They say that when like minded, big hearted people come together anything is possible. In 2016 that statement was more than proved as our dream to build a better, bigger home for those that have nowhere else to go slowly became a very happy reality. We struggled to pull enough funds together (Joy will live on basics baked beans for a couple of years which may be a bonus as she will be able to supply her own energy rather than face another 6k bill from EDF!) and had a few hiccups along the way, lots of laughs and a fair bit of despair...especially when Dave and the digger got stuck in a very deep trench (don't ask) but we got there!
The winter of 2015/16 saw us battered with high winds and floods which caused untold damage to the buildings and land time and time again. We were waterlogged, worn out and in a constant battle to keep the animals dry....with the high winds and constant rain we were literally fighting to stay afloat and the outside play areas for the dogs became unusable. As well as tiring it was all so disheartening having to fork out for the constant running repairs given our tight budget for the planned rebuild. However.....The Sanctuary has the honour of being surrounded by an amazing family that have supported us through thick and thin and thank goodness they believed in our crazy idea that our sanctuary on the hill could be repaired, renewed and rebuilt after the harshest and cruellest of winters ever to hit us and dug in with us to help us rise from the mud to achieve our dream.
The first phase cost c20k and comprised of upgraded and newly built housing for 32 SOS and sanctuary dogs. It took us three weekends just to get all the border fencing and perimeter gates up so we could get started but we now have five brand new pack houses, refurbished Rommie houses with new all weather surfaces and play areas and a huge new patio/play area of some 1,500 slabs! The Emu house that had it's roof ripped off in the winds is now refurbished and houses three living areas and serves as a wash room and storage area. We also have a secluded SOS area for highly dog reactive SOS dogs which gives us three much needed secluded spaces with minimal dog traffic. And last but not least the cats have a refurbished summer house and securely fenced and landscaped area along with Duckie the duck and Sammie the seagull.
After the completion of phase one The Sanctuary developed a split personality, half amazing and so neat and tidy and half not! So on we forged into Phase Two. This stage saw the old pig shelter and outside area being ground worked in readiness for the 400 donated slabs from the amazing Julie Jones being laid. Once the slabs were down, the shelter was converted into 2 pack houses for our current sanctuary packs giving each pack a large play area outside.
This then freed up the outbuilding they were in and enabled us to repair it, give it a brand new roof and convert it into 6 indoor SOS spaces with new concrete all weather outside areas. We also built a large new space for Daisy and extended Chloe's run giving her a larger outdoor area, created a new larger gated run and house for our other Daisy (EBT) and built a brand new house for Dexter. We added more outdoor stand alone SOS Spaces, took out the small play area on the end of the SOS area as this flooded in the spring and became a mud bath for the dogs and was eventually unusable. This is now raised 18 inches above ground level giving us an all weather play area that is triple its original size. We also added another play area, again all weather at the other end of the SOS barn for our highly reactive/high prey drive dogs where they have no view of other animals, helping them to relax into their all important rehabilitation and this now gives us four lovely all weather play areas which have made a massive difference this winter and will continue to do so in the years to come for both us and the animals.
The final phase, phase 3 saw us complete the last of the drainage works, lay access paths and build steps throughout the sanctuary and to totally weather proof us and of course all the finishing touches.
And all thanks to the wonderful support we receive, our volunteers and the very hard work of our fundraisers, we now have a newly refurbished Sanctuary and 24 SOS Havens (which are always in use and in high demand), four of which are reserved permanently as fast track spaces which will offer a vital lifeline to safety for dogs that are at major risk, need holding etc and will literally save many, many lives in the coming years. The total cost for the build was c£50k and each and every one of you who have supported us have made the dream reality. It's truly been a communal effort and we thank every one of you who gave of your money, your time, your muscle and your hearts from the bottom of ours. Without your continued support none of this would have been possible and it is a deep honour to us that you believe in us enough to help us dream big for those that need us most. If we are your hands in saving these animals, you are our heartbeat.
The last word goes to Joy who along with Teresa has not only kept the sanctuary running but has spent every spare moment adding muscle to the build.
"I know one thing when I step out now each morning and see how we have evolved, rebuilt, grown in numbers, improved living and playing standards for all the dogs and see before me a sanctuary that allows peaceful and happy living for everyone; I am totally humbled that this little sanctuary on the hill is now one of the main contenders for some of the most at risk and vulnerable dogs in the UK and through everyone's support we have become purpose built for these guys and I can't thank you all enough. Joy x”
Please think about making a donation to the sanctuary today so we can continue to take animals into safety. Your donation also provides us with the ability to give sanctuary to complex dogs who would otherwise be put to sleep, without your support we would not be able to save half as many lives as we do. DONATE