Friday, 28 October 2011

Happy Silver Anniversary, Clarissa!

In 1986, the Chairman's report in our Annual Review began:

“This has been a disappointing year, exceptionally so, for we have had to close three rescue centres”

Not the most auspicious of starts for the new CEO, Clarissa Baldwin, who just a few years before had coined the phrase 'a dog is for life, not just for Christmas'.

But the following years were to prove rather more fruitful, and this year we're celebrating 25 years of Clarissa being at the helm of what is now that UK's largest dog welfare charity.

At the end of 1986, Dogs Trust owned 9 rehoming centres and rented space at another 4 kennels. Those centres did what they could but in all honesty the building standards weren’t high and around 6,000 dog were cared for over the course of a year.

Today, Dogs Trust has 18 rehoming centres across the UK and Ireland. A brand new centre is under construction and planning permission has been lodged for another. When these latest additions are complete, around 18,000 stray and abandoned dogs a year will be cared for and the standard of care offered to canine guests is second to none.

The NCDL of 1986 couldn’t afford to tackle the stray dog problem at source. There were no neutering, microchipping or youth education campaigns. We couldn’t even afford to neuter our own dogs. All of these issues have now been addressed which has helped to ensure that the numbers of dogs destroyed in UK pounds is a fraction of what it was in the eighties. However, it must be stressed that even in the cash strapped days of 1986, Dogs Trust did not destroy any healthy dogs.

Thanks to Clarissa’s determination and visionary leadership - she will cringe when she reads that but it’s a fact - it’s been a truly remarkable 25 years.

So on behalf of all the staff and dogs at Dogs Trust, Happy Anniversary! Here's to the next chapter.

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