My name’s Emma and I’m a Rehoming and Welfare Advisor at the Battersea London centre. I work directly with the dogs, looking after them day-to-day and getting them ready to go to their forever homes.
My day starts when I head into the kennel block. The first thing I do is turn on the lights and then the radio. You can’t beat a bit of Magic FM with Ronan Keating to start the day!
Then it’s time to walk through the block and say good morning to the dogs. After that, my team and I go into the kennels, give the dogs some morning cuddles, and then take them out to their individual outdoor spaces. Once they’re out there, we can then clean their kennels and give them fresh bedding and water.
After the kennel is all fresh and clean we then bring the dogs back inside and clean the yard area. We then leave the door open so they have the choice of being inside or out. We also use this time to take out any dogs who are house-trained.
After this, it’s breakfast time for the dogs so we start the production line of making up the morning meals to each dog’s dietary requirements and any other specifications.
At 9am we meet up with the team leaders and the canine behaviour and training team and combine our to-do lists to decide what needs to be accomplished by the end of the day. This is also a chance to highlight any specific things to know about or focus on with different dogs that day.
After giving the dogs their breakfast, at 10am it’s human break time and we can go and have our own!
After breakfast, between 10:30am and 1pm, it’s time for walks and playtime, (also known as enrichment). If a dog isn’t keen on going out or needs to be kept in for any reason we’ll have some calm time in their kennel area instead. This might involve just sitting quietly with a dog, or even reading to them. I have been known to read a bit of David Attenborough’s biography to a dog. It tends to make them fall asleep, which is the highest compliment!
1pm to 2pm is human lunchtime and dog ‘siesta’ time. We give every dog a long-lasting chew, turn down the lights and put on some calming instrumental music to give them an hour to themselves to calm down and rest. Then we all head off for our own lunch.
At 2pm, it is lunch time for the dogs, so we head back from our own break, prepare the food and then give them their afternoon meals. While they are digesting their lunch, we usually use the time to write up our observations for each dog we have interacted with that day. Then we aim to get the dogs who aren’t house-trained out and about for another bit of interaction outside.
Between 3:30pm and 4pm we settle the dogs. This is when we collect any toys which require supervision (sometimes we have to bargain with the dog and swap a toy for some chicken, a trade that they come out of much better than we do!); make their bedding all nice and cosy, only to watch them mess it all up a couple of minutes later; and fill up their water bowls. We then clean their outdoor spaces and take any house-trained dogs out and about for their last walk of the day.
We try not to do too much with the dogs after 4:30pm so they have that time to relax and settle in for the evening.
Battersea is committed to helping every dog and cat – championing their rights, loving their imperfections and expertly caring for them. Because rescue is Battersea’s favourite breed.