Adopt a Greyhound Month!

It is April which means it is Adopt a Greyhound Month!

Sadly due to the high retirement rate of Greyhounds used for racing – a whooping 8,000 dogs, a lot of them end up in rescues across the UK.

We have created this little video to give you a little bit more information on Greyhounds and Lurchers (Greyhound X Breeds) in hope that you will understand why we think they make fantastic pets and should be given a fighting chance to find their forever home!

Shelter Life: May 2018

It is with great pride we can announce that Cheltenham Animal Shelter has been chosen, alongside Pied Piper Appeal, to be the Mayor of Cheltenham’s charities for 2018-19.

Mayor Bernard Fisher was inaugurated on 16th May at Pittville Pump Rooms, where the outgoing Mayor Klara Sudbury passed on the chains of office in an official ceremony. Mayor Sudbury has raised thousands during her tenure for the Focus Fund at Cheltenham Hospital and the Hollie Gazzard Trust, it is hoped that Mayor Fisher can enjoy similar success in the coming twelve months.

One of his first official appointments is the grand opening of the our own Young Animal Centre, the culmination of an 18 month project to create the perfect environment for birthing and raising puppies and kittens right here at the Shelter. This is swiftly followed by the officially launching of the Mayor’s Charity and then the serious work of fundraising begins…

Over the course of the year Mayor Fisher will be hosting and supporting a huge array of events; the Mayor attends hundreds of functions over their year in the position so fitting in all the fundraising must be exhausting! This coming year we have lots to look forward to including race days, Town Hall concerts, a golf day at Brickhampton and much more, before the final total is announced next May at the welcoming of the new Mayor  for 2019.

“I am looking forward to a very busy year as the role of mayor carries great responsibility and expectation as I will be representing our town at every opportunity” said Mr Fisher. “ A major part of my mayoral year is fundraising for charity.  This year I am delighted to support two local charities, the Cheltenham Animal Shelter and the Pied Piper Appeal and I am looking forward to promoting these worthwhile charities and raising much needed funds for both.”

Our own fundraiser, James Clay, added “Working with the Mayor and Pied Piper is an incredible opportunity for us. The chance to reach a new audience with our message of “adopt don’t shop” while raising money and building new relationships is something we’re really looking forward to. The events calendar is looking great and we can’t wait to see lots of supporters old and new enjoy supporting the charities over the coming year”.

More information about events will become available on the Shelter’s website and social media so keep an eye open for exciting invitations soon!

Shelter Life: April 2018

Think before you tick…or don’t.

Have you heard of GDPR? Chances are you are already being affected by it even if you didn’t realise; General Data Protection Regulation comes in to effect on May 25th and is the reason you will be receiving lots of requests for permission to keep in touch with you. The law is changing and companies must change the way they collect, store and use your personal information, including charities.

The biggest change for you is that organisations like ours will now need permission to contact you. Gone are the days of “tick here if you don’t want to hear from us” and hello to a new world of “you must tell us it is okay to send you an email”. For a charity like ours this means we have to seek consent from all of our supporters over the coming months in order to keep them informed about our work, our events, fundraising campaigns or animals needing homes or support. The reality is that we expect to lose more than half our contact information in the coming months so it is important people understand the implications of not responding.

Now personally I think GDPR is a wonderful thing; I’m sick of all the spam emails in my inbox and countless marketing calls just like you (neither of which the Shelter has ever done of course!). I’m hoping that both will be dramatically reduced after May. But professionally I am terrified at the possibility of losing our audience. I’m receiving a couple of requests for my consent each day, mostly by email with tick boxes, some with pretty pictures or clever wording but all after the same thing. It is giving me a chance to decide whether I do actually want to hear from these organsiations again, it is a chance to positively engage with those companies and charities that are actually important to me. My hope is that the only emails I’ll receive soon will be ones that actually interest me, what a glorious inbox that would be!

The reason I wanted to bring GDPR to your attention and give you my take on it is this; to encourage you to think about whether you really want that contact or not before you tick…or don’t. My hope is, when Cheltenham Animal Shelter ask for permission to keep in touch most people will happily agree. Excitingly, we will know the people we are talking with are supporters of animal welfare, rehoming and the work we do and that is an exciting prospect, an audience of true animal lovers!

So, please keep an eye out for the organisations you love asking to keep in touch with you and make sure you say yes!

Shelter Life: March 2018

Your opportunity to be a part of something special at Cheltenham Animal Shelter.

We are nearing completion of a brand new state-of-the-art Young Animal Centre to provide the best possible start to kittens and puppies born or left at the Shelter. The new facilities include a kitten maternity unit, puppy accommodation and new feeding and laundry rooms as well as a cat isolation block and small animals room. The project has cost over £300,000, mostly funded by grants and gifts from the likes of Sir Charles Irving Trust and Support Adoption For Pets. But as we enter the final stages of the project we now we need your help to complete the work…

We are offering you the chance to support this vital project by donating today and having your name or message recorded on our “Supporting Wall” as a lasting reminder of your love of animals. Just choose the length of your message, maybe just your name or a memorial for a beloved pet, perhaps details of your business, and let us know what you want to say. Perhaps your school or club could fundraise to buy a line or maybe it would make an ideal birthday present? When the building is completed in Spring/Summer 2018 your lasting memento will join others on a purpose designed and permanent presentation board for all to see. All those that have supported the project will be invited to the official opening event in May to see their contribution at work.

Each line of up to 20 letters costs just £25, but space is limited so act fast to secure your place on this permanent display.

The perfect way to mark a special occasion, remember a loved one, highlight the work your company does for the Shelter or maybe as a gift for friends or family. Your pledge today will shape the future for many young animals when they need it most.

Head to our website – www.gawa.org.uk – to reserve your space on our Supporting Wall today…

For more information or to request a form call James on 01242 548775 or email fundraising@gawa.org.uk

Shelter Life: February 2018

Here at Cheltenham Animal Shelter we are constantly striving to provide the best environment for the animals in our care. We know that kennels and cat pods can never replace a loving home, but while pets are here waiting to be adopted we want them to be as comfortable and relaxed as we possibly can.

This is why we are trialing a new scheme on one of our kennel blocks, Open Paw. Originally devised in America at the turn of the century, Open Paw is an innovative approach to the care, training, exercise and stimulation of dogs in kennels. Aimed at reducing kennel stress, making dogs more approachable in kennels (instead of the excited jumping up at the bars when they see a human) and keeping them physically and mentally active throughout the day, we are already seeing a difference here at the Shelter.

The way we work with dogs on Block 4 of our Rehoming Kennels is a big departure for us and, while it is more demanding on the staff, the results are worth the effort. The day starts with dogs getting out for a short comfort walk, then get two more walks through the day, the emphasis being on getting out a few times rather than just one longer walk. Knowing they will be out again is encouraging the dogs to keep their kennels clean, and big step towards being house-trained when they leave us.

Their meals are spread throughout the day and rather than being served in a plain old bowl to be gobbled down in seconds, all food is provided in toys or puzzles to stimulate the dogs mentally and keep them entertained for longer. Visitors are also able to help us with this as part of the dog’s diet is available on the front of each kennel to be given by anyone walking past. The hope here is that the dogs will associate seeing people with getting a treat and so will approach the front of their kennels calmly and look forward to visitors. At present they can get so excited and loud it can be off-putting (when in reality they are just saying hello!).

The staff are also spending time in the kennels with these dogs, playing games, handling them, making them more at home. The dogs are getting more human interaction which makes their stay less stressful and helps them to settle when the time comes to go to a new home.

The results of this trial have so far been very encouraging, with half the dogs who have benefitted already being rehomed or reserved. We have moved some of the more stressed dogs in to these kennels and they are all responding brilliantly already. It is more demanding for the staff and that extra resource means costs go up too, so we will have to think about if and how we integrate it shelter-wide, but the evidence so far is that we could make every dog who stays in our kennels a happy hound!

Shelter Life: January 2018

Later this month our Education Officer, Deb Morgan, leaves us on maternity leave and this seems the perfect time to reflect on her incredible 12 years of service at the Shelter so far…

team-dmDeb joined us way back in 2005 as a kennel hand, working on our boarding block. “During my studies at University of Gloucestershire I took a summer job at the Shelter, as I have always loved animals and figured a few months of working outside with lovely dogs would suit me. When the summer came to an end I was offered a part-time role to fit around my academic commitments and having already fallen in love with the Shelter I was overjoyed to stay on!”

Deb remained with the Shelter for the next three years as she completed her degree and during this time experienced everything Cheltenham Animal Shelter had to offer. “I started working with dogs but soon pitched in with the cats and smalls. That first winter was a shock after lovely warm summer walks but I really enjoyed the work, people and of course the animals”. When the time came to start a career Deb was pleased to accept her first full-time post as kennel team leader. “Having seen every aspect of the Shelter’s work over the last few years it was great to have some direct input to how the animals were cared for and the Shelter managed”.

Deb ran a very successful and hugely committed team of staff caring for all the animals at the Shelter for the next three years, at which point it was time for a new challenge. “The trustees wanted to grow our educational activities and this seemed the perfect opportunity to take my knowledge and experience and share it with a wider audience. The Shelter is passionate about educating the pet owners of tomorrow and so am I, it was the perfect role for me!”

For the last 6 years Deb has been delivering a busy programme of talks, visits and projects for children, college groups, foreign students and even incorporated care homes and her old university. “The diversity in my day has kept the role interesting all this time, and the ever evolving Shelter always gives me something new to talk about”. Deb has seen many changes in the facilities here as well as the working practices, as animal welfare standards have improved and new ideas in pet care have been implemented. “The Shelter is in a really good place right now, with lots of exciting developments ahead. I’m looking forward to being back later in 2018 and seeing what’s changed!”

All at the Shelter wish Deb the very best of luck with the newest addition to her family, a sister for young Lucas, and thank her for everything she has achieved in the last 12 years and will do in the future.