Just 18 months on from the devastating fire that killed 60 animals, Manchester Dogs’ Home is well on its way to a full recovery, something which they aim to demonstrate when they take to the stage at Crufts next week.
The home is taking seven dogs along to the world’s largest dog show which kicks off on Thursday, and will be showing their pooches in a range of activities in the Good Citizen Dog Scheme training ring.
This will be the second time the home will be represented at the event after making their debut in last year’s competition, and Anna Stansfield, the home’s manager, admitted they are thrilled to be making the trip to Birmingham again after loving the experience in 2015.
“We’re so excited to be going back,” she said. “Before last year, our dogs had never done anything like this before so leading up to last year we were so nervous.
“We had never done any showing before; we are just a rescue centre and we didn’t know how people would perceive us.
“The amount of people that we met was just ridiculous. The dogs had so much fun and were getting lots of fuss so they loved it.
“The dogs we are taking this year have all been adopted from the home over the years.
“They all came in as rescue dogs and underwent basic training, and through rehoming, they’ve turned into wonderful dogs.
“We want to show that people shouldn’t discard rescue dogs because with the right owners, they can do great things.”
The fire, from which hundreds of dogs were saved, took hold on September 11 2014 and devastated some of the centre’s buildings and kennels.
Over the days following the blaze, more than £2million was received in donations from kind-hearted members of the public, money which has since been invested in the home’s recovery.
After months of hard work, it finally reopened in February with around 20 dogs currently living in its new kennels as they await adoption.
And as they welcome their fresh start with new building plans in the pipeline, Anna insists Crufts, which will be celebrating its 125th anniversary this year, is the perfect setting for the centre to show that they are back to their best.
“It’s been a very long process since the fire,” she said. “Only last week we reopened a temporarily refurbished adoption block.
“It’s been a very difficult time. We naively though that with all the help and support we received that it wouldn’t take so long for us to get back on our feet, but it is amazing what the public has done for us.
“We had so many fantastic donations that we couldn’t physically use, so we donated them to another 36 charities.
“Last year at Crufts we met lots of people who had helped us through the worst time of our lives we was very healing for us.
“We just want the people who helped and supported us to be proud of what we’ve done.”