Rescue puppies Danta, Bali and Prem led the celebrations when Dogs Trust Essex rehoming centre opened after 15 months of building work.
More than 120 guests attended the event, including councillor Mo Larkin the Mayor of Basildon, Dogs Trust chairman Philip Daubeny, Dogs Trust chief executive Clarissa Baldwin, the staff and volunteers of Dogs Trust Essex and local school children from North Crescent Primary in Wickford.
Based in Wickford, the £7.3m centre – designed by leading architects Bennetts Associates – will care for around 1,000 rescue dogs a year, adding to the 17,000 cared for by the charity.
The new centre has been designed using 10 years of research, design development and advances in behavioural knowledge. With dedicated training and behavioural advisers, a rehabilitation centre and hydrotherapy pool, dogs of all shapes and sizes will be offered all the help they need to find a new home.
Clarissa Baldwin said: “We are absolutely delighted to be finally opening Dogs Trust Essex. We have been searching for a suitable site in the county for more than 15 years and today our dream has become a reality.
“We know a new rehoming centre in the region is very much needed. There were more than 5,000 stray dogs collected by local authorities in the Anglia area last year alone and for the first time in 21 years there are more dogs than cats in the UK.”
Dogs Trust Essex rehoming centre manager Maria Wickes added: “We have been overwhelmed by the support we have received from local people in wanting to work for the charity, donating items, volunteering, raising funds and adopting rescue dogs. So, thank you everyone for your support. We hope to be able to care for 1,000 dogs a year at Dogs Trust Essex, so the future is looking brighter for dogs in the region.”
Dogs Trust Essex’s vital statistics are:
- 69 glass fronted kennels with under floor heating
- dedicated training and behavioural advisers
- rehabilitation centre
- full vet and surgical suite
- hydrotherapy room
- exercise paddocks on astroturf and sand
- training hall
- grooming suite
- 41 members of staff
- set in 14 acres
For anyone interested in finding out more about Dogs Trust Essex, contact the team by telephoning 01268 535050.