Wednesday, 15 June 2011

News from Hersham Hounds

Back in February as part of Student Volunteering Week our regular volunteer Marketa updated on the work she does at retired greyhound rescue centre Hersham Hounds. She has kindly provided us with another update on her work...

Hersham Hounds kennels care for over eighty dogs, with some leaving and new coming every week. It is difficult to have any favourites, because the majority of the dogs are friendly and thankful for your attention. However, my personal sweetheart is a dog lady called Princess, a twelve year old resident of the sanctuary.   

It was the first dog I have ever walked at Hersham Hounds; I remember she was shy, but affectionate and we had a great walk together. Princess was abused in the past and when she came to the kennels she was very aggressive, biting both the staff and other dogs. Thankfully, the staff recognized her angry behaviour is caused by fear. It took her a long time to rebuild trust in people and both staff and the volunteers had to show extreme patience and loving care. They were successful in the end – Princess now shares a kennel with another dog and is friendly towards people. I still enjoy walking her, because it makes me realize that volunteering is worthwhile and does make a difference to people, or animals, living around us. 

With so many animals living there the kennels need care and maintainence, so in February and March each year teams of volunteers go in to help paint the buildings. Alex took a group of KUSU Volunteers down in March. Here’s how they got on.

Rachael, Stephanie and Crystal
On 22nd March, a group of KUSU Volunteers and staff headed over to Hersham in their oldest clothes, armed with brushes and huge tubs of green and white paint.  Amazingly, we had incredibly warm weather, and got loads of painting done- Crystal, Stephanie, Rhiannon and I did the indoor exercise yard where the dogs can go during the day, whilst Rachael and Alex (one of the centre’s regular volunteers), sanded down the mural outside the centre’s entrance for another very artistic volunteer to repaint.

Rhiannon and Crystal walk the dogs
                                                                                                    A                                       After a break for lunch in Hersham village we returned to start on the kennels- loads of 
white emulsion paint everywhere: by the time we left everything was so gleaming white, the dogs probably needed sunglasses! 
There was also time for walking the dogs before we headed back to uni, which everyone enjoyed- the volunteers perhaps even more than the dogs!

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