As a sanctuary we are ever expanding, ever building and improving to provide as much enrichment for our animals as possible. We often get asked if a dog is going to be re-homed when we post a picture or update because there is a misconception that a lot of our dogs ARE re-homeable and a lot of this is our fault because we always, always look at the positive and don't feel it's necessary to dwell on the negative. They are after all our 'kids', we love them and there are no 'bad' dogs as far as we are concerned. We have the S.O.S Rehab dogs obviously that come for short stays but the Sanctuary dogs are forever home dogs, they are with the sanctuary for life and the sanctuary IS thier home. We take dogs that have run out of options, 99% of them will have been pts cases and they have run out of options for a reason. The dogs we take are scarred inside and out, traumatised, brain damaged, disabled, victims of cruelty, chain dogs, ex fighting or bait dogs, sexual and physical abuse and cruelty cases etc. Many of them have bite histories and they simply do not and will not ever fit into the domestic world. We can and do of course rehabilitate dogs, occasionally enough to send them back out into exactly the right, carefully chosen environment but most can only be re-rehabilitated enough to live a happy life WITH us, for thier safety and the safety of others. We can and have become the victims of criticism because of our own success but with us a picture does not tell a thousand words, just because you see a cute picture of an improving dog it does not mean that dog will ever be safe to re-home. It can take months to get a photo of Joy cuddling a dog, or a snap of a dog sat happily watching the world go by or being groomed by a volunteer. Hours and hours of intense one on one work, slowly inching forward to address high risk bite levels, highly unpredictable and dangerous behaviour or intense crippling fear but it does not mean that that dog will ever be safe enough for us to place in even a carefully selected home. Many of our dogs come from RESCUE because rescue is not permitted to put them into a home with a bite history so we rescue the rescue's who can't be re-homed EVER.
Joy is very low key, her passion is saving the ones very few people can....she always downplays the perils for a number of reasons but I can assure you when she says a dog is 'cheeky' it's actually a dog very few people would or could touch.
"A hallmark of outstanding rescue is that no matter how many all of us involved want to save; the best rescue is never about 'bums on seats' it's about finding the best and happiest fit for every single one we commit to."by Michelle Holmes
We are aware it can be difficult to envisage what life is like at the sanctuary but we can assure you it's not a prison sentence, kennel life is not a bad life in fact it's what many of the dogs we take prefer and how they thrive. We try to give as much visual information as possible through our pictures and updates so that you all feel a part of it; in fact we post far more than most but we know it's still hard to gain a real picture of what we do. With so many animals, the sanctuary day is a long one. Of course there is the feeding, watering, cleaning and constant changing of bedding etc but the outside areas are also used in rotation from 7am through to 7pm and we now have volunteers out most days which is a huge boon for the dogs who get more precious one on one and play time. We have 13 play areas in total plus we have the bonus of the surrounding fields and countryside for quiet walks. All of the dogs get free time, play time, walks and time out of their kennels. We don't just take on a dog for life to stuff it in a kennel with no interaction and tick the saved box; we work hard to achieve the best quality of life possible for each and every dog here and we find everyone's happy spot, whatever form that may take or however long and difficult the journey to get there.
We are never still and are always looking for ways to make life even better and to further enrich the dogs environment and in the autumn we will be building another 7 play areas. The new areas will be a mixture of hard standing ( thanks to an amazing donation of 400 slabs from sanctuary friend Julie Jones) and grass. Some will have strengthened metalwork for highly dog reactive dogs and some will be roofed for 'bouncy' dogs. They will cover just under half an acre and will be centred around a jungle gym activity area which will consist of super strong wooden agility equipment, bridges, raised platforms, ropes and tyres etc which will be a fabulous place to hide treats for treasure hunts. The new areas will bring us up to 20 tailored outside spaces which ensures we can get as many dogs out as possible at once to enjoy a few hours kicking back in the sun chilling, careering around, climbing, jumping, playing and just generally having fun and living life.
The Sanctuary is not an end to life or a bad life, it's an alternative life and in fact a lifeline and new start to life for many and we strive to make it a happy, loving and fun life. People envisage the dogs here and can only imagine their days, but time spent, play, exercise, fun and a loving touch is what makes our dogs happy and that makes us happy. This is their home.
"If you have received love from an animal in your life then you are very lucky. Give back a little to this fantastic trust and see what YOU can do to make a huge difference. Love, shelter, healthcare and food. What an amazing gift you can give. Do it today. Thank you so much."by Helen Lloyd