THE FLEET DOG RESCUE CHARITY THAT HAS RE-HOMED PUPPIES TO OLYMPIC ATHLETES AND BRITISH ASTRONAUTS

Source: Hampshire Live (Extract)
Posted: October 17, 2021

A dogs home in Hampshire continues to provide safe homes for puppies despite complications of coronavirus and Brexit.

Established in 2019 by Church Crookham residents, Michelle Ballard and Gary Baxter, DogsnHomes has re-homed over 260 puppies.

The charity rescues puppies from Portugal and places them in loving homes based in the UK.

As a non-profit organisation, all the money received from donations and other fundraising goes back into the care of the puppies.

Holly Reeves has volunteered with the rescue since 2019, she spoke to HampshireLive about the important work the dog rescue does.

She said: “We are not a high volume dog rescue, we are small but our approach to re-homing is to prioritise the welfare of the dog. The charity works on a very personal level and the focus is making sure we pick the best homes.

“We do a very thorough home check and really get to know the family, to really assess their needs, abilities and restrictions. This does take time but it is worth it.

“For every dog we adopt out we pay towards spaying and neutering, to try and stop the cycle of unwanted litters being produced so ideally, we would love to do ourselves out of a job, as it were.”

Holly explained that Portugal faces a huge problem with abandoned puppy litters and due to the lack of spaying and neutering of adult dogs.

The charity works with private shelters in the country that rescue the puppies before they are brought to the UK at just over 3 months old.

When the puppies arrive in the UK on the ‘happy bus’, they are either fostered or go straight into their new homes.

Holly added: “In an ideal world we would help dogs from all over the world because there are thousands that need help but Gary and Michelle have formed good connections and relationships with the private shelters in Portugal.

“The advantage of rescuing young puppies is that these dogs don’t suffer a trauma the same way that other dogs may – and other wonderful dog charities look after those kinds of dogs.

“Our dogs can easily transition into a UK domestic scenario because they are so young and it works well for everyone.”

In the few years the charity has been running, they have had to deal with both coronavirus and the impact of Brexit.

During the pandemic, the rescue saw applications dramatically increase from families wanting to adopt a new puppy.

Holly said: “At one point we were getting up to 300 applications a month for our 15 dogs but we didn’t increase the number of puppies we brought over because a puppy is for life, not just for lockdown.

“At the same time, Brexit also happened so we had to make sure all the relevant paperwork was in place. I know some rescues had to stop bringing dogs over for a while, and we weren’t put into that position which is pretty great.

“Nothing will stop us rescuing dogs, of course we will always find a way.”

The charity has attracted the attention of famous faces including Tokyo Olympic gold medallist Tom Dean who adopted Yogi Bear in December 2019.

British Astronaut Tim Peake is a patron of the charity after his family adopted Woody in 2019.

DogsnHomes is keen to create a local, thriving dog community and try to adopt local wherever possible.

Holly said: “We do consider applications from anywhere but local adoptions mean we can give very hands-on support.

“This means adopters can meet up too, we have a private Facebook group for adopters to join so they can arrange meetups and anyone can attend events we hold. It’s really about creating a thriving and sustainable, local dog community.”

To engage with the local community, the team at DogsnHome run local events including a ‘Pup-Up’ shop in Fleet High Street.

During these events, members of the public can do some shopping to support local businesses, learn about the charity and view profiles of dogs currently available for adoption.

The next shopping event is due to be held on November 20.

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