51-year-old Carla Whiting volunteers for a no-kill animal shelter called Last Chance Hotel. Her role in the charity is to provide a temporary (or in some cases permanent) home for dogs that have, for one reason or another, been dumped in a pound. If it wasn’t for Carla, these dogs would be put to sleep rather than finding a new home, but unfortunately, this is still the reality for a huge number of dogs that find themselves without homes.
I spoke to Carla about the dogs she currently cares for and why she thinks people should adopt a senior dog when considering getting a furry new addition to their family.
With five dogs currently in her home, Carla has her hands full, “I had nine at Christmas, all of them oldies! I’ve had 36 in total over the three years I’ve been fostering!” Dog shelters are constantly full of senior dogs, and many of them take a long time to find new homes, unlike the few puppies that find themselves in rescue.
Carla believes old dogs make the best pets. “Most of them have already been in a family for most of their life and at a time when they need their families most they get dumped,” she explains that senior dogs tend to already be house trained and rarely have any behavioural problems unless they have been mistreated in the past. “They’re the most loving dogs! They settle in and they’re so much easier than a puppy. They’re calm, they’re lovely, they don’t chew on everything, you don’t need to take them for six or seven walks a day…” she laughs.
I ask Carla to tell me a little about the dogs she currently cares for and it is obvious immediately what huge an impression they have made on her. Her favourite breed is the Staffordshire terrier, and as they have an unfair reputation as ‘dangerous’ dogs due to their use in dog-fighting, they make up a huge percentage of dogs in rescues and pounds. Carla tells me that the people in her area call her ‘the staffy lady’ and often don’t recognise her without her usual crowd of happy staffys.
Called George, Odo, Dougie, Spike and Alfie, Carla’s dogs all have their own backstories, some more pleasant than others.