• Jo at FurryTails

Volunteering at 2nd Chance Dogs Rescue Centre, Cyprus - March 2019 and Meeting the Wonderful Tommy

Updated: Jun 7, 2020

In March 2019, I had the privilege of being invited to go out to Cyprus to help out as a volunteer with 2nd Chance Dog’s Rescue Centre. I was asked to help put an enrichment programme in place for Tommy, who was sadly hit by a car on Christmas Day and lost the use of his back legs, his owners dumped him at the rescue centre after finding out the extent of his injuries.

They also asked for my advice on helping to building an enrichment centre for the other 60 dogs at the centre. I was hoping that we could use a lot of recycled items, however unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be much recycling in Cyprus, so we will have to wait for more donations to come in.

2nd Chance Dog’s which is a non profit making charity, have a no kill policy. All the dogs they take on get thoroughly checked over by a trusted vet and given any necessary treatment or surgery.

Mario and Doris who started the rescue centre 4 years ago go above and beyond to care and look after these dogs. Some have been abandoned as pups, shot at by hunters, dumped on the high ways. The list goes on as to how these poor dogs have ended up at the centre, but one thing that stands out is how much Mario and Doris and their volunteers truly love and care for each and every dog there. The kennels are spotless and each dog gets two 45 minute sessions daily of outdoor play time in one of the large play zones.

Many of these dogs get rehomed in the UK ,as they then stand a better chance of finding their forever homes.I was lucky enough to have lots of donations in food and enrichment toys to take out with me, such as Kongs, Tug e Nuff toys, K9Connectables and Licki Mats and I was able to show the team how to keep the dogs mentally stimulated whilst at the centre.

I met over 60 beautiful dogs there, each with a sad story, however all of the dogs, through the sheer hard work from the team, are happy and relaxed there. Each dog is paired very carefully to their forever home and 2nd Chance Dog’s have a life time support system in place for anyone that does adopt one of their dogs. Many overseas rescue centres don’t offer this. Sadly a few of the dogs have been with them since before they had the centre and will have a harder chance of ever being re homed.

Spending time with these beautiful dogs was humbling. I felt I was really able to make a difference in the short time I was there getting the dogs used to people and gaining human trust after some of the horrific things that had been done to them. The dogs were all so pleased to see us and loved a good cuddle and a few well deserved treats.

Mario did a Facebook ‘live’ of me doing a talk and demonstration of the huge benefits of Canine Enrichment. In the FB live I worked with a very timid young dog called Tina, who was around 9 months old and had been at the centre since a young abandoned puppy. Through the enrichment and patience, Tina who wouldn’t normally go near anyone, eventually started to come over and explore what was going on, she even started to slowly take food from my hand. Through this sort of work and if the centre had more volunteers you could really see how this would start to help dogs that are in rescue centres all over the world.

Enrichment can be so beneficial for all dogs in their day to day lives by helping the dogs to gain confidence, build positive relationships with their owners and keep them mentally stimulated. We had over 29 thousand viewers watching the FaceBook live from around the world! You can find this video on my FurryTails FB page.

Since then I’ve been getting lovely videos and photos of dogs enjoying their enrichment activities with their owners and how people can see the benefits with their dogs already.

Did you know that 20 minutes of sniffing is equivalent to an hours lead walk. Life can be very stressful for some dogs and if we encourage certain things like sniffing, chewing and licking as part of our dog’s daily routine, these are calming activities for the dogs as they release hormones like endorphins which straight away calm them down and therefore helping them to have quality sleep. It makes it easier for them to focus and take in everything that is happening around them, in a calmer positive way. Once they’re in the right mind state to concentrate, without all the stresses of life, we can then work on their training .

Enrichment and training should be fun so that you and your dog enjoy doing it and it’s great for building fun positive relationships.

As for the lovely Tommy, well Tommy rushes around in one of the play zones with his wheels and doesn’t appear to have a care in the world. He has found his forever home with Doris and Mario, as they loved him so much they took him on as their own. My mother, who is an artist did a wonderful scratchboard of him, which was sold and presented to Doris and Mario and the proceeds of the sale were donated to 2nd Chance.

If you’re thinking of getting a puppy or a dog or would like to make a donation, please do look at 2nd Chance Dog’s in Cyprus. If you’d like to know more about how Canine Enrichment can help your dog then I’d love to hear from you.

'The Best Friends in Life are RESCUED

Open your heart and home and make a friend for life!'

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