Future uncertain for locality's only animal shelter - but Grovehill remain upbeat

Darren Beattie


Darren Beattie



Like many charitable organisations, the locality's only animal shelter is facing an uncertain future, but the wonderful team at Grovehill Animal Trust, Sixmilecross, is determined to keep going for the sake of all homeless and abandoned pets.

Fortunately, the shelter is located in the beautiful countryside of Sixmilecross and where the animals are concerned, it's very much business as usual.

The team is thankful to have access to private land to allow their dogs to get their full daily hour walk. And the cats are receiving plenty of love and attention as well.

"The welfare of our animals, staff and volunteers remains our top priority," said Richard Robinson, the group coordinator.

"We are observing the same social distancing rules as everyone else while essential duties like feeding and cleaning are carried out."

In the midst of a pandemic, the community has really pulled together to supply the NHS with personal protective equipment and generate food supplies to struggling families - and the local people have not forgotten about the county's abandoned animals.

"We have taken great comfort in the number of messages of support or made donations of money, food and offers to help," continued Richard.

"People are under a lot of stress and are concerned about the health of their families and of their livelihoods so taking time to check on us is much appreciated.

"Our thoughts are with our front-line health workers, including those Grovehill volunteers who work in the NHS. Thank you for everything you do, now and every day of the year.

"We'd like to wish good health to all of our supporters, and look forward to a time soon when we can put all of this behind us and rebuild."

Richard's words were echoed by charity chairperson, Janice Porter.

“As a small, local charity dependent entirely on donations and fundraisers to keep our doors open, we obviously are anxious about our future, but given the unprecedented times we are currently living in we are all too aware of the very real concerns facing everyone in our town and surrounding area. It’s been touching to have received so many good wishes from the general public," said Janice.

"Happily, for the cats and dogs at the shelter they are oblivious to what is going on around them and have been especially enjoying the recent sunny weather."

Top tips for animal care: During these difficult times our pets can be a source of comfort, fun and indeed companionship. But it is important that we recognize that changes in our lifestyles can have an impact upon them.

Many adults are now working from home or on furlough and children are off school. Cats for example who are by nature solitary creatures may find it stressful to have human contact continually when they prefer to sleep. Some families have opted to keep cats indoors during this time. For some cats this will pose no issues but for others this could prove to be stressful. A scratch pole and toys can provide stimulation. Ensure they have to clean water dishes and litter trays, a healthy food supply and fresh bedding. If you have any concerns about your pet’s behaviour or health don’t hesitate to contact your local vet.

The government has stated that we can leave home for one form of exercise daily and so a dogwalk in the fresh air is ideal. Remember to let your dog into the garden several times per day for toileting. Ensure your garden is secure and keep your dog on a lead at all times when walking as in the unfortunate event of them going missing we won’t be able to ask friends and neighbours to help us search.

It’s a good idea to keep a plentiful supply of petfood in the house to avoid unnecessary journeys to the shops. We need to be realistic so make sure you can contact someone to help with the care of your pet should you take unwell.

It is also important to brush your dog’s coat regularly to keep them as comfortable as possible, especially as groomers are temporarily closed.

So until this difficult time passes let’s be kind to ourselves, check on family, friends and neighbours and of course enjoy the company of our four legged companions.

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