Back in April this year, we began a rather mammoth task – to replace and improve our main kennel block, as well as the intake room and Animal Welfare team working area. We revealed our new kennels at a gathering of special guests yesterday afternoon. Attendees including Lesley Nicol, Sue Jameson, Beatie Edney, Marc Abraham and Bill Oddie came along to hear about our renovation project in more detail, before taking a tour of the completed kennel block.
Major donors and funders, VIPs, Mayhew supporters and the media also got to meet two rescue dogs and their owners, who have previously benefited from our shelter care programme and our community support initiatives. Mayhew CEO Caroline Yates welcomed guests in the garden area, before handing over to Head of Animal Welfare Zoe Edwards, who spoke briefly about the uniquely tailored new kennels she helped to design.
Guests then heard from Elayne, a member of our local community whose dog Kilo is a familiar face in our Pet Refuge scheme, before they were each taken on a guided tour of the new kennel block. The event concluded with guests meeting Diesel, an ex-Mayhew dog who – thanks to the dedication and care of our kennels team – was successfully rehabilitated following a traumatic experience, and now lives a happy life with his new owners just down the road.
“The skill and the love and the talent here at Mayhew is absolutely amazing. The new kennels are brilliant and will be so much less stressful for the animals. Mayhew are doing incredible work.”
Our refurbished kennels provide a safer and more fit for purpose environment for our animals and staff, and will significantly improve the experience of dogs in our care – as well as improving the working conditions for Mayhew team members, students, volunteers and guests on site.
Our previous kennels were over 20 years old, and due for an upgrade. Animal welfare knowledge has advanced dramatically during the past few years, and our new space will allow us to provide improved enrichment activities and techniques that will minimise the stress of being in a shelter environment.
We have not expanded the number of kennels because our primary aim is still to reduce the number of animals needing to be rehomed, which we do through proactive community initiatives and preventative care. However, our new structure offers plentiful benefits, including:
Each animal will now also have more personal space, and our staff, students and volunteers will also benefit from an upgraded intake room , kitchen, storage and office facilities – making it easier and safer for them to admit and access the animals in their care.
“The unique way in which every animal is looked after at Mayhew is amazing. I love that they help people in difficult situations. The new kennels are gorgeous - there is lots of natural light and space, and the dogs are really catered for. There is everything they could possibly need!”
Our brand new facilities will also provide much needed space for short-term care of Pet Refuge dogs just like Kilo, who was also in attendance at our launch event.
Nine-year-old Kilo was adopted by owner Elayne just over eight years ago. For Elayne, this unfortunately coincided with the beginning of a series of significant health problems, which have required emergency surgery and continuous treatment. Over the past eight years, Elayne has suffered through two separate cancer diagnoses, major surgery and the long term adverse effects of a previous surgical error. Her physical pain and lack of mobility have also caused Elayne’s mental health to deteriorate, leaving her depressed and, at times, suicidal.
Throughout Elayne’s trauma, Kilo has been her rock and reason for living – Elayne has very few family or friends nearby, and so relies on Kilo as her sole source of comfort and kinship. Without Mayhew, Elayne fears she would have had to give Kilo up – an act which she admitted would have taken her to “a very dark place indeed”. Luckily, Kilo is able to come to Mayhew as part of our Pet Refuge programme whilst Elayne receives a variety of necessary treatments and undergoes further surgery.
Supporting Elayne and Kilo is an ongoing commitment, and the next time she comes to stay, Kilo will be able to bed down in our new and improved Kennels, which will make any visits even smoother and more comfortable. Just as importantly, Elayne will know Kilo is receiving the best possible care whilst she is apart from her, which in turn will be a huge weight off her own worries.
As guests at our official opening ceremony heard first hand, our new kennels will enable us to help many more dogs like Diesel. Diesel came to us after his original owners relationship broke down, and she found herself unable to cope with Diesel on her own.
Three-year-old Diesel had an excess of pent up energy after being left alone in a small room for an extended period of time. He was vocally stressed and displayed destructive behaviour when we first placed him in one of our kennels, and he formed strong and immediate attachments to members of our staff out of a fear of being abandoned again. Our kennels team worked with Diesel to establish a new personalised routine, which included extra walks and exercise, and mental stimulation through specially designed toys and puzzles which he kept in his kennel. We also adapted his mealtimes to provide him with smaller, more frequent snacks which we gave him before exiting his kennel, in order to help him grow a positive association with spending time alone.
Thankfully, as a result of our dedicated care and attention, Diesel eventually began to relax and trust people again – he was able to enjoy spending time with staff without worrying about being left alone, and he soon settled down and felt comfortable in his own space and company.
When we started to search for a home for Diesel, we knew he would need someone very special who could continue to develop and socialise him, and build him into the friendly, confident and energetic dog we knew he was underneath his past trauma. When we met Nathan and his partner Jess, we saw straight away that they were a perfect match for Diesel. Diesel now lives happily just down the road from Mayhew, and we see him out and about frequently – he couldn’t have gone to a better home, and we couldn’t have imagined a happier ending for him.
The positive impact of our new kennels, new intake area and updated staff premises will be felt across the board – by dogs just like Diesel and Kilo and their owners, and by our Animal Welfare Officers, Kennel workers, Adoption teams and all of the volunteers who enable Mayhew to help hundreds of animals and people in need.
We would like to extend a special thank you to the estate of Brian Sewell, the George Michael Lovelies and a further anonymous donor, for so generously funding the majority of refurbishments. We couldn’t have undertaken such a huge project without them. Our gratitude and appreciation also extends to every single member of staff and volunteer at Mayhew, for being so flexible and accommodating whilst the renovation work was taking place, and to all our honoured guests who showed their support at our launch event. We would also like to thank our neighbours, Travis Perkins in Kensal Green, for their kind donation of flooring.
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