Belfast Telegraph

Meet the dogs dumped for being too old in Northern Ireland but given new lease of life by rescue home

Moira gives old dogs a brand new lease of life

By Laura Abernethy

Bobbie and Ennie were dumped like rubbish, but now the pair of pooches have a new lease of life in a canine retirement home.

Aged 16 and 14, they were rescued by Almost Home Animal Rescue in Moira and have become the faces of a campaign to set up a special cabin for older rescue dogs just like them.

Manager Karen Matthews explained: "When I look at on old dog that sits in the pound, I realise that those wee dogs have at some time been something to somebody.

"It's horrible to think that those dogs end up dying and being thrown in a bin bag and that they mean nothing to anyone. We want to make sure they know they are loved."

Karen and her team of volunteers are planning to build a log cabin which will be named Heather House in memory of Heather Law, one of the charity's trustees.

"She was devoted to animals and we had started fundraising for this, but then she took cancer for the second time and died five months ago," Karen said. "It was always her dream to do this."

"We want to make it comfortable and homely for them so that they have good memories. They need to know love and that life can be good."

Heather House will also feature a memory wall where supporters can sponsor engraved plaques with messages to remember their pets and friends. Karen was inspired by some of the much-loved older dogs she has cared for since opening Almost Home in 2013.

Lily was 14 when Karen found her in a local dog pound. She was blind, deaf, suffering from dementia and her body was covered in a mass of tangles. Karen and her husband, Ian, brought Lily home and cleaned her up, but she died in Karen's arms just nine days later.

"She knew she meant something," said Karen. "When the time comes, every dog deserves to pass away with dignity and respect in the arms of someone who loves them."

When three of their dogs, Basil (14), Ollie (17) and Meg (19) had to be put to sleep in March, they held a farewell party for them.

Now, alongside Bobbie and Ennie, Susie (16), Alexia (14) and Sheba (8) are hoping to be the first residents of Heather House.

While the aim is to re-home these dogs, Heather House will give them a comfortable place to live in the meantime.

"Putting them in a kennel environment can be stressful for an older dog who is used to a home, so Heather House will help so much," Karen said.

The rescue centre needs to raise at least £10,000 for the cabin. You can donate via Paypal to For details, visit

Belfast Telegraph


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