51-year-old Carla Whiting volunteers for a no-kill animal shelter called Last Chance Hotel. Her role in the charity is to provide a temporary (or in some cases permanent) home for dogs that have, for one reason or another, been dumped in a pound. If it wasn’t for Carla, these dogs would be put to sleep rather than finding a new home, but unfortunately, this is still the reality for a huge number of dogs that find themselves without homes.
I spoke to Carla about the dogs she currently cares for and why she thinks people should adopt a senior dog when considering getting a furry new addition to their family.
With five dogs currently in her home, Carla has her hands full, “I had nine at Christmas, all of them oldies! I’ve had 36 in total over the three years I’ve been fostering!” Dog shelters are constantly full of senior dogs, and many of them take a long time to find new homes, unlike the few puppies that find themselves in rescue.
Carla believes old dogs make the best pets. “Most of them have already been in a family for most of their life and at a time when they need their families most they get dumped,” she explains that senior dogs tend to already be house trained and rarely have any behavioural problems unless they have been mistreated in the past. “They’re the most loving dogs! They settle in and they’re so much easier than a puppy. They’re calm, they’re lovely, they don’t chew on everything, you don’t need to take them for six or seven walks a day…” she laughs.
I ask Carla to tell me a little about the dogs she currently cares for and it is obvious immediately what huge an impression they have made on her. Her favourite breed is the Staffordshire terrier, and as they have an unfair reputation as ‘dangerous’ dogs due to their use in dog-fighting, they make up a huge percentage of dogs in rescues and pounds. Carla tells me that the people in her area call her ‘the staffy lady’ and often don’t recognise her without her usual crowd of happy staffys.
Called George, Odo, Dougie, Spike and Alfie, Carla’s dogs all have their own backstories, some more pleasant than others.
George, 14-years-old, has been living with Carla for 18 months and was dumped in the pound with no history. There is no way of telling what his old life was like, but now he’s living a happy life with Carla and his foster brothers.
Odo is approaching 15, too. He’s apparently the happiest dog in the world and wants nothing more than love and attention. Carla fell head over heels with Odo and he is now a permanent resident with her.
Dougie has a slightly more troubling background. At 14, he was dumped in a pound after his previous owner beat him so badly he now suffers with brain damage. He now struggles to walk and occasionally rips up his bed if he is anxious, but he doesn’t let this stop him as according to Carla he is a lovely boy who enjoys nothing more than snuggling up on the sofa.
Spike, as you can see, has the biggest smile in the entire world. He is 11-years-old and was sadly used as a punch bag and an ash tray in his previous home. Nowadays all he gets is love, but unfortunately the scars from his past life are still visible.
And last but certainly not least is Alfie (right). He is Carla’s resident dog. She rescued him at 5 months old and he is sticking with her for life. It’s a good job, too, as apparently he takes care of all the other dogs when she isn’t around with his motherly instincts.
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