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The Birkett-Smith Animal Sanctuary

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The BSAS Canine Behaviour Rehabilitation Centre

BSAS Canine Behaviour Rehabilitation Centre

We are the largest Sanctuary and Rehabilitation centre of it's kind in the UK.

As well as giving sanctuary and rehab to our own animals we offer short to medium term rehabilitation spaces for UK rescues and privately owned dogs who are seeking a place of safety and rehab for behaviourally affected dogs who are suffering with various issues whether these be human, environment or animal directed.

The Canine Rehab Centre was born out of the main Sanctuary in 2015 when we realised there was a gap in the system and a dire need for a centre aimed specifically at dogs that were having issues in the home under their rescues or unable to be placed in a home due to behavioural issues but would be able to and be safe to go back to a home after some rehabilitation. Sanctuary is often seen as the last chance at life for an otherwise hopeless dog and sometimes it is but by filling the rehab gap in the system the SOS Safe Havens have enabled us to take in dogs for temporary rehabilitation stays. To to be assessed, understood, rehabilitated and prepared to go back out to their homes or their respective rescues again with new skills and new hope. In most cases this unique service offers them their last chance to gain help for animals which would otherwise be put to sleep and has been hugely successful and worked very well in the most part with only a few dogs being unable to go back to a home environment, mainly due to special homes being very hard to find.

Mia in her new home

Mia spent some time with us in SOS Rehab because she had fear aggression generally and really struggled with adapting into the home environment. She went through four homes in a number of weeks on leaving the pound which only added to her problems. 

She was saved by Cathy Holding and we gave her a new page and a new start. She was a proud girl who initially could be wary of new people and dogs. She spent five months with us whilst under assessment and rehab to help her with her fear and re-activeness to new things and she did really well. She then went out to rescue for her final assessments and to look for a foster home, the impossible one that had no dogs ideally or cats and no small children simply because she had a way to go with her journey to a forever sofa but in the end she worked her magic and we were pleased as punch to announce that she found her special long term foster and home and is enjoying being spoilt and as you can see she was really pleased with herself.

Navi during rehab

Our little buddy Navi had not had an easy time of it and developed a few issues which put her at risk. She came to us because she needed time, peace and space where she could be given a shot at a last chance. Without us, Navi's time would have run out despite the best efforts of her rescue BRNGB. She worked hard with us and is now back out in the world and has her forever home. 

This special girl is doing incredibly well and has settled in brilliantly with her new mum who says "She greets everyone with her Navi 'hugs and kisses' which we all find so amusing. You haven't had a doggy cuddle til you've had a Navi Cuddle!" The Sanctuary SOS Haven was without a doubt a lifesaver for Navi and she was funded by her rescue whilst we rehabilitated her. 

Rena with her family

Beautiful Rena who came in for SOS Rehab under Boxer and Bully Saviours was fear reactive with humans and dogs and generally a very, very scared girl. She worked really hard with us and did extremely well with her rehab and improved enough to go out for foster under her rescue. Her foster family adored her and she was officially adopted by Dan and Issy Staines and she now even has a dog brother.

 "After months of rehab at the fantastic Birkett-Smith Animal Sanctuary, Rena went into foster, and her fabulous fosters have decided to adopt her. BABS are beyond delighted after everything this girl has been through she has, like Cinderella, got her Happy ending." Boxer and Bully Saviours. 

We are usually the last port of call and hope for the dogs that come to us. When everything else has been tried we are a lifeline that can help with so many issues including the usual every day ones through to multi level deep rooted behaviours. Our experience of such dogs is built on the foundation of 150 UK/European aggressive/reactive dogs we already have here in Sanctuary. We have on-site air lock system boundaries and high security for the dog yards, CCTV, substantial play areas, on-site live capture darting and sedation, experienced veterinary treatment on hand from Girling and Bowditch Veterinary Practice and daily rehab to bring the dogs forward in a place of total safety. We have extensive knowledge of working with some of the most traumatised, effected and behaviourally disturbed dogs one can find and along with our behavioural staff and volunteers we are able to assist and help in the understanding, assessing and rehabilitation process of your dog whatever the background breed or size. Our rehab methods ensure that with no expectation or pressure, the dogs begin to feel safe and secure and re-establish human contact. During your dogs stay with us we post weekly diaries with photos so you are with us each step of the journey, can keep in touch with the work we are doing and gain some insight into how they are progressing and evolving. Not only do we work with the dog, we work with and support you, the owners/rescues ensuring that the dogs transit back into their domestic environment as smoothly and gently as possible with their humans taking on board new skills/methods and understanding of how to live safely and happily together. And we are with you and your dog on your forward journey for as long as you need us, simply picking up the phone enables us to support you both.

Our service covers:

* General behavioural issues

* Fear and phobias covering re-activeness of all levels to humans/animals/ inter dog and environment

* Stress and anxiety

* Guarding issues of people, space, objects and possessions

* Aggression* Separation anxiety

* Deep rooted trauma

* General environmental fears e.g of noise, objects, domestic life

* Abuse and severe trauma due to cruelty/neglect

* General commands and basic training/lead training and on lead manners.

* Touch therapy - taught and learnt touch with safe words for your dog

* Animal desensitisation - we have desensitisation play areas that the dogs spend time in where sheep, horses, birds, and dog friendly dogs also live to help with prey drive/animal fear and reactivity

* On site stooge dogs to work with our rehabilitation guests safely

* On site human social meets - we have a range of male and female staff and some volunteers that help with adaption to new people, high viz wear, hats and caps and unusual clothing

* Group dog walks for social skills building 

Rehabilitation is by definition 'The action of restoring something that has been damaged to its former condition, of restoring to health or normal life through training and therapy.' Rehabilitation is an umbrella term for us that covers so much; understanding, empathy, time, patience, restoration of trust and faith in humans, building on skill sets and communication. Dogs have the ability to relearn, rebuild, and reinvent part of themselves through rehabilitation and to leave here the best dog they can be functioning safely and happily in the home again. To watch a dog over time learn and move from severe fear, mistrust or over reaction into becoming a more rounded, complete happy dog who is able to meet the world calmly is the most fantastic journey for the dog and for us. It's a journey that if not returns the dog to its "former state" then readies him to safely handle the world, his surroundings and people with the required skills and live as a HAPPY dog; happier inside and out.

Joy Keys 

The BSAS Canine Behaviour Rehabilitation Centre

Please note: We do ask that vet checks have been done including bloods to eliminate any health reasons for sudden behaviour changes in case they are medically driven.

Fee Structure for Rehab is: 

Rescues: £15.00 a day which also covers full board, please feel free to contact us for more information.
Owners: Basic £18 a day but given variation and circumstances P.O.A. Please don't hesitate to contact us to discuss.

“You are the last hope for my dog”
A Sad Tail Shared With Love

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