Animal Rescue with Marion Garnett
Dedicated animal expert Marion Garnett, founder of the Ealing Animal Welfare Bazaar, continues her column
IT was a cold and frosty morning when The Mayhew Animal Home’s van swung round the corner only to come face to face with a youngster wearing a grey hoodie pulled tightly over his head looking at them intently.
This gentle boy was just one of the dogs The Mayhew was due to examine in their annual visit to the Crisis at Christmas Dog Service.
This service, run by the charity Crisis, looks after the dogs of rough sleepers while their owners stay for up to seven days/nights in the adjacent residential centre. Similar to last year, the Dogs Service area was more original than anything seen on Grand Designs. Specially constructed round a bicycle shed, it’s like a cave/stable/shed/shack.
But, mainly, it’s a shelter filled with love for the rough sleepers and their dogs.
During their stay, the dogs’ owners access much needed services such as advice, healthcare, podiatry (bad feet are a major problem for rough sleepers) and the sewing team (not only brilliant at repairing guests’ clothes but also dogs’ coats) and the dogs are cared for and cuddled by volunteers and checked over by the Mayhew’s animal welfare team.
After the seven days are over, the shelter is taken down and, as it melts away, no-one would have known it existed.
Then, if no alternative accommodation has been found, it’s back on the streets for the dogs and their owners. That’s where StreetLink is important. This is a government funded initiative aimed at ending rough sleeping.
If you see a rough sleeper you are worried about, including with a dog, then you can phone StreetLink on 0300 500 0914 or email them via streetlink.org.uk and they will aim to connect that person to local services.
It’s not only dogs with rough sleeping owners who The Mayhew look after but also cats sleeping rough because they have no owner.
That’s how Cirko came into The Mayhew’s care. Like the dog in the hoodie, Cirko’s young with lots of character. He was found as a stray on London’s streets and is now waiting at The Mayhew for a home.
He can be a bit shy of strangers but once he gets to know you, he is friendly and comes and sits next to you to be stroked.
If you would like to home Cirko, you can meet him at The Mayhew, Trenmar Gardens NW10 6BJ or call 020 8962 8000.
SHY: Cirko is looking for a new home