Kelly Tether of the DDR.
Something special is happening in the world of local animal welfare.
Dundalk Dog Rescue (DDR) -one of the country's most effective animal charities - have after nearly a year of searching, found a place to call home.
But that comes with a previso - they have to build it first.
Last year the DDR were told they had to find a new shelter in which to house the many abandoned, neglected and abused animals that they
They were effectively left in a limbo, paying a per animal per night rent. The charity which is run completely by volunteers, was struggling.
“We were in contact with letting agents and Bobby in the Foodhouse took it up as a personal project to help us find somewhere. We explored various options but ultimately nothing worked out,” said Kelly Tether of the DDR.
“We were even considering buying a site ourselves as we needed to move forward.”
Then, thanks to Louth County Council, the DDR have been given a site.
“We had spoken to the council previously, and they then convened a meeting without us and came back to us, saying that they had a site for us to lease on a long term basis.”
And the site really couldn't be much better.
“The plot is just beside the council's pound, and they are willing to let us build on it.
“It's a big relief.”
“Everything we do is aimed at making the process as simply and as stress free as possible for the dogs.
“Taking them out of the very stressful experience of the pound and then crating them for transport is not something you want to have to do. We've had situations with dogs getting really upset or sick in the transportation situation. Avoiding that would be ideal.
“Now we will be able to walk them across into hopefully a much nicer environment immediately, which should really help calm things.”
The DDR are now in the process of planning their new home, and it's going to be pretty special.
“It's going to be a custom designed building with everything a dog needs, based on the experiences we have had so far.
“Dundalk will be the first town in Ireland to have a custom built and designed facility for sheltering dogs.
“There are going to be indoor and outdoor areas. There's going to be communal areas where they can meet and greet the other dogs.
“There will be an ICU unit for unwell dogs which unfortunately is a reality when you're looking after dogs.
“We're going to have an area in the building for people to stay while they are looking after the dogs. You have to have someone supervising the dogs - sadly because dogs will be stolen or worse, you could have a situation like Manchester a few years ago (when a large dog shelter was burned to the ground in an arson attack).
“There is also going to be a boarding/kennelling area and a grooming area which will help provide an income for the charity. Dog that have been fostered by us can hopefully come back on their holidays and stay.
The DDR is completely run by volunteers with all money generating going back into their but looking after an average of 70 dogs per week is expensive, and the DDR are costly doing their best to raise money for the cause.
“At the minute our costs are very high as we are renting, but you also have the cost of food, electricity, transport and veterinary, so it all mounts up. Will be able to run much more efficiently once we have our own compound. Nobody has ever taken a penny out of the foundation, other than what goes to the dogs themselves. We're 100 per cent voluntary, nobody has ever been paid.”
Currently the DDR are in the design process on the new process.
“At present we would have an average of about 70 dogs per week, be it in the shelter or in foster care.
“The dogs are currently fed and kept alive butwe hope to be able to provide a better standard of care once the new shelter is built.
“Once it's built we would hope to have 50 per cent in the shelter and 50 per cen tin foster care.
“The priority for the DDR is to rehome dogs and to rehome them to a loving and suitable home.
“Unfortunately many of the dogs get rehomed abroad due to the lack of regulation of the dog breed industry in this country.
“Sites like Done Deal make it very easy for people to breed dogs for profit. People buy these dogs because they like the look of them but they have no concept of if that breed is suitable for their family and then they end up on our doorstep.
“We want to find those dogs a forever home. The DDR would love to have the building completed within the space of 12 mon ths.
“Our DDR volunteers dedicated to this cause, and we are looking forward to giving the dogs the best chance at life and a new home. We need a lot of help from the community to make this happen but we will be left in a far stronger place where we will become effectively self sufficient. It will be a big ask of community and a push to get this shelter built but it will be something that the whole town can be proud of, ” said Kelly.
If you think you can help the DDR in their journey towards their new home please text 'DDR' to 50300 to donate €4 - a minimum of which €3.25 will go directly to the DDR.