A dog rescuer’s second attempt to hang up her lead was thwarted when her heart was won over by the plight of Spanish dogs.
Barbara Townsend took a two-week break to Benidorm with her mum Christine in October, after closing her kennels in Marshland St James – the Wisbech branch of the Retired Greyhound Trust (RGT)– due to ill health.
But during the holiday Barbara discovered Spain’s Akira Animal Rescue – and is now launching her very own charity shop in January to support its vital work.
Wisbech Galgo and Podenco Rescue will be opening its doors on the Bambers Garden Centre site off Lynn Road, Wisbech, next weekend.
Barbara will be raising money to help people in Fenland to adopt one of Akira’s galgos or podencos.
It will go towards the cost of vaccinations and microchipping, and also transport from Spain to the UK.
Barbara, whose plan to retire in 2013 was put off when the closure of Coventry Stadium saw a rise in the number of greyhounds needing new homes, said now her kennels are closed she will have time to help the Spanish dogs.
“With the kennels, I would have around 18-20 dogs at any one time, on top of my own 10 dogs, and it got too much with my ill health,” she said.
“I know we still have a problem here with abandoned pets but we have more rescue centres, and if they are put down at least they are put down properly without pain.
“In Spain, if a dog is unwanted or out of season it will simply get hung.”
Barbara has already adopted two podenco puppies, who will be meeting and greeting visitors when the shop opens on January 7 at 10am.
The shop will be open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 10am to 3pm. It already has a good supply of bric-a-brac, clothing and doggy items, but Barbara is appealing for more blankets for the shop, and to send to Spain.
She is also appealing for someone to help her set up a charity account for Wisbech Galgo and Podenco Rescue, which will be a non-profit making organisation.
“With the RGT it was all done for me as I was just a branch of it, so I’m not sure what I need to do,” she said.
Anyone who can help can contact Barbara on 07717 217347.
Barbara said she will also still be available on the phone to anyone who wants help or advice about rehoming and adopting greyhounds.
For more information about Akira Animal Rescue, and the dogs it currently has available for adoption, visit: www.akira-animals.com
Anyone wanting to adopt an animal will be asked to pay a £200 donation towards the £250 cost Akira will pay for transportation to the UK.
The rescue centre will also pay for vaccinations and microchipping.