Jul 27 2012 by Jennifer Buchanan, Ayrshire Post (main ed)
THEY’VE given up their time, their money and their love to 100 dogs in less than a year.
For Lorraine Jardine and Richard Thomson have set up their own dog rescue centre.
And since September last year more than 80 dogs who would have been put to sleep have been found safe and loving homes.
Lorraine and Richard live near Cumnock and have 15 dogs of their own ranging from Chihuahuas to mastiffs.
But the sometimes difficult adoption process is what inspired them to start their own centre.
And in August 2011, Islay Dog Rescue (Ayrshire) was born.
Lorraine explained: “When dogs are taken to dog pounds they have seven days to be reclaimed, then they become property of the dog pound.
“After that they are either rehomed, listed as available for adoption or put to sleep.
“Link workers then try to find rescue centres for the dogs who are on death row or on the available list.”
And after finding it hard to find pounds in Scotland who would work with them, Lorraine and Richard now take in dogs from London, some of whom have never seen grass in their lives.
And the kind couple bring them to their 15 acres in Ayrshire.
Richard said: “One of the most rewarding things for me is when we let them out the cages into our horse arena.
“They just stand stock still for the first minute or two because they don’t know what to make of it.
“But then they go absolutely mad for about five minutes before they just can’t run any more.
“It doesn’t take long after they’ve been left in cages for their muscles to deteriorate and they can’t run for long.”
But Lorraine and Richard give the dogs all the love and care they need.
On average they fork out around £250 PER WEEK on vets bills.
So the sum they ask in return for the dogs barely covers costs.
Lorraine said: “Some dogs come to us in awful states and we won’t rehome them till we are sure they are alright.
“We check out each prospective owner and every dog leaves us with a lead, collar, neutered, fully vaccinated, treated for fleas and worms, micro-chipped, with a toy or two, and around four days worth of food so their diet doesn’t change suddenly when they are in a new environment. It’s like a little starter pack for the owner.”
Lorraine and Richard’s love of the dogs is clear to see.
For they do all of this on top of holding down other jobs. Lorraine is a teacher for children with extra support needs and Richard is a Provident agent.
And on top of this they fundraise as well. For Islay Dog Rescue makes no profit and is dependant on the kindness of volunteers and donations.
Lorraine said: “We raised enough money to buy a proper van thanks to a tea and bingo night, and we insured it for a year thanks to a sponsored dog walk.
“We can currently take eight dogs at a time and are in the process of building two more kennels so we can take some more.”
If anyone would like to help Lorraine and Richard in any way, either by dog walking, fostering or are interested in adopting a dog they are asked to call 01290 424192 or 0787 656 1545.