Despite going a good pace on the bike, we were late arriving at Alexa’s because we spent half an hour stuck in a pub car park in Widdrington, as the official Tour of Britain Cycling race passed through. What are the odds?!
Alexa’s Animals was formed in 1991 by Alexa Nisbet, and since then they’ve rehomed over 1600 dogs and puppies. Alexa’s devotion to dogs was recognised in 2001 when she was awarded with an MBE. I’d actually met Alexa very briefly the previous year at the North East Dog Festival, so I knew how passionate she is about rescue and dogs in general.
Alexa and Sue showed us around the kennels and we met some of the lovely dogs in residence. I was particularly smitten with Willow the Husky who you’ll see in the video at the bottom of the blog.
Alexa’s have recently moved to their current location on the outskirts of Morpeth. Located just off the A1, I thought the rescue was a bit out of the way, but it made more sense when Alexa told me they’d found it difficult to secure a permanent home for the rescue because of complaints about the noise of the dogs barking.
The general message from Alexa and Sue was that the rescue situation was getting worse because of a rise in cruelty, and the trend for owners wanting fashionable designer breeds.
Sue said when she started six years ago it was mainly Staffies, Luchers and Jack Russels. But, these days they get all kinds of pedigree dogs given up including Cavapoos, Dachshunds, Labrdoodles and French bulldogs.
The more popular and ‘fashionable’ breeds tend to be overbred and badly bred which leads to health problems, which is one of the reasons the dogs are given up.
Perhaps it shouldn’t have been, but this was fairly shocking to me. The idea of giving a dog up just because it’s ill makes me feel sad and angry.
Less shocking was the average age a lot of the dogs are given up. As a dog trainer, my experience has been that many dogs become ‘problem dogs’ at around 7,8,9 months old. Sue said this is when they get a lot of dogs too.
We adopted our latest dog, Derek the Dogue de Bordeaux when he was 8 months. He’s was a little full of himself and stubborn, but he’s turned into a fantastic family dog. How many other dogs are cast aside and made homeless because they aren’t perfectly behaved when they approach their first birthday?
Dog owners need to find a way they can go to work and give the dog what they need. All dogs need a certain amount of exercise but getting the right breed that fits in with your lifestyle will make things a lot easier.
Alexa’s had a thorough process for assessing and dealing with the dogs that come into the rescue.
They are vet checked immediately. If they need neutering then that is arranged pretty quickly.
Then it takes a couple of weeks to assess the dogs. They are often frightened when they first arrive at the rescue and their personalities do change.
They are walked twice a day by the volunteers at Alexa’s, and they have a range of men and woman of different ages who will feedback on the dogs as they discover more about them.
Then when they have a good enough idea of the dogs personality and likes, and dislikes they’ll try to match up the dog with the right owner.
There’s a homecheck involved, and if the potential owner passes the homecheck, then they can take the dog for a weeks trail, or longer if needed. Then the formal adoption can take place.
Alexa’s also work closely with breed specific rescues, so for example, if they get a Husky in then they can work with a Husky Rescue to advertise that dog to their audience, who should, in theory, know more about the demands of the breed.
They have a waiting list of people who are waiting for the right dog, so if you are thinking about getting a rescue then it’s worth you getting in touch now so you can talk to the rescue and share what kind of dog you are looking to bring into your home. You never know, there could be the perfect dog just waiting for you in your local rescue.
Check out the full video of the visit to Alexa’s below
This is the second blog covering the Tour de Rescue event. Please share the blog with any dog loving friends of yours, and don’t forget to sign up for the Tour de Rescue email updates and I’ll send you the link for the next blog as soon as it’s live.
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In 2011 Dom Hodgson revolutionised the pet service industry with his first business Pack Leader Dog Adventures, the UK’s first, award winning ‘dog adventure’ company. Now a respected dog trainer, author, speaker and mentor to pet business owners, Doms calling is to help dog walkers, trainers and groomers to excel with their marketing, so they can help change the lives of more dog owners with their amazing skills. You can find out more about how you can join the elite, ambitious pet business owners inside the Pet Business Inner Circle by signing up for Doms 33 Ideas to grow your pet business here, or apply to work with Dom personally by clicking here now.