This year the Staffordshire Bull Terrier has been voted Britain's favourite dog breed as decided by ITV viewers. Yay! So we spoke to Chris Clark Co founder, Chairperson and slave to the staffies at Staffordshire Bull Terrier Rescue, a charity set up in 2008. Chris runs the charity alongside a small team of dedicated volunteers.
What’s the most common reason for these dogs needing to be re-homed?
Most of the dogs that come in to the care of Staffordshire Bull Terrier Rescue are abused, abandoned, neglected strays although we do also help owners who are dying or fleeing domestic violence.
You must have re-homed hundreds of dogs. Is there any one dogs story that stands out for you and if so could you tell us about it?
Bertie was a lovely staffy who had been so badly let down by another rescuer. Having been given thousands in donations from the public they failed to give him the proper care which resulted in him losing the sight in his eye. By the time we got to him he was only weeks away from losing the sight in his remaining eye. However, with thanks to the wonderful Claudia Hartley Opthalmologist and months of dedicated care from the team here at SBTR, Bertie’s vision was saved and he now has a wonderful life considering he only has the one eye.
What would you say are the main breed characteristics of a staffy?
Playful, robust, affectionate, nursemaid, highly intelligent, courageous, loyal and pure and utter love machine cuddle monster.
How many dogs are you currently looking to re-home?
We currently have 11 dogs for rehoming. We can hold up to 15 but we don’t overload ourselves. We are about quality of care not quantity in numbers. Our rescue is run by unpaid volunteers and we like to keep a few foster homes spare just incase any of the foster carers take ill or there is an emergency.
Obviously you want to make sure that all your dogs go the best homes. What checks do potential re-homers go through?
We have a very strict home checking policy in place. After the home check is complete we take up personal references, veterinary references and landlord check. If at that stage we are not happy then we won’t re-home. We turn down around 60% of applications we receive. Before I started my own charity, I volunteered for three other rescues that were for Staffordshire Bull Terriers. I was shocked at the poor standards of care and their rehoming procedure.
If I was considering re-homing a Staffordshire Bull Terrier what advice would you give me?
I would advise that you do some research in to the breed. If you have never owned a Staffy before we would invite you to the rescue to spend some time with some of the dogs as no two are the same.
Running a charity is obviously expensive. If I don’t have any spare money to donate what other ways can I help Staffordshire Bull Terrier Rescue?
You can help by sharing our rescue details and our dogs that need rehoming. This is really important to us, as once we have done all the veterinary care and assessments on the dogs, our main aim is to find them their forever homes. This allows us to help another dog in need. Just sharing our Facebook posts is a huge help.
Finally do you have any top training tips you could share with us?
Every dog is different that comes to us at SBTR and training for every dog will not be the same. We promote force free reward training. We like to give the dogs time to settle before we start any training or assessment as for the fist couple of weeks they are often subdued and bewildered as to why they are here. We are a foster based rescue as when I founded the charity it was important to me that the dogs wouldn’t be kennelled long term as it can affect them mentally causing them to shut down.
Ways you can help ...
There are lots of ways you can support Chris and the team. As Chris mentioned liking their Facebook page and sharing their posts makes a massive difference to them.
SBTR Facebook Page
If you would like to make a donation to SBTR you can become a Supa Staff Sponsor with a regular donation of £5 or whatever you can afford. Here are the details if you’d like to set up a standing order
Bank Account: Staffy Rescue
Account Number: 36413068
Sort Code: 30-99-77
(Message your address to their FB page or email email@example.com and you'll be sent a sponsor certificate).
You can also donate using PayPal Giving Fund direct to SBTR using the link below
Or you can make a donation via PayPal using the Friends and Family option at firstname.lastname@example.org or via the PayPal donate button on their website www.sbtrescue.co.uk
Alternatively you can raise funds whilst you shop as Staffordshire Bull Terrier Rescue are part of Amazon Smile.