life in a busy rehoming centre, far removed from anything they are familiar with.
In 2014 Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest animal welfare charity took in more than 17,000 dogs. Ten per cent of these pooches were eight years old and over. Some of these older dogs were there due to bereavement, or because their owner could no longer care for them.
To help the older dogs who struggle with being in a kennel environment, Dogs Trust have created a real home from home at their Shrewsbury centre. Oakfield is a quaint Victorian cottage once used as a home for the charity’s staff. These days its a residential home for elderly pooches – albeit temporary, until a new owner comes along for them.
Meanwhile, for Oakfield’s Oldies, as the dogs are affectionately dubbed, there’s comfy sofas, a fully functional kitchen, a working washing machine, a radio – all of which provides the familiar background noises that the dogs have been used to. They can snooze on the furniture or even paddle in their own paddling pool when the weather is nice.
Dogs Trust Rehoming Centre Manager, Louise Campbell explains that Oakfield gives its elderly residents the best chance of finding a new home: “At Dogs Trust we find forever homes for dogs of all ages from pregnant dogs to ten-week-old puppies to 14-year-old Labradors. Some dogs, particularly older dogs find life at the Rehoming Centre a little overwhelming and unfamiliar and this can make them anxious and therefore it can be difficult to find them a new home.
“Oakfield gives older a dogs that familiar, ‘homey’ and comfortable environment that they so need whilst they await their forever home. From 10 years’ experience managing both Dogs Trust Shrewsbury and Oakfield I’ve seen how m>uch Oakfield benefits our older dogs.”
Oakfield is a unique place. It gives the charity’s oldest and perhaps most vulnerable dogs a second chance. No matter a dogs age, Dogs Trust will always try to find them a home to call their own and Oakfield is the perfect place for elderly dogs to snuggle up and relax whilst they wait.
DOGS TRUST BALLYMENA
For those living near Ballymena in Northern Ireland, why not support your local Dogs Trust by joining them tomorrow – Saturday, September 5th for their annual Family Fun Day from 12 noon until 4pm.
There will be an All Day Fun Dog Show with classes including Best Senior Dog, Cutest Puppy and Best Rescue Dog, so make sure your four legged friends have their paws at the ready. There will also be a Doggy Dash, a raffle, Tombola and a variety of other stalls.
Dogs Trust Ballymena Supporter Relations Officer, Samuel Reid said: “We are so excited to be hosting another annual Fun Day, it’s a fantastic opportunity to meet local dog lovers and raise pounds for the hounds in our care as all proceeds from the day goes straight to the abandoned, unwanted and stray dogs we care for at Dogs Trust.
“There are all sorts of fun activities planned throughout the day so do come along and support Dogs Trust Ballymena we can promise you a really fun day out for all the family!”
Entry is £1 for adults and children are free but encouraged to donate one tin of dog food.
For further information on Dogs Trust or if you could give an Oakfield Oldie a home, please visit: www.dogstrust.org.uk
Photos courtesy of Dogs Trust.