It's that time (the most wonderful!) of year again when we get to launch our fabulous Christmas Card collection. As usual, here at Whistlefish we have chosen some very worthy causes to support with a donation arising from the sales of our festive selection. We wanted to spend some time getting to know each of these charities, what they do and how you can support them. Today we are learning more about St Francis Dogs Home....
St Francis is a dog rehoming charity focused on the needs of the individual dog, helping to set them up for successful rehoming and striving to ensure that they receive the very best of care while they wait for their new home to come along.
St Francis Dogs Home was founded by a group of animal enthusiasts in 1955. At that time there were very few rescue and rehoming facilities, and the original founders wanted to stop unwanted pet dogs and strays being put to sleep when they could be happily rehomed.
With this in mind St Francis was founded on its existing site, and became a Charitable Trust in 1961. In 1999 the staff and trustees decided the efforts of St Francis were best directed towards dogs, and since then the centre has been rehoming up to 200 dogs every year.
The dogs who arrive at St Francis’ come from all over Cornwall, including strays taken from local dog wardens to pets which can no longer be cared for. The original buildings consisted of basic kennel blocks and wooden field shelters. Over the past twenty years these basic facilities have been much improved, and today St Francis offers 30 kennel spaces in modern buildings, many have under floor heating and all have runs.
How big is the team at St Francis?
The team at St Francis Dogs Home is quite small. They consist of 4 full time staff , and 3 part-time staff. They have up to 30 dogs at the centre at any one time, so are very fortunate that their team is heavily supported by some wonderful volunteers who go the extra mile to help us help our dogs.
Between them there is a wealth of different experiences from a number of varied backgrounds and everyone at the home works closely together to achieve the best they can for the dogs in their care. Everyone is working together to achieve the overall goal, which is happy dogs in happy homes.
Amongst the ongoing development of their centre is a large training hall, which offers the chance for indoor training when the Cornish weather is inclement! This is also an excellent facility for the more reactive dogs, who can play somewhere quiet and without distractions to commence their rehabilitation.
What’s it like to Volunteer at St Francis?
Joining the team as a Volunteer can be a very rewarding experience. They are such a small team that the more volunteers they have, then the more happy times they can provide for the dogs who are currently living in a kennel situation which, for most, is a very alien environment.
When you join St Francis as a volunteer you will find that the work is so very rewarding but it is physical in its nature and does mean that you are working outside a lot in all weathers. The main roles include walking the dogs in the exercise fields, helping to feed and clean in the kennels and supporting the team in other requests as they come up. No two days are ever the same!
How does the rehoming service work?
St Francis dog rescue and rehoming service thrives on matching the needs of the individual dog to its potential new owner, thus ensuring a happy and successful rehoming for all involved.
The dogs they take in come from any number of sources but commonly they are either dogs relinquished by their previous owners or are unclaimed strays via the local dog warden service.
St Francis pride themselves on going above and beyond for every dog in their care. There is often extensive re-training going on behind the scenes and no matter how long it may take, they do not put a time limit on finding the perfect new home for their dogs.
You can find out more in depth information about the process of taking a new dog home here
How can you support St Francis?
St Francis is a small dog rehoming charity and are heavily dependent on donations from the public to carry on the good work that they do. The average monthly veterinary costs are between £2,000-£3,000 so every penny counts.
Their dogs are all treated for fleas and worms, vaccinated, neutered and microchipped and those costs average out at around £259.59 per dog. This does not include heating and lighting costs, or indeed the cost of feeding them.
St Francis need extra donations whenever they can and are always grateful for every single penny. Please consider any of these ways and see if you can help them.
Remember that proceeds from every Whistlefish Christmas Card that you purchase with the St Francis Dogs Home logo on the reverse will go towards helping the fantastic work this worthy charity carries out every day.