The Cotswolds is rife with happy dogs. With an abundance of rural landscapes and laid back country living, there's no denying the Cotswolds has become a haven for our dogs. And whilst it's easy to imagine this idyllic and peaceful canine setting, the sad truth is this doesn't represent the complete picture.
Many dogs aren't as lucky as our beloved own, and suffer at the hands of neglect. Every year thousands of dogs are left abandoned in the Cotswolds due to a variety of reasons. Unwanted or unable to be cared for in a tough economy, the number continues to rise. Fortunately there are people out there doing something about it.
These five local charities are dedicated to rescuing dogs from desolation and giving them shelter, with the hope of finding a forever home that will give them the life they finally deserve.
Gloucestershire Animal Welfare Association & Cheltenham Animal Shelter
- Registered Charity Number: 1081019
Based in Gloucestershire, the Cheltenham Animal Shelter is a charity with a long history of helping animals, stretching right back to 1926. Their mission is simple:
"to provide shelter for homeless domestic animals from across the county whilst attempting to locate appropriate new homes. We also aim to educate members of the public and professionals in correct and appropriation animal husbandry through education programmes."
The Shelter does an incredible job of rescuing and rehoming abandoned cats and dogs, in addition to many other small animals. They care for over a thousand animals each year without the help of any government aid; instead, funded by the generosity of the public and through various different services and facilities they provide on-site. Incredibly, they need to raise £500,000 each year just to cover the running costs of the Shelter.
With this in mind, the charity offers affordable boarding and grooming services, as well as running a dog training class and other events. They also boast an on-site veterinary practice, a pet shop for all your essential purchases, a charity shop, and a qualified canine behaviourist who is on hand to offer advice to anyone thinking of giving one of their dogs a new loving home.
It's worth remembering all their dogs are comprehensively vaccinated, neutered, and microchipped before leaving the Shelter. And when you adopt, they come with four weeks of free pet insurance too. For more information about rehoming one of their animals, or if you wish to make a donation, please visit them at http://www.gawa.org.uk/
Blue Cross - Registered Charity Number: 224392
Blue Cross is a nationally recognised animal charity with a rehoming centre based in the Cotswold town of Burford. The charity was founded in 1897 as 'Our Dumb Friends League' and only later became The Blue Cross, when it sought to provide care for working horses during and after the war. Since then, it has grown exponentially and now operates four animal hospitals around the country as well as several pet care clinics and rehoming centres. Their vision is to ensure that 'every pet will enjoy a healthy life in a happy home'.
To achieve their vision, the charity supports pet owners in five major ways:
Blue Cross are funded by the generosity of the pet-loving public, which has earned them the title of 'the people's pet charity'. The charity has recently announced with great excitement they've been granted permission for an upgrade to their Burford rehoming centre, which will enable them to double the 900+ animals they cared for last year.
To learn more about this charity and ways you can help, visit them at: http://www.bluecross.org.uk/
Dogs Trust - Registered Charity Number: 227523
Arguably the most recognised canine welfare charity in the UK. Dogs Trust have been caring for and rehabilitating dogs since its inception in 1891, when it was founded during a meeting at the first ever Crufts show. In their own words "Our mission is to bring about the day when all dogs can live a happy life, free from the threat of unneccessary destruction".
Originally known as the 'National Canine Defence League', the charity campaigns for the well-being of dogs who have been abandoned or given up by their owners. One of Dogs Trust most successful slogans "A dog is for life, not just for Christmas", underpins the charity's focus on educating the public in responsible ownership. They take in and care for around 16,000 dogs every year and currently stand at an impressive 20 rehoming centres across the UK, with Wickhamford serving as our local Cotswold branch.
When you look at their contribution to the welfare of dogs last year, it's staggering. Out of the 15,239 dogs admitted, a massive 14,895 were found new homes. And on top of that impressive statistic, the charity is committed to offering neutering and microchipping programmes to help combat the increasing number of unwanted puppies and stray dogs in the UK. For Dogs Trust, it's important to prevent the root problem as well as treating the symptoms of animal abandonment.
If you are interested in rehoming one of their rescue dogs, or you'd simply like to sponsor one, visit them online at: http://www.dogstrust.org.uk/
Dogs For The Disabled - Registered Charity Number: 1092960
There are many proven benefits of keeping dogs. They can improve physical health, reduce stress and anxiety and also promote self-esteem. More importantly, they are also known to help improve the concentration of a child affected by autism.
Dogs for the Disabled is a dedicated charity with four UK training centres, including one in the Cotswold town of Banbury, which provides assistance dogs to both adults and children who suffer from a wide variety of different disabilities and conditions. The charity was established back in 1988 by Frances Hay, when she realised the potential that dogs could offer to people with disabilities through her own personal experience.
Since then, the charity has grown and gone on to help hundreds of people who have been affected by disability to become more independent. The dogs are trained to complete various simple, but practical tasks like opening and closing doors, picking up dropped items, and emptying the washing machine. These tasks might not seem like much but they go a long way in giving back freedom to people who are no longer able to help themselves.
The process begins with a single puppy. The charity oversees the first year of the puppy's life in the care of a voluntary socialiser. At this moment there are currently 75 puppies being socialised, after which, they are admitted into the National Training Centre to enter their formal training. Using reward based methods of training, they are taught transferable practical skills which they will later rely on to help support the families they have been carefully assigned to, giving them a fulfilling and rewarding life in the process.
For more information on ways you can make a difference to this wonderful charity, please visit them at: http://www.dogsforthedisabled.org/
The Cotswolds Dogs & Cats Home - Registered Charity Number: 207006
Cotswolds Dogs & Cats Home is a registered animal welfare charity set up in 1962 that is dedicated to offering help to animals that have no-one else on their side. Working alongside volunteer foster carers they do vital work for the animal community, touching the lives of hundreds of animals every year. They also work together with local kennels and catteries to ensure the care that animals receive is of the highest standards. It is their aim to promote "a world where every animal is treated with respect and kindness".
The charity does this in a number of different ways, which are:
Currently, the charity has no physical rehoming centre of their own and therefore are limited in the way they can directly help animals in need. However, at present Cotswold Dogs & Cats Home is involved in fundraising for a new centre to be built. They have so far raised an incredible £3.25 million, but still have a little further to go to reach their goal of £4.1 million before they can start building.
With the kind help of more donations, the new building will allow the charity to be able to care for a significantly greater number of animals than they currently do. The new facilities will also improve the level of specialised care the animals receive and will go a long way towards giving them the very best chance of finding happiness in the Cotswolds.
If you would like to donate to this great cause, or for more information, you can visit them here: http://www.cotswoldsdogsandcatshome.org.uk/