AFTER writing to The Hunts Post (Letters, January 30) about a dog grieving for its dead owner, asking why Henry was put down just 24 hours after his owner had died, I was invited up to Wood Green, the Animals Charity by Dennis Baker, the charity’s chief executive.
I was met by Mr Baker who then explained how Wood Green works and survives. He also explained about Henry.
He took me to meet Rachel in their new building, which opened in July and was built because of a legacy left by Joan Callaghan. It is a wonderful legacy to leave behind. I found that without these legacies, Wood Green could not survive. The kennels that lead directly into the new building were also built thanks to a legacy.
The money has allowed Wood Green to build facilities that are better for all the animals. It's easier for new arrivals to go for health checks or operations, pregnant bitches get special care and there is an area especially for puppies. They also have an intensive care area and state-of-the-art operating rooms.
I really cannot put into words what a fantastic place this is.
The dedication and pride shown by Rachel - and all of the people who work at Wood Green - and the care they provide brings a lump to my throat. Rachel told me that they had waited 15 years for a building like this - a building that has been designed to cause minimal stress to the animals.
I next met Wendy who said that after their health checks, the animals go to another building, also built through a legacy and donations. Wendy explained that when they arrive here the dogs behaviour is assessed. There's even a chill-out room, complete with a sofa donated by a local company. I met Poppy, a springer spaniel who had just arrived. She was sharing time with her handlers, getting some time to adjust to life in kennels.
Dogs that arrive at Wood Green are very frightened and all have their own problems - nothing that love, affection and the right handling cannot cure. But sometimes nothing can be done. A decision has to be made - as it was in Henry's case. Wendy said they fight tooth and nail to save the dogs - no dog is ever put down unless there really is nothing they can do.
I met many dogs waiting to be re-homed. While 99 per cent of dogs settle in kennels, Henry did not and he was already starting to lose the will to live. When he arrived he was taken home by a member of staff as the home environment usually perks them up. But with Henry there was no improvement and he was getting worse.
A difficult decision was made and I agree now that they did the right thing by Henry.
I met so many wonderful people that day and what I witnessed made me wonder what would these animals do without Wood Green.
There are so many wonderful dogs there that I want to tell you about that I would need a page in the newspaper. But I want to say that if you get your dog from Wood Green, you will find the dog for you and the staff, because of their dedication and the assessments of the dogs, will be able to expert help.
Thank you to Mr Baker for inviting me to Wood Green and thank you to everyone there for the wonderful work you do.