Happiness, not in another place but this place
It was a trip that would give me the chance to adopt Angel, and more. I would get to see the rehab unit which has been rebuilt at the Centre this year. As well as having a long overdue catch up with the DBARC team and friends.
Through the year, manager Janet, had been sending me regular photos of it as work on this special place progressed. I loved seeing it shape up from a distance. The highlight was when she sent me her walk-through video one evening to show me its’ almost finished state. From then on I was keen to get there to see it for myself. I didn’t quite know when that would be possible. Not living within easy reach of the centre – I’m now an 1800km round-trip away – means dropping in as I once could isn’t an option.
The unit holds special memories for me, and others who have first met their adopted dogs in the old building. It was where Susie-Belle and later Twinkle hung out while awaiting adoption. In Susie-Belle’s case, it was to be many months that she spent making the unit part of her home environment while Janet fostered her.
The aim of the rehab unit is to provide a space that prepares dogs from traumatic backgrounds such as puppy farms for living in homes. For dogs like Angel, moving from kennels to a regular homelife poses many challenges. Sounds and sights like a TV, a kettle boiling, doors opening and closing, people moving around, lounging on sofas, pulling up chairs to sit at a table, all these are new and for some dogs terrifying.
The rehab unit allows the dogs their own quiet spaces as well as opportunities to jump onto sofas if they choose to. Or, to have a human sit on the floor with them, unthreateningly, just chilling and letting them chill. No expectations of them, no demands. Just their company. If they want to.
In the hours I sat with Janet and friends chatting, catching up with news, sharing lunch, it was great seeing the dogs claim the space they needed. To mingle if they chose to, or warily move closer, or scuttle off when it all got a bit much. Beds on and off the floor are provided. As well as the larger, open social space with sofas, there are quieter corners. These are perfect for the shy ones to observe happenings from. They get to listen to human chatter, laughter, the TV quietly on in the background, all from a safe distance.
It was an excellent illustration of how Janet and her team understand the dogs in their care. The damaged and abused, the fragile and frail, the desperate to love and to be loved. Mostly the ones who need the sanctuary and security which DBARC offers.
Plans are underway to develop a sensory garden. This the dogs will enjoy next spring and summer, with direct access from the rehab unit. I can imagine how this will be a place for staff, volunteers and the all important dogs to hang out. To treasure and share each moment of the journeys towards living as dogs who are cherished for being themselves. Nothing less than heir wonderful doggie selves. It was a privilege seeing the rehab unit in action.
Happiness, not in another place but this place…not for another hour, but this hour.
~ Walt Whitman