My Week: Gemma Mullens walks and washes the canine residents

The canine carer at the Dogs Trust Ilfracombe, North Devon

Gemma Mullens
Gemma Mullens

MONDAY - The first job of the day is to let out and feed our canine residents. It has been a good weekend for rehoming - four dogs have gone to permanent homes. Our new centre is due to open next summer and, in the meantime, we're operating with a reduced number of kennels, which means we get to spend more one-to-one time with our dogs. After cleaning the kennels we walk the dogs in the woods before opening to the public at 12pm. My companions this week are Tico and Suzie, who have yet to find homes, and Tim and Percy who are heading off to their new families later in the week.

TUESDAY - Tim, a six-year-old Jack Russell terrier, is moving in with his new family at the weekend, so I take him to the vets for neutering and microchipping. Later, we let the dogs out in the newly completed exercise compounds, which are a great combination of grass, sand and concrete. It is then time to collect Tim and get him settled for the night.

WEDNESDAY - We are closed to the public on Wednesdays, so we get to spend lots of time training some of our more challenging residents.

We have training and behaviour advisers and the staff have training to help us keep up to date with the latest developments in behaviour. Towards the end of the day, I have time to take Tico to the local beach for a longer run. Needless to say, he loves it - but not the bath when he returns.

FRIDAY - The local council is bringing a stray dog to the centre today. When he arrives, we assess him, then take him to the kennels to socialise and meet his new room-mate.

SATURDAY - I love the weekends because this is when the dogs go home with their new families. Tim happily jumps in the car with a waggy tail and smiling owners. Then it is back to trying to find homes for some of our longer-term residents. Saturday is often our busiest day because dogs are often handed in by members of the public. It's non-stop all day.

Dogs Trust is an animal welfare charity that runs 18 rehoming centres across the UK.

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