In the Press: ‘Give a dog a care home’ says charity
Below is an article featured in carehome.co.uk by Angeline Albert, News Editor
Louise Russell is used to being asked to rehome animals whose owners are moving into care homes but when staff at Invernevis House asked her to find them a ‘care home dog’, she wondered why more didn’t have them.
Invernevis House in Fort William allowed a resident named John to bring Henry, his King Charles Spaniel, with him when he moved into the care home. But the death of Henry brought a great sadness not just to one resident but everyone else.
Louise Russell, who set up the charity ‘Give a Dog a Bone… and an animal a home’, was asked to launch an appeal for a pet on her charity’s Facebook page and soon found an abandoned street dog named William for the care home. William had been a street dog in Cyprus, before he was put in a dog pound. Covered in fleas and ticks, he was half his own body weight and living in a cell with dead dogs. William was going to be put to sleep in a week if nobody claimed him.
Luckily, the dog was nurtured back to health by a couple in the UK and was then rehomed in the Scottish highlands as a pet for the care home.
On his first night as a care home dog, William got a lot of attention from the residents and after a long walk with one staff member, went straight to John’s bedroom to settle in for the night.
William is so popular, the dog has been given his own Facebook page and a key worker Lucille Burns to watch over him.
Lucille Burns said: “When Henry passed away it was a great loss to the majority of residents. I didn’t think the first dog the charity gave us would be the one we would keep. I had been looking for weeks for a suitable dog before I contacted the charity.
“It is as if he senses that he has to be gentle. He doesn’t jump and he doesn’t ignore anyone.
“He goes on the bus to greet people coming for daycare services.
“The atmosphere is different when the dog is there. I think more care homes should take on dogs.
“We’ve been very lucky our local vets are sponsoring him. They pay all his vet bills. They pay for worming, getting his claws cut. The local groomers pay for his hair to be cut.”
Louise Russell’s charity work began after she stopped to chat with a neighbour one day and discovered how lonely some single people can be in later life. She set up the ‘Give a Dog a Bone…and an animal a home’ charity in 2013 to help older people to afford a rescue pet.
The charity pays for rehoming fees and ongoing pet food costs, relieving those aged over 60 of some of the financial burdens associated with owning a pet. In less than two years, the charity has helped give 80 animals a home, and given their owners companionship.
Louise Russel said “William is changing the lives of those in residence in the care home.
“In the same way that this charity found the perfect care home dog for Invernevis Care Home – we offer to help other care homes find the perfect rescue animal for them.
“This is a plea to all care homes – please consider giving a rescue animal a home…this charity will help. It might just change your residents lives”.
Ms Russell’s charity work has been honoured by Prime Minister David Cameron with a Point of Light award (September 2015) for making a change in her community and inspiring others.
The charity’s website giveadogabone.net is always looking for sponsors. It is funded completely by donations raised through raffles and sponsored events.
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