Birmingham Dogs’ Home – a long history of canine care
With well over 100 years’ experience of rescuing and caring for lost and abandoned dogs, the Birmingham Dogs’ Home is a well known and equally well loved charity in the heart of the Birmingham area.
The organisation has its origins in New Canal Street where, in 1892, Sir Alfred Gooch Bart donated land for a brand new animal sanctuary proudly displaying: ‘Birmingham Home for Lost and Starving Dogs’ above its doors. Tragically in 2014 this iconic building was destroyed by a devastating fire, but by then the Home had already outgrown its humble beginnings, moving to its Bartholomew Street residence in 1987.
This relocation allowed volunteers to open their doors to more than 150 dogs in desperate need of care and love. The upgraded facilities included comfortable kennel blocks, an on-site vet, puppy unit and isolation area.
Yet, even this move proved inadequate for the sheer number of animals passing through the doors of the Home, so on the 22nd September, 2014 work began on a new site in Catherine-de-Barnes Lane, Solihull for a 128-kennel facility. In 2015 the building was ready to welcome its first guests who were to benefit from roomy accommodation, under floor heating, veterinary suites, a community and education centre and vastly improved staff facilities.
Now the charity is spread across two sites – its Solihull headquarters and a second centre in Sunnyside, Dark Lane, Coven, Wolverhampton, opened in 2002. Here, more than 100 strays are taken care of in a show stopping modern eco house surrounded by countryside and plenty of room for outside exercise.
Like any charity, the Birmingham Dogs’ Home relies almost solely on donations from the public and the support of its patrons, who include the Lord Mayor of Birmingham, the Mayor of Solihull, the Chief Constable of West Midlands Police and Lord Aylesford.
Staff estimated that the cost of running the Home was in the region of £2.1million in 2017, with every dog costing around £731. On average, a lost or abandoned dog is rescued every three hours. Charity bosses estimate more than 100,000 dogs have found their forever homes over the 125 years the Birmingham Dog Home has been in business.
But a little creative thinking goes away in the Birmingham Dogs’ Home and fundraisers have come up with the innovative offer of supplying wedding favour cards for soon to be brides and grooms. Each pack allows the happy couple to advertise the work of the Home and gives information on where to make donations.
With no Government funding the Home also relies heavily on the loyalty of regular donors and those leaving legacies to the charity in Wills.
For that personal touch supporters can currently take part in the Buy-a-Brick scheme where, for a donation, named bricks will appear on a feature wall of valued donors.
Help, advice and community education
While care of the animals is top priority for the dedicated team of volunteers and paid staff, community involvement and education also feature high on the list. Educational workshops held on site or taken into local schools take place regularly throughout the year, endearing the work of the Home to local residents.
Help and advice for pet owners is also available on site and the experienced staff are on-hand to discuss everything from behavioural issues to pet health. Visitors to the Home’s website can also access useful information on dealing with separation anxiety, potty training for puppies and various other titbits for a happy, healthy, well-behaved dog.
An army of volunteers
Like many other dog homes, volunteers work alongside paid staff to bring animals the best care. Volunteers and community supporters give up their time to walk animals, donate blankets for the kennels and leap to the rescue whenever the charity issues an appeal for money through its social media channels.
Rehoming dogs is taken very seriously at the Home, with specially trained staff dedicated to finding the exact match between canine and owner. Staff work hard to balance the sheer number of dogs coming into the homes each week with finding the right home for the right dog.
Anyone can come and take a look at the dogs during the day and once a pet has been decided on, staff begin the comprehensive application.
Potential owners are told about the need for daily routine, food and nutrition, the right kind of environment and the benefit of dog training classes.
Details are taken about individual circumstances and whether the dog in question is happy to go to a home with other pets or children.
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