One year on: Manchester Dogs’ Home looks to new start thanks to public support

A year on from a devastating fire which ripped through it killing 58 dogs, Manchester Dogs’ Home in Harpurhey is rejuvenated.

With a wealth of public support and donations topping £2million, the centre, which houses the most vulnerable of dogs, is looking forward to a new start.

Thanks to the quick thinking of local people, 150 dogs were rescued on the night of September 11 2014, but the fire sparked frenzy in the hearts of the nation with £1million of donations being raised in just 24 hours from the public and celebrities including Simon Cowell.

In the aftermath of the fire, people gridlocked the M6 as they travelled in their hundreds to the centre’s sister site in Warrington to foster dogs and donate animal supplies.

The large public response and the willpower of the staff have enabled the dogs’ home, established in 1893, to undertake a major refurbishment and a year on; the centre is almost ready to open.

Manager Steve Mapley said: “I don’t think you can explain the last year, it’s been heartrending and very difficult to get over the initial tragedy and the initial shock of what happened.”

Moving forward, he said it was about trying to re-group and look to the future and gave particular praise to the public in their response.

“We always knew that we were a nation of animal lovers but I think that surprised everybody, it was a phenomenal response. We owe it to them [the public] to bounce back,” he added.

The refurbished temporary adoption facility is due to open in the next few weeks where future dogs homed at the centre can look forward to modern upgrades, with renewed underfloor heating and much brighter and airier kennels.

However, it is still early days for the replacement adoption block building which is still under construction as part of a new three-year build.

There will be no official marking of the year anniversary today with the centre prefering a lower key and quiet day where the intention is that the staff will have time for their own thoughts and time for reflection.

Users of social media are being encouraged though to mark the anniversary by taking selfies with their dogs and using the hashtag #hugyourhound.

Mr Mapley said that despite the tragedy, the year has provided plenty of heart-warming highs.

He said: “There’s been a few – getting the stray dogs back onto site for us was really important. Getting the Manchester staff based back here and getting them moving forward, and then starting to work together as a team again.

“The next one is going to be getting the public back onto site and starting to re-adopt dogs again.”

Although, rehoming is still carried out at its sister site, the Cheshire Dogs’ Home in Warrington, Manchester Dogs’ Home does house some stray dogs.

Mr Mapley actively encouraged the public to help and get involved with the dogs’ home who are always looking for adopters and people to come forward and give the dogs their forever home.

Looking forward to the future, Mr Mapley said: “The thing that has carried us forward for the last 12 months is the fact that we do this for the dogs, so the best facilities that we could offer is what we’re really looking to achieve. The hope is that we’re always going to be bigger and brighter than we were.”

Image courtesy of SWNS TV, via YouTube, with thanks.

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