As some of you may know I arrived in my furever home from Chilterns Dog Rescue Society (CDRS). Because I owe them a debt of gratitude for rescuing me in the first place from a pound in Wales, I thought it would be a good idea to send along one of my Paw Assistants to have a chat with them and find out what they do and why they do it, if it wasn’t obvious. I hope the following helps to dispel the myth, amongst many, of rescue dogs being problem dogs.
By way of introduction, CDRS are believed to be one of the single longest standing charities dedicated to helping dogs in the UK, having been formed in 1963 by a kind lady called Mrs Dolly Bromley. Mrs Bromley found a small dog tied up and abandoned in a town near where I live. After trying to find the owner she decided to take it to the police who said that if the owner wasn’t located, the dog would be put to sleep by the end of the week. This horrified her so she asked her friends if they could look after the dog, or if someone they knew could take the dog home. Fortunately the dog was rehomed, however this ignited a fire within Mrs Bromley to help other abandoned and stray dogs in the area. Her fortitude has allowed some 20,000 dogs from all over the UK and beyond to be rehomed and helped since 1963.
The Society currently looks after over 300 dogs a year, within their 40 licensed kennels. This number has increased when people are having a tough time and has been known to reach over 625. They moved into their new purpose built Rescue Centre in May 2017 so they are now able to help more dogs to find new homes, as well as keep dogs safe, warm and secure whilst the rehoming takes place. Having a purpose built centre allows them to put every aspect of rehoming and care under one roof.
Sometimes the breeds or types of dog that are surrendered or presented seem to follow trends, in that the dog “de rigeur” appear to have a shelf life until the next trend arrives. CDRS expect to be seeing some increase in the number of designer dogs in the future. Sadly it appears that Easter is the busiest time of the year for CDRS when it comes to dogs needing to be rehomed. This seems to be once the Christmas enthusiasm has become a memory and it’s clear that we need to be fed, watered, walked, cleaned up after and that we will grow bigger. We are a commitment after all. Having said that, there are a number of dogs needing rehoming for other reasons such as the owners moving home, moving job, not being allowed to have a dog in the home under a tenancy agreement or a change in social circumstances such as having a baby. Indeed most of the dogs that go through CDRS are because of a change in social circumstances, rather than a troubled dog who has caused damage or maybe hurt someone. The number of stray dogs that come to their attention can fluctuate.
For enquiries about rehoming dogs the current time of November through to Christmas is the busiest historically and the requests are handled so that the best interests of the dog is maintained at all times. Sometimes it is clear that a certain breed isn’t suitable for people. A Doberman in a small house with elderly people isn’t really the best proposition for anyone. Equally a beagle rehomed with people who are out of the house all day isn’t a good match. A careful matching process is always undertaken.
The average stay for a dog in the centre is around 4 weeks so not too long. Of course the length of stay can vary on the basis of the physical and mental condition of the dog, the breed, how much training or rehabilitation the dog needs and the availability of a suitable home. CDRS have a list of potential homes which they can easily scan through and find the best home for the dog. This is how I was rehomed so it clearly works. CDRS prefer to speak to and gauge the people who have requested the dog and help them decide if it is a good match. Often there can be discussion if a different breed or size of dog from the original request is recommended. They don’t rely on a large social media presence, unlike some of the other larger and more well known rescue and rehoming organisations who have such a large volume of dogs on their books that they need to give as much detail to as many people as possible. This gives CDRS the opportunity to meet the prospective pawrents and try to ensure the match is the best for the dog. CDRS feel that sometimes photos of every dog can give people the false impression and can lead to returns so they limit the number of photos on their website at any one time.
CDRS get dogs from all over the UK and sometimes receive some from Romania. They always ensure that any precautions with the dogs arriving from Romania are mirrored when they arrive in the UK. For instance any inoculations or medicines are repeated by vets here to make sure the dogs are in good order. Of course they ensure the dogs are all micro chipped. They have received other dogs from Yorkshire and Scotland amongst many locations. I came from a pound in South Wales for instance. They have also rehomed dogs to all parts of the UK and beyond, giving dogs a chance to enjoy a new lease of life. For a locally based organisation they have a wide reach.
Whilst the dogs are in kennels at CDRS they are walked at least twice a day and allowed out into the enclosed exercise area to run around and enjoy themselves. Registered dog walkers also take some of the dogs out on lead walks in the woods adjacent to the Rescue Centre to familiarise them with day to day living. The high street or being at the garden centre can be a scary or interesting place for some dogs and day trips with the staff get them ready for their life at a new home. The outside area at the rescue centre will soon have a sensory garden and enrichment area, along with paths through the woods to allow the dogs to have a stroll about and feel calm and relaxed. Sometimes some of the dogs can be taken home to live for a few days or so with one of the nice people who work so hard at CDRS. This also gives the dogs some time to adjust to living in a home environment if they are unfamiliar with being outside of kennels.
Dispelling the myth that rescue dogs are problem dogs is the aim for the kind and diligent people at CDRS. In fact they are smashing the myth.
You can have the chance to see what they do, as they are having their Christmas Market on 9th December. I’m going to be there too. Hope my pawrents remember to bring me home. Their website is http://www.chilternsdogrescue.org.uk – look them up.