Meet Zelda of the Canine Division!
We’re not quite sure what part of We Are Cardiff Zelda will be working on yet. Possibly Head of Napping and Stress Relief.
Earlier this year I had a mental health run-in that left me thinking that perhaps I needed to add exposure to happy furry things to my life. I registered as a walker with Cardiff Dogs Home and visited the home a few times, taking out various different dogs for walks around the Penarth Road Industrial Estate and over to Grangemoor Park (or Asbo Hill, behind Ikea).
Anyway, fast forward past numerous doggy dates and finding a pooch on Borrow My Doggy to spend some days with. A couple of weeks ago, four ex-racing greyhounds were taken in to Cardiff Dogs Home, and the stars aligned, Saturn returned, etc. We met Zara and Dougie, who were both adorable … flipped a coin … and ended up adopting Zara (who we’ve renamed Zelda, in honour of the magnificent Nintendo series).
Cardiff Dogs Home
Every local authority has a statutory obligation to house stray and abandoned dogs for a period of seven days. After seven days, local authorities may ‘dispose’ of the dog (you’ve guessed what that means). Cardiff Dogs Home has a group of volunteers called Friends of the Dogs, who work tirelessly to make sure no healthy dogs are put down by supporting adoptions and fundraising for the home.
So many wonderful dogs pass through facilities like Cardiff Dogs Home every year – loving animals that could be wonderful pets for people. So this is why they say adopt – don’t shop!
Walking through the kennels is a heartbreaking experience – although the dogs are sheltered, fed, watered and walked, kennels can be a stressful place. All those dogs would much rather be on someone’s sofa. And you can’t beat the feeling of giving an abandoned dog a good home.
How can you help?
Have you got space in your life for some furry joy? Go and wander around the kennels and see if any of the dogs take your fancy and adopt a dog. Alternatively the Friends of the Dogs post photos up on the Adoption Forums, so you can look before heading down there.
Need convincing? These are some of the beautiful animals that went through the kennels that were adopted and given a second chance …
If adopting a dog is too much commitment, you can register as a walker. Just fill in a form online and then head to an induction session, where you’ll be taught how to greet a dog, how to walk them, and a whole range of other things – safely, and with minimum stress to the dogs. Once you’ve been through the induction, you can head down to the home during opening hours and take a pooch out for a walk. More about registering as a walker at Cardiff Dogs Home.
Friends of the Dogs also fundraise, and sometimes have specific roles that you can volunteer for (helping out on the forums, etc). If that sounds like your bag, see how you can volunteer for Friends of the Dogs.
Dogs and mental health
There are plenty of reasons why hanging out with a dog is great for your mental health: they increase the amount of exercise you get, they distract you and keep you in the present moment, petting them reduces stress, and they are always happy to see you. More on this: Psychology Today, Mental Health UK, Psychiatry.org.
Here’s Zelda on her first walk (of many, I’m sure) through the wetlands in Cardiff Bay.
I’m sure you’ll be hearing more from Zelda in the future, but for now, this is her, saying WOOF!
If any of you are on Instagram, you can follow her retirement from racing and integration into society here: @IGZeldaPooch