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Furry friends Irish celebs give paw-fect new home to dogs as adoption campaign gathers pace


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Amy Huberman and Phoebe

Amy Huberman and Phoebe

Amy Huberman and Phoebe

A host of celebrities are giving loving homes to adorable dogs as part of the growing 'Adopt Don't Shop' campaign.

Furry friends which had been abandoned or uncared for have been rescued by a string of animal-loving famous people.

Among those who've given unwanted canines a new lease of life are actress Amy Huberman, models Roz Purcell and Holly Carpenter, singers Frances Black and Linda Martin, Ireland rugby player Peter O'Mahony and panto stars Twink and June Rodgers.

Covid-19 lockdowns have provided most of us with extra time at home - inspiring many people to finally welcome that pet they've longed for into their families.

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Rox Purcell with Wilko

Rox Purcell with Wilko

Model Holly Carpenter with Max

Model Holly Carpenter with Max

June Rodgers and Bella

June Rodgers and Bella

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Rox Purcell with Wilko

In the run-up to Christmas, some people are thinking of buying a puppy for their loved ones.

But in the weeks following the festive period many of these animals lose their novelty or become a burden for some, with many abandoned.

'Adopt don't shop' is a campaign slogan encouraging people to adopt dogs from shelters or rescues rather than purchasing one from a breeder or puppy farm.

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It can cost around €150 to €185 to adopt such an animal, but that includes all vaccines and neutering.

One such delighted owner is June Rodgers, who adopted her cute Yorkshire terrier, Bella.

"I had seen this beautiful little dog on Facebook that had been found in landfill in Portlaoise," June tells the Sunday World.

"She was rescued by Roscrea SPCA. I asked Sharon Bergin from the group could I help with vet bills or donate something.

"She asked me if I'd like to meet her. I said I'd love to.

"She was the most beautiful little thing and then she asked if Peter and I could foster her. I said I had two dogs already and I didn't know about a younger dog coming in, but it worked out really well and there was no way that dog was leaving our home.

"We went to a place that helped us, Canine Coaching in Co Laois, and they helped her because of the issues she had. We love her to bits."

Bella had a traumatic background.

"She had a rough time," explains June. "She had dog bites on her. Her teeth were rotten. She was only four, and still had milk, so she'd had puppies.

Cruelty

"When we brought her to our vet he told us she had at least four litters.

"She is terrified of sounds, especially vans reversing. The only thing I can think caused that was because she was found in a skip in landfill.

"Only someone heard her crying she would never have been found."

June donated to Roscrea SPCA in Co Tipperary.

"They didn't ask for anything, but we did because I think these people are amazing," she says. "There is so much cruelty out there at the moment. We really need to look at the laws here, it's shocking."

The entertainer is backing the 'adopt don't shop' campaign.

"Fostering and adopting is great because if it doesn't work out for whatever reason, at least you can hand this dog back - even though it's heartbreaking to do, but it's the best thing for both parties involved," she stresses.

"I think it's ridiculous that people are paying not only hundreds but thousands for a little animal, and the amount of poor little dogs being robbed.

"It's the same every Christmas, the DSPA and rescue centres will tell you. Everybody wanted a little bundle of joy for Christmas and then come January it's widdling on the floor. A lot of people going back to work, the dog is chewing stuff in the house, and they get tired of it."

Emma O'Brien of Galway SPCA says they are working flat out.

"For us it's all year round," she says. "We take in new dogs from the streets or wherever they've been abandoned or cruelty cases. Obviously we get surrenders as well, where people no longer want them.

"Our aim is to rehabilitate the sick and broken ones, or the scared ones, and then find them their perfect home, that's the whole aim.

Stressed

"With Covid everything has changed. We now have an online adoption form, where people fill it in. If we think we have a match we will contact them."

There are strict procedures involved. "They have to have a homecheck done," Emma points out. "They come and visit the dogs. For us, the dog is our priority and we are very fussy where we put our dogs - it must be the right match.

"While people can say 'I can take that dog', it doesn't mean that they're the right people for that dog.

"For us, it has to be perfect. We recently had a white German Shepherd which we sent to a new home, where there were other dogs. We knew he needed to be in a pack of dogs, because he was stressed and neurotic, so we wanted him to get into a pack where he would get a bit of comfort and confidence.

"We had so many offers of support for that dog, but we will stick to our guns and stick to what we feel is the right home for that dog."

Galway SPCA is currently inundated with people looking to adopt a dog.

"It's crazy at the minute, there's too many applications coming in," she admits.

"A lot of them are genuine, but most rescue will tell you it's a little bit scary because you just got people wanting any dog. We had a little brown terrier recently and she had 98 applications. If that had been before Covid she would have got just three or four.

"I know people saying they will have to go and buy a dog. Rescues can only do what we do, we're volunteers.

"We have a rescue centre sanctuary just outside of Portumna and we have about 50 dogs."

There are fees involved.

"Our adoption fee is E150," she explains. "But the dogs are all neutered and spayed. It costs us over E100 to get a boy done and E130 get a girl spayed. Then they have to be microchipped, that's E25. They have to have two lots of vaccines, they're E25 each and that's before you put a morsel of food in their mouths

"We also give every single dog rescue dog backup, if people's circumstances change or anything like that.

"We are more rural based. I get people ringing me saying they're going to a breeder, we can't stop them. We can advise them on what to look for. We tell them to see a puppy when it's two or three weeks old. You make sure you meet the people who've bred them and see what sort of background the dog has had.

"We always say 'adopt don't shop' if possible."

Sunday World


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