TV chef Lorraine Pascale and Darkness frontman Justin Hawkins have recently re-homed dogs from the UK and Romanian rescue home at Glebe Farm in Birchley Heath. Tamworth Herald’s Ashley Preece went along to hear about the farm’s remarkable story so far…
From being left to starve in an illegal kill shelter in the Romanian mountains, to the wide open North Warwickshire countryside – it’s been quite a journey for six-year-old Renata.
Renata, whose ears were half bitten off by other starving dogs is now at Glebe Farm on the road to recovery thanks to charity Love UnderDogs.
This was just one remarkable story which emerged from the rescue home in Birchley Heath when I went along find out about the charity’s work.
Being a self-confessed dog-lover I had been intrigued by a telephone call to the Herald newsdesk about Romanian rescue dogs being rehabilitated in our region.
Zara Moore, adoption co-ordinator at Love UnderDogs, explained: “Well, we have been at Glebe Farm for around 10 years and we have always helped rescues on a smaller scale.
“We first discovered the mistreatment of dogs in Romania three years ago after Karina and Anna Hauser of Romanian UnderDogs visited a bear project for their charity and saw just how awful the plight of the stray dog population was.”
They came across a shelter the size of an aircraft hangar where hundreds of dogs had been dumped and left to their own devices.
“Myself and other workers recognised that the dogs in Romania had no voice, and after taking a few in and re-homing them, Love UnderDogs was born. Now we have a wonderful team who dedicate their time to make it possible for these dogs have a life every animal deserves.”
All dogs brought over are neutered, vaccinated, micro-chipped, hold a European passport and are fully assessed by UK rescue teams for behaviour and health. So far Love UnderDogs has homed over 350 dogs.
Among the charity’s supporters are celebrities including TV cookery presenter Lorraine Pascale and Darkness frontman Justin Hawkins, who have both taken on dogs of their own.
When I first walked into the kennels I felt a real buzz about the place. It was clear the dogs were well looked after – they looked fit, happy and healthy. Zara, who showed me round said: “Our dogs are walked twice daily or more when extra hands come to help out. We also allow them free paddock time where they can play with toys and run free – we endeavour to keep our dogs happy and healthy until a forever home is found.
“Both celebrities who adopted from us came via our website and visited the kennels.”
There are four kennel blocks and a round-the-clock operation is needed to keep the dogs washed, fed and walked.
Speaking with behaviourist Mark Cotterill, he said: “We do have a problem moving the older, bigger dogs on. We call them the ‘sticky dogs’ as they tend to stick with us.
“A lot of people are put off as they go for the ‘cuter’ puppies. They can be a real handful, too, you know, and they tend to need more training.”
Of the Romanian dogs he has been training Mark said: “They are much more obedient than UK dogs and require less fuss because they were often left alone for a very long time.
“It’s great seeing them re-homed because of where they’ve come from.”
Love UnderDogs works in collaboration with AMP, a Romanian rescue organisation in Brasov, which owns the Victory shelter protecting bears and dogs from mistreatment. The shelter can be looking after 500 to 600 dogs at any one time.
Run by Cristina and Roger Lipis, the shelter received a £85,000 backing from the Mayor of Brasov.
Every eight to 12 weeks Love UnderDogs brings over around 25 dogs at a time from Romania via the Eurotunnel and it is then that the hard work starts for Zara, Mark and the team.
Building their confidence and treating their medical conditions are the immediate challenges they face.
Anyone interested in finding out more will be able to see the work for themselves on Sunday, April 6, when Glebe Farm hosts an official open day. Visitors can bring their own dogs and walk the kennels’ dogs.
The day starts at 11am and admission is £3 which includes tea, coffee and cake. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more on the day.
To see the dogs and see the work Love UnderDogs do visit the website on www.loveunderdogs.org, give them a call on 01827 712 812 or pop and see the team at the farm: Glebe Farm Kennels, Birchley Heath Road, Birchley Heath, Nuneaton, Warwickshire CV10 0QY.