Manchester and Cheshire Dogs’ Home – where every dog is loved
The Manchester and Cheshire Dogs’ Home (MCDH) is on a mission, well several actually. Alongside caring for lost, abandoned and unwanted dogs, the Home aims to educate the community on responsible dog ownership, provide low-cost neutering and most importantly of all: to never put a healthy dog down.
Spread across two sites in Cross Brook Road, Harpurhey, Manchester and Knutsford Road, Warrington the MCDH is committed to finding homes for as many of the dogs and puppies it takes in as possible. Staff and volunteers will never put a healthy dog down and even dogs with health complications or behavioural problems will be given every chance to find the right owner and a happy home.
Long History of Care
The MCDH was founded in 1893 by a group of businessmen who had become concerned about the number of stray dogs roaming the streets of Manchester. Industrialisation and a growing population meant there was nothing in the way of care for unwanted dogs, so a dogs’ home in Stretford was born.
By 1897, the lease on this central site had run out so the Home and its occupants moved to its current home in Harpurphey where it has stayed ever since.
But it was the founders, a Mr Megson (whose printing business continues to this day) and a Mr Nixon a prominent chartered accountant, their sons and colleagues who continued to play an active role in the Home until after the Second World War.
It is their legacy of care that has paved the way for the success of the MCDH that we know today.
In 1999 the need for more accommodation was acknowledged and a huge 11 and a half acre site in Cheshire was purchased. This Centre for Excellence was once the home of a kennels and boarding house, before transforming into a specialist care unit for pregnant bitches, nursing mothers and other dogs who don’t do well in the traditional Manchester kennel set-up.
Between them, the homes take in more than 7,000 animals every year. Many dogs are simply abandoned by previous owners, left confused and scared requiring intensive treatment by staff to help them to full mental, emotional and physical health.
A Supportive Community
In 2014 a devastating act of vandalism tore through the Manchester site, when a deliberately started fire ripped through kennels. Though 150 dogs were rescued, the Home tragically lost some 60 dogs in the blaze.
Demonstrating the UK is still very much a nation of animal lovers, generous members of the public came forward to donate much needed food and blankets for the dogs and to send heartfelt messages of support.
Even celebrities across the UK sprang into action, including one Simon Cowell of X- Factor fame who donated £25,000 to the cause.
In just one day, following the establishment of a JustGiving page from regional newspaper the Manchester Evening News, more than £1 million was raised to help in restoring the destroyed kennels and facilities.
A Lifeline of Volunteers
Like other dog homes in the UK, the MCDH relies upon the generosity of volunteers giving up their time to care and walk dogs and take educational messages out into the community.
The Home offers an active volunteer programme where dog lovers can take their canine friends for a walk in the nearby green spaces, play with dogs, brush and care for them.
On occasion some dogs are assigned to a volunteer for more intense one- to- one care, increasing the dog’s chance of finding a suitable home.
Volunteers, too play a major role as the friendly face of the Home acting as meeters and greeters for members of the public visiting the centres.
The size of the grounds, means that volunteers may find themselves keeping the site spic and span, there’s always something for keen helpers to do.
Education at the heart of the work
Giving dogs a bright future starts with educating potential owners while they’re young. Going into schools and youth clubs to talk about how to care for pets is an essential part of the MCDH mission and one that volunteers take on with gusto. Teaching children to love and respect animals is the start of a lifelong love for many young people, who will eventually turn into responsible and happy dog owners.
The fundraising team at MCDH are a creative lot, finding fun and innovative ways to raise much needed funds for the centres. There are several charity shops dotted around the area with knitted crafts, homemade cards and toys among other items on sale.
Adoption and fostering
Naturally staff want all rescued dogs to find happy, longterm homes but there are times when even a short term solution is helpful. The benefit of fostering dogs is that it allows families to get know their new best friend before making the decision if a dog is the best fit.
Often families will go on to adopt their temporary resident but even if that decision is negative, any feedback on the dog’s habits and behaviours allows staff to build up a better all round picture of that dog. So many of the dogs brought to the centres are crossbreeds and found on the streets of Manchester that sometimes very little is known about their health and history. This information from foster families can be used to help staff correct any problem behaviour making the animal a better prospect for likely adoption.
Potential foster family members are all invited to the centre to meet their new foster dog before the pet is allowed home.
Like most rescue centres, staff believe long term homes are generally the answer and all potential owners are vetted for suitability and the individual needs of each dog. Potential owners must visit their chosen dog regularly in the run up to taking the animal home. They are also checked to see if they have previous experience, children, other pets or space in which their new animal can run around.
All animals are given a thorough health check, microchipped, spayed or neutered and leave with four weeks of pet insurance.
If you want to find out a bit more about the Manchester Dogs home’s aims, on their website they have this mission statement:
Our Aims –
The care of stray and unwanted dogs, including the care of sick and injured dogs
To encourage, facilitate and promote the benefits of responsible dog ownership
In furtherance of the above aims, but not otherwise, the charity may exercise the following
To provide for the adoption by the public of stray and unwanted dogs
To provide education and training in dog ownership, handling and behaviour, and the
benefits of dog ownership.
To campaign or make representations in relation to dog welfare and the benefits of dog
To provide neutering and other veterinary treatment for dogs in our care, and to
provide assisted neutering for dogs belonging to the public
To raise funds and to invite and receive contributions and legacies
To build, acquire, alter improve and (subject to any consents as may be required by law)
charge or otherwise dispose of property
To sell, let, mortgage, rent dispose of or turn to account all or any of the property or
assets of the charity as may be thought expedient with a view to the promotion of its
To employ such staff, who may not be Directors (Trustees) of the Charity, as are
necessary for the proper persuit of the objects, and to make all reasonable and
necessary provision for the payment of pensions and superannuation
To establish, or support, any trusts, subsidiary under takings or institutions formed for
all of any of the objects
To co-operate with other charities, professional organisations, voluntary bodies and
statutory authorities operating in furtherance of the objects or similar charitable
purposes and to exchange information and advice with them.
To borrow or raise money for the purposes of the Charity on such terms, and on such
security as may be thought fit
To invest the monies of the Charity, not immediately required for its purposes, in or
upon such investments, securities or properties as may be thought fit.
To do all such lawful things as are necessary for the achievements of the objects,
subsequent nevertheless to such conditions (if any) and such consents (if any) as may
for the time being be imposed or required by law and subject also as in hereafter provided.
In the news: