At the start of the day, when the Animal Night Care Assistants leave and the day staff arrive in time for breakfast, all dogs are given a hearty feed, suited to each individual’s requirements. Following this, the team divides and they simultaneously walk the dogs and clean their kennels. Each kennel is thoroughly scrubbed down and blankets changed only if needed – we try to keep some familiar smells for our residents to come back to.
Every kennel is equipped with its own TV or radio, plenty of toys and blankets, and many even have their own sofas, all set up to create a homely environment. The kennels have heating and air conditioning for our cold winter days and warm summer evenings. Essential oils are often used to help reduce stress or anxieties, chosen to suit each resident.
Our dogs receive regular exercise throughout the day, from morning to evening, tailored to their individual needs, behaviours and condition. The nearby park, Wormwood Scrubs, serves as an ideal place to give the dogs a long stretch and run around. We use extra-long leads in the park to be able to let the dogs run freely, whilst still giving us enough rope to catch them if they go too far. Some of our assessments take place here, where we see how the dogs respond to other dogs and people.
We also go for walks around the quiet residential area where we are situated. Dogs are walked on short leads, and we monitor how they respond to our many neighbourhood cats, birds, other sights and sounds.
We also have a Sensory Garden at Mayhew; a space filled with interesting scents, sounds and textures for the dogs to explore, providing additional stimulation and enrichment.
Throughout their stay with us, dogs are under assessment by the kennel staff. In order to match the dogs to tier perfect owner, we continually assess them to have a clear understanding of what kind of dog they are and what sort of home they would be suited to. This includes monitoring their behaviour in the park, around new people and dogs, with their toys, and how they respond to us during energetic playtime and during downtime.
Time spent with the dogs isn’t just reserved for outdoor activities; we take time to socialise the dogs in their kennels, giving them plenty of love, cuddles and reassurance.
When dogs are getting ready to go home, we give them a nice bath in our indoor run. This run is also used as a space to train our dogs, set up agility obstacles, or just have a good old play. We continuously train the dogs in our care to best prepare them for their new homes, from teaching them to sit, to giving them lots of play time and tummy rubs.
Photo credit: Rowan Williams
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