City Life is the City of Cardiff's premier lifestyle magazine.

Emotional Rescue, We Visit Cardiff Dogs Home

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If you love dogs like we do, you’ll understand that we’ll do anything for our dogs – they’re part of the family. However, sadly, some of our furry friends have tough lives and that’s when, in Cardiff, the wonderful team of volunteers at Cardiff Dogs Home step up to the plate.

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Photo: Alex Milakovic

City Life met Alex Milakovic and the Cardiff Dogs Home team at a recent ‘Meet the Dogs’ event at Marco’s (Gavin & Stacey fame) on Barry Island. We were so impressed with the volunteers and the dogs we had to find out more.

Please tell us a little about your background?
Myself, and a few other volunteers, decided to set up a charity called The Rescue Hotel, which will run alongside Cardiff Dogs Home. I personally started volunteering at the home around four years ago. I set up the social media side of things to help promote the residents at the home, and to show that rescue dogs rock. I think that more and more people are willing to adopt a rescue dog now, which is great.

How long have you been at Cardiff Dogs Home?
The Rescue Hotel was set up last year by a group of volunteers. We are just in the middle of setting up a charity, The Rescue Hotel, which is great and so exiting. We want to make everyone feel welcome and to show people that even though dogs end up at the home, they’re not broke or damaged, they’ve just had a tough time and deserve nothing but the best. All funds that we raise will go towards helping the pups at the hotel with whatever they require. We are here for them and we will do anything we can to help them in their journey of finding the perfect home for them.

When was Cardiff Dogs Home established?
It’s been in this current location since 1993. It was built as a joint venture between Cardiff Council and the Vale of Glamorgan Council. It currently deals with strays from the whole of Cardiff and the east of The Vale of Glamorgan. It takes in sign-overs from anyone who needs assistance, regardless of where they live.

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How many dogs do you look after at any one time?
There are forty-four purpose-built kennels; thankfully we don’t often operate at full capacity but there have been occasions where we have had in excess of forty dogs and have had to double up and use the veterinary suite.

Are there breeds you can’t or won’t accommodate?
We have a statutory obligation to deal with any stray regardless of its breed. When it comes to sign-overs we can use our discretion. If we think a dog may be difficult to re-home, or we believe it wouldn’t be good for its welfare to be in kennels, then we can make other arrangements. In some cases we can direct people to other rescues. We do not have any restrictions on any breeds.

Are they vaccinated? What about health problems?
All dogs receive a health check and first vaccination whilst with us. If dogs are here for longer periods of time they will receive their second vaccination, otherwise the new owner will be responsible for this. If any concerns are raised on the health check then further investigation will take place prior to re-homing.

How many dogs have you looked after and rehomed since the facility opened?
It would be difficult to give an exact number but last year around six hundred dogs passed through the kennels. There have been years when it has been in excess of a thousand.

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Do you put dogs down if you can’t find a home for them?
We never put a dog to sleep simply because we can’t find them a home. The only reasons this could happen would be on veterinary advice, or because it is a Pitbull type (as identified by South Wales Police) and therefore cannot legally be re-homed. PTS (put to sleep) rates are extremely low at around 3% of dogs passing through. We have had residents at Cardiff Dogs Home for nearly a year and we will keep them until we can find them a suitable home or alternative rescue.

If someone wanted to visit Cardiff Dogs Home to view the dogs, how would they go about that?
People can visit anytime during our opening hours 10:30am – 12pm and 1pm – 4pm. Every day except Thursday which is 2pm – 5pm.

How is Cardiff Dogs Home funded?
It is funded by Cardiff Council however we do rely on donations from the public for either food, blankets and contributions towards additional veterinary services. The setting up of The Rescue Hotel is to provide additional support which is not covered by the Council as well as promoting the dogs and looking for suitable homes and caring owners.

How can readers donate?
By donating through The Rescue Hotel, which is currently obtaining charitable status – the money will go further because it is gift aided. We also accept donations of burns dry food, blankets, treats and toys.

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Are you looking for volunteers?
Volunteers can register on the Cardiff Dogs Home website for dog walking or to help in the kennels.

What are your plans for the future of Cardiff Dogs Home?
To continue to provide a quality service for the dogs and the people of Cardiff. We are currently looking to improve the existing facility or relocate to improve conditions for the dogs and create a better visitor and volunteer experience.

Images copyright and courtesy of Mark Roberts

The Rescue Hotel
Cardiff Dogs Home
Westpoint Industrial Estate
Penarth Road
Cardiff CF11 8JQ
029 2071 1243

www.cardiffdogshome.co.uk

Like and follow on Facebook @therescuehotelcdh

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