A DOG is for Life, not just for Christmas.
An old adage often uttered by many but sadly not respected as greatly as the volunteers at Forest Lodge Kennels which provides an invaluable service.
Without a full time dog warden in the city to round up lost canines, stray, lost and abandoned dogs often end up at the peaceful, countryside surroundings of the boarding kennels based in Quinton, near Northampton.
Owner Barbara Austin, a woman who has dedicated 30 years of her life to looking after abandoned dogs of all breeds, sizes and temperaments, takes in the dogs with the aim of rehoming or reuniting pets with their owners.
If the centre is unable to reunite pet with owner then the dog is kept for seven days, as required by law before it is eligible to be rehomed. But unfortunately, not all dogs can be rehomed and it can be some time before owners realise their pet is at the kennels and come forward to claim them.
Barbara said: “A lot of people in Milton Keynes don’t know we are tucked out here so if they lose a dog, without a designated dog warden, they sometimes don’t know where to look.
“Getting owners to come forward and claim their dogs is one of the biggest problems we have, and a lot of rescue centres won’t take a lot of dogs on.”
Currently, the home has 51 dogs on its books and is struggling for space. And some of the animals have been with Barbara since March.
“We’ll have to cope no matter what. They need us,” Barbara said.
“The most upsetting part is when the owners know their dogs are in here but they either don’t want to come and claim them or they can’t afford to pay the charges.
“Either that or they go away for a break, leave their dog with someone else, they go missing and owners find out days later that their dogs have been missing for a week.”
The charge for taking in a lost dog is £75, plus kennelling costs. But despite complaints Barbara explained charges were set by the council and not the kennels.
She said: “People often criticise us for making the charges too high but we are not the ones who set them.
“Even we think they are far too high but all we take are kennelling fees, nothing else. The rest goes to the council.”
The kennels are open almost every day of the year including bank holidays and even Christmas Day, so that dogs can be looked after in a safe environment until they can be collected by concerned owners.
Forest Lodge Kennels is a long established company with an excellent reputation for providing quality care for pets.
Staff understand how important pets are to their owners and ensure dogs settle in and are expertly looked after.
> For more details call 01604 862 239.