Forever Hounds Trust purchased our own dedicated centre just over twelve months ago. When we took on the Centre we set several priorities, which (despite the highs and lows of the last 12 months!) we are pleased to say we have been able to achieve!
The first task was to fence the boundaries of the Centre site. We actually only had a tennis court sized area that was securely fenced for the dogs to have off lead time, and the rest of the site was not secure (either from a dog escaping or from people getting in). The Centre is now securely fenced, which really does give some peace of mind. Our supporters gave generously towards an appeal to help make this happen, so thank you.
Before we purchased the Centre we negotiated with the neighbouring landowner to buy a small piece of land adjacent to the site to enable us to create a car park. The purchase of the extra land was only completed at the end of November, a year after the purchase of the actual Centre.
This piece of land is vital to the development of the site, as alongside the creation of a car park it will also be an essential turning area for vehicles. We have a planning application in at the moment to change the use of the land from agricultural to a car park, and we intend to use the opportunity to plant hedgerows on the newly created boundaries, replacing those that over the years have been removed.
Another important job was to install a fire detection and warning system. We luckily secured a grant towards this work, so we now pleased to have appropriate protection in all areas of the site.
In terms of future plans, we will be looking to demolish a derelict building on site and replace it with a veterinary/physiotherapy suite, laundry area and food store and kitchen. It will be fantastic to have these facilities, until then we will continue to make do. We have one room in the house that is used as a staff room, a sleepover room (if someone covering the night duty does not live on site), a veterinary consulting room and a physiotherapy assessment and treatment area – it really is a multi-purpose room!
What we have found is that the Centre is a great place for the dogs to decompress when they arrive. We are able to treat injuries and chronic conditions, fleas and worms. The dogs are put onto appropriate diets and have a veterinary and physiotherapy assessment, whilst also being behaviourally assessed. It is fantastic to see the dogs going off to live in wonderful new homes, and there is nothing we enjoy more than receiving photographs and updates of them.