Pets can provide a great source of companionship help to relieve stress and depending upon the animal, also help to keep you fit and active.
There are many reasons for wanting to keep a pet and the positive benefits from doing so have been well documented.
Pets can provide a great source of companionship help to relieve stress and depending upon the animal, also help to keep you fit and active. Keeping a pet requires a certain amount of responsibility and commitment; make sure that you are happy to fulfil these before making a decision.
You will need to consider the sort of animal you are interested in and the particular breed. Are you able to take on the responsibility and cost of caring for a pedigree cat or dog, or would you be happy with the companionship of a crossbreed or mongrel. Do you want a long or short haired breed, male or female; do you live near a busy road? These are all things you need to consider. There are extra costs involved in such things as neutering, injections, regular flea and worming treatments, and other vet bills. It is well worth finding out about these costs before deciding what pet you would like, especially if you are thinking of a pedigree animal.
To find out more about caring for a pet it is worth visiting your local library for books about the particular animal you are interested in. Family and friends may already have or know about the breed you are looking for. Vets surgeries, pet shows, newspapers, pet magazines and the internet are sources of information about where you can purchase your chosen animal. Animal welfare shelters and charities often have pets that need re-homing, especially older pets. However you can never be fully certain about their medical or behavioural history so you may wish to seek advice from a vet beforehand.
If you are considering getting a pet it is important to take into account that you will need to keep their vaccinations up to date and to factor this in to the costs of keeping your pet. In the case of a sudden emergency or if you need to go away on holiday or be away from home without your pet no Kennel or Cattery will accept any animals who are not fully vaccinated and have up to date vaccination certificates.
If you plan to choose a pet from a pet shop, you can check with your local council to ensure that the shop has been inspected for hygiene and safety.
Useful contacts for further information
The Blue Cross
Tel: 0300 777 1897
Fax: 0300 777 1601
Provide information, advice and practical support for pet and horse owners. Through its network of animal adoption centres it re-homes thousands of animals each year. Its hospitals provide veterinary care for the pets of people who cannot afford private vets fees.
Blue Cross - Southampton Adoption Centre: Cares for: cats, dogs, guinea pigs, and rabbits. Housed in boarding kennels formerly known as Goose Green, the centre serves communities across Hampshire, and East Dorset, as far west as Poole, as far north as Salisbury. The centre is located at:
Tel: 0300 777 1530
Fax: 0300 777 1531
Opening hours: 11am – 4pm: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday
11am – 2pm – Sunday and Bank Holidays (excluding Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day).
British Association of Homeopathic Veterinary Surgeons
Christopher Day, MA VetMB Cert/AVH VetFFHom MRCVS
Alternative Veterinary Medicine Centre
Stanford in the Vale
Oxon SN7 8NQ
A service to animal owners seeking homeopathic help. The Assoc will supply names and addresses of vets with homeopathic qualifications. To receive this information please supply a stamped self addressed envelope, at least A5 size, to the address above.
Cats Protection League
National Cat Centre
Tel: (Switchboard) 01825 741 900
Tel: (National Helpline) 03000 12 12 12 (Monday-Friday 9am-5pm)
Tel: (Adoption Centre) 01825 741 330
The UK’s leading feline welfare charity cares for around 60,000 cats and kittens every year through their network of 29 Adoption Centres and 260 voluntary run branches. Information about caring for your cat, neutering, a friendly phone-in helpline service.
The Cinnamon Trust
10 Market Square
Tel: 01736 757900
The Trust’s primary objective is to respect and preserve the treasured relationship between owners and their pets. A national network of 5,500 volunteers provides practical help with day to day care such as walking the dog for a housebound owner. A fostering service is provided for pets whose owners face a spell in hospital. Cinnamon Trust also provides long term care for pets whose owners have died or moved to residential accommodation which will not accept pets. Arrangements are made between owners and the Trust well in advance, if possible, so owners do have peace of mind in the knowledge that their beloved companion will have a safe and happy future. Emergency cards are available on request. When a pet is in the Trust’s care either short or long term because the owner is in care, the owner is kept in touch with visits, if possible, or regular photos and letters.
Dogs for the Disabled
The Frances Hay Centre
Tel: 01295 252600
Disability can lead to isolation, loss of confidence and feelings of low self esteem. Dogs for the Disabled trains dogs to assist with practical, everyday tasks to help a disabled person live life to the full. The dogs are able to assist with:
• Opening or closing doors
• Help a person to dress and undress
• Bark to raise the alarm in an emergency
• Retrieve items such as a telephones or dropped items such as keys or a bag
• Empty the washing machine
• Switch the lights on and off
• Bring in the milk and fetch the post
• Press a pedestrian crossing button
• Reach up to shop-counters and carry a shopping basket
• Help people to walk by providing a stable base and forward motion
In addition the dogs give enormous psychological benefits, helping to break down barriers to the outside world and helping improve confidence and stress levels.
17 Wakley Street
Tel: 020 7837 0006
Nationwide network of re-homing centres. The Canine Care Card scheme is a special free service that will guarantee you peace of mind, knowing that your dog’s future can be a safe and happy one should anything happen to you and you are unable to continue caring for your dog.
Nearest re-homing centre is in Salisbury at:
45 Amesbury Road
Tel: 01980 629634
Opens: 12 noon – 4pm
Closed: Wednesday. By appointment only outside of these times.
Guide Dogs for the Blind Association
Tel: 0118 983 5555
Fax: 0118 983 5433
Dorset District Team:
Southern Counties District Team – Guide Dogs
1 Chilworth Road
Tel: 0845 372 7428
Our experienced team work closely with clients and in partnership with other agencies, to provide a quality service to blind and partially-sighted people living in Dorset, Hampshire and Wiltshire.
Hearing Dogs for the Deaf
Tel: 01844 348 100 (voice & Minicom)
Fax: 01844 348 101
Train dogs to assist people who are deaf or hard of hearing in everyday tasks.
National Animal Welfare Trust – HQ
Tel: 020 8950 0177 – Opening hours: 9am – 5pm Monday – Friday
Fax: 020 8420 4454
Offers advice to older people about the care of their pets if they need to go to hospital and will provide short term care for animals at one of the trust’s centres. The trust also has a retirement centre for elderly animals where they may spend the rest of their natural lives in purpose built home from home surroundings.
NAWT – Somerset – is a centre that cares for and re-home animals in need. The centre is for both domestic and farm animals providing shelter and care for an indefinite period of time. For further details contact:
Heaven’s Gate Farm Animal Rescue Centre
Tel: 01458 252656
Fax: 01458 253806
Opening hours: 11am – 3.30pm. Tuesday – Sunday (closed Mondays, Christmas Day, Boxing Day).
Peoples Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA)
The PDSA provides free treatment for pets of owners who are receiving Housing or Council Tax benefit providing that registration on the scheme has been completed in advance. Full cost private care is available to all other clients.
There are also local vets who participate in the Pet Aid Scheme who will provide treatment to registered owners. If your pet is in need of urgent treatment your local vet should be able to help even if they are not part of the scheme. However this only applies to emergency life saving treatment. To find out if you are eligible for Pet Aid, and the location of your nearest participating vet contact the Administration centre on 0800 731 2502. There is a local PDSA treatment centre at:
70 Castle Lane West
Tel: 01202 533630
There are participating PetAid practices in Dorchester and Weymouth contact 0800 731 2502 for details.
Pets as Therapy (PAT)
3 Grange Farm Cottages
Tel: 01844 345 445 (Monday – Thursday 9am-5pm / Friday 9am- 4.30pm)
If you have a friendly dog you could become a PAT volunteer. All PAT dogs have to pass a temperament test. Once you and your dog are registered, you would visit residential and nursing homes and day centres to provide comfort and therapy to residents. Contact the number above to find out the details of your local representative.
12 Garden Walk
Tel: 01202 870067
Woofability is a newly established community organisation which trains dogs for disabled people in Dorset, Hampshire and Wiltshire. Based in Ferndown, the dogs are trained to carry out a wide range of tasks for their disabled partner such as emptying the washing machine, help with dressing or undressing, and shopping activities.
Local animal rescue centres
Cats Protection League
West Dorset Branch – 01305 262737 Website:http://www.cats.org.uk/west-dorset
Margaret Green Foundation Trust Re-homing Centres
Animal Sanctuary and Visitor Centre
Tel: 01929 480474 (10am-4pm)
Open every day (except Christmas Day) 10am – 4pm.
RSPCA – Local Branches
Dorset West Branch
Taylors Animal Rehoming Centre
Kingston Maurward College
Tel: 01305 259672 – general enquiries only
A cattery in the grounds of Kingston Maurward College. Opening hours: 1.30pm – 4pm Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. 11.30am – 4pm Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Cats and small animals only.
RSPCA Ashley Heath Animal Centre
Tel: 0300 1230749
An animal centre in the local forest of Ringwood, Hampshire. The centre will look after dogs, cats, rabbits, and other small domestic animals. Services offered: adopt an animal, pet merchandise.
RSPCA National Emergency Helpline: 0300 1234 999
Waggy Tails Rescue
69 Cobham Road
Ferndown Industrial Estate
Tel: 01202 875000
Waggy Tails is a dog rescue centre, contact office for full details of services.
Dog Walking and transport services
Pet Pals will visit your home to feed, walk and play with your pets as often as you wish, so they can stay in their own safe and secure environment with familiar sights and smells. The service is particularly useful if you are going on holiday, or have to go into hospital or go into short term care. Services provided include:
• Regular or occasional dog walking
• Day visits for all pets, home and pet sitting
• Insured, trained and uniformed staff who are Criminal Records Board checked.
• Members of the Association of Professional Pet Sitters, Registered Dog Sitters, and the People and Dog Society.
• Pet Welfare approved and pet friendly vans.
• References available.
West Dorset: Matt Brooksbank & Maria Church – Tel: 01308 898 262, mobile: 07766 242277. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Matt and Maria and their team cover the following areas:
Towns covered: Weymouth & Portland, Dorchester, Bridport, Beaminster, Charmouth
Villages covered: Abbotsbury, Allington, Askerswell, Bothenhampton, Bradford Peverell, Bradpole, Burton Bradstock, Charminster, Chickerell, Chilcombe, Compton Valence, Dottery, Eype, Frampton, Grimstone, Little Bredy, Litton Cheney, Loders, Long Bredy, Martinstown, Melplash, Muckleford, Nettlecombe, Oxbridge, Portesham, Puncknowle, Pymore, Salwayash, Shipton Gorge, Spyway, Symondsbury, Toller Fratum, Uploders, Walditch, Watton, West Compton, Winterbourne Abbas, Winterbourne Came, Winterbourne Monkton, Winterbourne Steepleton, Stratton, Wynford Eagle
Pet Grooming Services
Karen’s Cat Grooming
13 Endfield Road
Tel: 01202 474293
Cat grooming service, contact for details of charges.
Coming to terms with the death of a much loved pet can be very difficult, especially if you have had them for some time. You may want to speak to your vet about various options following the death of your pet. Some people gain assurance from using professional Cremation services whereas others prefer to make their own arrangements. Information about all aspects of pet bereavement is available from your vet or from the national helplines listed at the beginning of this factsheet.
Keeping your pet safe
The theft of much loved pets is now quite a common event. Pedigree breeds of cats and dogs are the usual targets, although other breeds or animals may well be stolen too, or may appear to just go ‘missing’. There are some simple measures you can take to ensure your pets safety.
• Make sure your cat or dog is micro-chipped and/or have one of their ears tattooed. Keep details of their microchip/tattoo in a safe place.
• Ensure that your cat or dog has a collar and tag with your contact details clearly inscribed.
• Try not to let your dog stray out of sight when out walking.
• Try to keep your dog in view when it is in the garden and never leave it in the garden alone while you are out. Make sure your garden fences and gates are secure and high enough to keep the dog in the garden and prevent intruders easily climbing in.
• Consider investing in some form of pet insurance especially if you have a pedigree or rare breed animal.
• Keep clear and recent photographs of your pets.
• Never leave your dog tethered outside a shop, library, and GP surgery, etc. or unattended in your car in a car park.
• Beware of strangers who take an undue interest in your pet. Try to vary your walks and routines. Think carefully about letting unaccompanied youngsters walk your dog.
• If your pet is stolen report it to the police and ask for a crime number as you will need this to claim against any insurance policy.