Situated in South London, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home is the oldest and most famous home for dogs and cats in the United Kingdom.
Since it was founded, Battersea has rescued, reunited and rehomed over 3.1 million dogs and cats – none of which would be possible without its team of over 1000 volunteers who help at Battersea’s three centres, in roles including dog and cat socialising, gardening, admin support and giving talks in the community.
And so it was on a cold November morning that I met up with Monday Matters reporter Bonnie Britain for a coffee and light breakfast with the Battersea team.
Bonnie first spoke to the Operations Manager Carly Whyborn about how they cope at this time of year with the influx of unwanted pets and Carly spoke of the need for foster families. To foster a cat or dog means helping to prepare them for their permanent homes by getting them used to a domestic lifestyle and handling by humans or monitoring their recovery following treatment by their Clinic team. You can find out more information about being a battersea foster family by visiting either the dog foster page or cat foster page.
There were just so many wonderful animals at the rescue centre that both myself and Bonnie could have taken one or all of them home.
Battersea used to have a policy of not rehoming any animals just before Christmas, as families would often want one for their kids – but upon getting it realised the dog or cat needed more attention than they could offer – or was more expensive than they thought.
However, this has been changed as it was deemed unfair to the animals and their potential owners – just because it’s Christmas. Plus, there are a lot of people who may be older or single who don’t have a family who live nearby and would love to re-home a pet – just in time for Christmas.
The rescue and rehoming centre has recently launched a campaign in which they are asking crafty supporters of the home to make and donate dog bandanas so that these scents can be sprayed on the bandanas and the soothing smells can linger with the dogs as they move around their kennels.
Staffordshire Bull Terrier Tyson has spent over 100 days at Battersea Old Windsor and is one of the many dogs in Battersea’s care who would benefit from a comforting bandana. The fun and excitable four year old loves to be outside exploring but becomes stressed when returned to his kennel.
Bandanas for small, medium and large dogs would be gladly received, in any colour and print material, so dogs like Tyson can remain happy and calm while they wait for their new forever home to be found.
Sewers are invited to use the pattern available.
Whilst at Battersea myself & Bonnie heard how over the past year, they have seen 21 dogs come through its doors that have been used for breeding then abandoned. We were told how Battersea is urging people not to buy puppies from breeders.
Many dogs are sold through well-known classified adverts – online and print, so unsuspecting buyers have to just take the sellers word for what they’re getting. They may think they’re buying a Shih Tzu, but more often than not, that cute fluffy puppy, turns into something completely different.
The majority of the 21 ex breeding bitches dumped at Battersea’s gates were bull breeds and the average cost of a Staffordshire Bull Terrier puppy is £300-500. So if their puppies were sold for that amount their unscrupulous owners could have pocketed as much as £126,000 between them, and £6000 each.
After spending time with the dogs, our guide Francesca Vitale took us to the Cattery which was opened 5 years ago by the Duchess of Cornwall and cost £5 million. Something that I was unaware of, but Battersea has been rehoming not only dogs but cats of all ages and sizes since 1883 and have found homes for more than 200,000 felines. A great achievement for the charity.
Bonnie spoke to full-time member of staff and rehomer Ros Davies about her work and met some of the cats waiting for a new home. Ros said that in the run-up to Christmas rehoming slows down but they get a large number of cats through their doors.
Please help support Battersea by visiting their online shop.