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Finding homes for Cardiff’s abandoned dogs – meet Alex!

We’re animal lovers here at We Are Cardiff. (Yes, my dog Zelda has her own Instagram, don’t judge me, I’m a DOG PERSON). And you can’t be a Cardiff-based animal lover on Instagram without following  Alex – aka therescuehotelcdh. She devotes all her spare time (and her entire IG account!) to helping the abandoned poochies at Cardiff Dogs Home. So I decided to spend some of my spare time talking to her about her passion for those pooches.  So here she is – meet Alex!

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A girl and a dog

I started volunteering at Cardiff Dogs Home in 2016. I’m originally from Pontypridd but moved to Cardiff just before that.  I always loved dogs, and all animals. My parents had an English bull terrier called Dylan, and I loved him so much. But they split up and my dad took the dog with him, I didn’t really speak to my dad so that meant I didn’t see Dylan, which made me sad, every single day. So I think i needed to give my attention and love to some other puppers, who are desperately in need. That’s how I started out helping at Cardiff Dog’s Home.

I’d love to see my Dylan and I think about him all the time, but I don’t think I ever will. That’s why I have a soft spot for bull breeds, especially English bull terriers. I think they have a bad reputation with a lot of people – I think people think they look so scary, with their long piggy nose and eyes. They’re also very stubborn, so I suppose if you don’t know the breed you would feel very unsure of them.

We used to get a lot of Staffordshire Bull Terriers being turned into Cardiff Dogs Home, but not so much anymore. There are still a lot of staffies, and most bull breeds. At the moment we seem to be getting a lot of French bulldogs in. As the craze for a frenchie is ending, there seems to be a lot of them dumped at the home (most have been used to breed, which is sad).

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Hiya everyone. We can finally say that Friday is over so bring on the weekend hehe 🙋‍♀️😘 I’m Maisie and I’m another long termer at the hotel, who is getting over looked day in day out. I’ve had no applications on me, I sit in my kennel and just watch everyone walk by. So Alex took me out today for a pick me up and boy did we have fun heheheh. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE PEOPLE. I will sit by you for cuddles and kisses all day long, I’m such a happy pupper when I’m with you I think I may even have a smile on my face hehe. So me and Alex went for a lovely walk, I saw some ducks and swans and we sat my the river watching the world go by. But then it started raining, and I do not like rain so I made sure I told Alex that it’s time to go 😂🙋‍♀️🤷‍♀️ I’m such a loving girl and I want nothing more than to find a home I can call my own, it would be so lovely for someone to say ‘I’m here to see Maisie’ ♥️ I need to be the only pup of the household please, I tend to get a little anxious and reactive when I see dogs. But I am the most loving girl you would ever meet. Please can you share me far and wide, let’s use the power of social media in a positive way. Thank you everyone, lots of love Maisie 😘😘😘😘 #adoptdontshop #cardiffdogshome

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We also get a lot of greyhounds and lurchers. Most of them have been ex-racers and when they’re no longer wanted to race, they end up with us.

The best thing about helping out at the home is seeing dogs go to their forever homes. Especially the long termers  (ones that have been with us for a long time), and the ones that struggle with being in the kennels.

Agnes was a lovely dog who came through the home, and when I think of her it’s bitter sweet – I loved her so much, and I regularly took her home on respite to give her a little break from the kennels. I knew that someone else could give her a great home, and now she’s living the high life in England. She has a house in England and France, and her parents are home all day so she’ll always have someone around. I miss her!

Then there was Peter, who constantly got over looked, a lady from Devon drove all the way to meet him and it was love at first sight. Then there’s Oggy, bless his little heart. He’s with the most lovely couple, he’s in the most perfect home for him and you can see how much both of them dote on each other. Then, there’s Roxy. She went on a home trial today, seeing her drive off in the back of the car with her teddy in her mouth was the sweetest thing. We’re all hoping that it’s going to be her forever home. We have a feeling that they’re going to keep her, they were such lovely people just what she’s been waiting all this time for.

Roxy, who never leaves home without her trusty teddy in her mouth

It does happen that someone takes a dog with them and it doesn’t work out. When people adopt a rescue, most people know that it will take time for the dog to settle into their routine. You have no idea what that poor dog has gone through, so they need more time and patience.  On some occasions (not a lot), some dogs get brought back as the people who adopted did not realise what having a rescue dog entails. I mean, it’s great that more and more people are choosing rescues now instead of going to breeders, but I think you definitely need to do your research on rescue dogs.

Rescue dogs are not your typical dog. I think they know they have been given a second, third or maybe fourth chance in a new home (depending on how many times they have been passed about before arriving at the home!) but it will on occasions take them longer to come out of their shell.

For the dogs that have been brought back to us, they always go on to find a better home for them.  I always think I’m glad they’ve got brought back because it was a reason for this. Their new family was mean to have them, and the pups are so much happier. It’s like they know this. So it’s sad when they come back, but then when you see them with a new family/individual you see that they were always meant to be with these individuals instead. Everything happens for a reason, as they say.

A black dog with its tongue hanging from its mouth

If you’re looking for a way to feel good about yourself or to socialise or learn new skills, there’s no better way to spend your time that volunteering at Cardiff Dogs Home.  If ever you’re feeling down, or need a little bit of a pick-me-up, volunteering at the home will always put a smile on your face. The dogs are sooo happy to go out on their walks, and despite that they are homeless with nothing, they have so much joy and love to give. It also really puts things in perspective.

I spend all my weekends down the dogs home, and if I have some time off from work I’m usually down there!

If you’re thinking about adopting a dog but worried about getting an older dog, please, PLEASE don’t get put off! In regard to the older dogs, these are the ones who need homes the most. They’ve spent most of their life with the people they class as family, to only find themselves at Cardiff Dogs Home at some point, bewildered, and confused. It’s no place for an older dog to be (or any dog). When the older pups get adopted it’s like they are smiling when they are leaving, they know that they can now live their last few years in a home environment on warmth and comfort.

Adopting a rescue dog will change your life, for the better. You’ll get to see how loving and forging they are, after they have endured so much. It really does put things in perspective. It’s like they know they have a second chance and they will do anything for you, they are so loyal and loving. It makes you appreciate the little things more, and not worry about mundane trivial things you may have been stressing about.

If you are thinking about adopting a rescue dog, do it. Their lives matter, they’re just a bit less energetic than a puppy. But in my opinion, they’re much better! They’re usually already house trained, the older ones generally need less exercise than the very young ones. They just want to be loved, and to love in return. If you’re interested, please have a look at my @therescuehotelcdh instagram or check info about Dogs Looking for Homes.

A large brown and white spaniel
Jonah, who has recently joined Cardiff Dogs Home – looking for his forever sofa!

Cardiff Dogs Home really relies on volunteers. You’ve got to think without volunteers, some dogs may not get the much needed walks they need. Staff at home will walk the dogs but because they have so many other things to do, it can be very limited. But volunteers can walk the dogs for however long they want, some volunteers also adopt that one dog that they bond with. Which is great. It also gives the opportunity for the dogs to get used to different people. All of this helps them getting rehomed, and them ending up with their perfect homes.

So if you just think ‘I’m just a volunteer’, you’re not – you are so much more than that! If this sounds good to you, register to become a dog walker at Cardiff Dogs Home.

I set up my Instagram account @therescuehotelcdh in 2016. I  hated all social media! I know you wouldn’t think it now from looking at how much I post on there. I remember asking my friend what Instagram is, and how it is different to Facebook, because I had no clue or no interest. But I did want to start up something that would  show people these dogs were lovely pets waiting for their homes. I wanted to do something different rather than just say the same generic thing that others post up, such as the basics like breed, age, name etc – I wanted to show their personality (because they all have different personalities, that you totally see when you spend time with them!) So that’s why when I write the posts I wrote it as if the dog is talking, just so it gives people more of an insight into them. I hope it helps!

The next steps for Cardiff Dogs Home are exciting. We’re setting up a charity which will be such a game changer. We have had so much interest social media wise, we should be up and running with charity status soon, which is so exciting.

This means that it will be much easier for people to donate money, and all of the money will be used for the pups and whatever they need. We’ve also got Sam Warburton on board as an ambassador which is amazing.

So this year will definitely be one of my highlights and it hasn’t even really started yet!

Alex Milakovic is a dog lover, originally from Pontypridd. She runs @therescuehotelcdh Instagram account, where you can get up close and personal with all the lovely dogs that have ended up in Cardiff Dogs Home. Alex remains dog mad, and currently lives in Cardiff.

More on Cardiff Dogs Home:

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