Belfast Telegraph

Unloved no more... dogs dumped at Christmas find forever homes


Justin Allen from Whitehead with his dog Griffin
Justin Allen from Whitehead with his dog Griffin
Scamp before
Scamp in his new home
Griffin before
Griffin in his new home
Mark Bain

By Mark Bain

They started the year looking for a new home - now life has changed for the better for four lucky dogs.

In January the Belfast Telegraph featured five loveable canines from Mid-Antrim Animal Sanctuary searching for their forever homes.

Just a few months later, four of them have found new families.

Gareth, a Welsh spaniel, attracted much interest after being featured and now his new life is well and truly up and running - in every respect.

On Easter Monday he completed the Whitehead 5k road race with owner Justin Allen.

"He's so full of life, exactly what I was looking for in a companion," said Mr Allen, several months after giving Gareth - now called Griffin - a home of his own.

"From what I know he was a little too much to handle for his elderly owner, who already had a couple of older dogs. He was full of energy and needed to get out and about all the time.

"He's certainly helping me out. He's given me the incentive to run - and he was delighted to come with me on Easter Monday and finish the 5k race.

"I did have a cocker spaniel many years ago and had been thinking about getting a new dog for some time.

"My mum went to Mid-Antrim previously and came home with a westland terrier. That really helped her as she'd struggled with depression. It gave her a new lease of life.

"When she was at work I looked after her dog and started to think maybe it was time I got a friend for myself."

The visit to Mid-Antrim Animal Sanctuary proved well worth it.

Justin explained: "I spoke to my girlfriend Helen, who has had dogs all her life, and we decided yes, it was a good time.

"I went with my mum and knew Gareth was the one immediately. I sent Helen a few photos and she took a fancy to him right away. He was the one.

"The adoption procedures were very thorough and I know there was a lot of interest in Gareth at the time, but after all the necessary checks I was so pleased when they decided my home was the right place for him.

"And we haven't looked back. He's settled so well, loves cuddles and will even put his paws on my shoulders for a hug.

"I don't think it could have worked out better for either of us."

Not too many miles away, another cute canine is getting the cuddle treatment from a new owner.

Little Westie Scamp was another to attract plenty of interest and it didn't take him long to find a new home - he has been spoilt by new owner Catherine for the past four months.

"I did have a dog for 17 years," she said. "But this was my first experience of an animal rescue centre."

"Scamp has been with me since January 19, so it all happened quite quickly after I first met him.

"It was a completely different experience. I'd had my previous dog from a pup, but Scamp was just what I needed and I think I was just what he needed too.

"I work four days a week and my parents look after him when I'm away. They're my babysitting service and he's walked every day.

"I didn't feel introducing a pup was right. I wanted an older dog, one that fitted my circumstances, and that's where Mid-Antrim Animal Centre were brilliant. They were very thorough.

"It did take him a while to get used to us all, as it was as new for him as it was for us.

"He came from a home where his elderly owner just couldn't look after him any more and he deserved a chance."

Catherine said she would have taken any of the dogs at the centre's home.

She added: "Yes, it's a big commitment, but they match you with the right dog for your circumstances.

"He's just part of the family now. He knows all the routines, loves playing in the garden. We've spoilt him with toys.

"I'd definitely recommend a rescue dog to family and friends, and they'll make sure you get the right one. It couldn't have gone any better for me or for Scamp."

Two other dogs featured in the Belfast Telegraph after Christmas have also started their new lives.

Both Finn the Labrador and Archer the boxer/Labrador cross have moved on to new forever homes.

But little Jack Russell Vodski is still searching for that special someone.

She's a long term resident at the Mid-Antrim sanctuary and is still on the look-out for the perfect match.

For details on dogs seeking new homes, contact Mid-Antrim Animal Sanctuary on 028 9446 3993 or visit

Belfast Telegraph


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