Rugby star Shane Williams has met rescue dogs to mark the beginning of building work at a new Dogs Trust centre in Wales.
Williams posed for pictures outside the Senedd with a six-month-old Shih Tzu called Coffee and Hercules, a five-year-old terrier, who are looking for new homes.
He was joined by members of the Welsh Assembly and Jim Monteith, interim chief executive of the Dogs Trust.
The new rehoming centre in Splott, Cardiff, will boast facilities including kennels with underfloor heating and a hydrotherapy suite.
It will care for around 1,000 stray and abandoned dogs each year and is the charity’s 22nd rehoming centre.
There will also be a training hall, grooming suite and full veterinary and surgical areas.
Williams, whose children sponsor animals at the Dogs Trust, described Coffee and Hercules as “gorgeous”.
“They were stunning – they were well behaved as well,” he told the Press Association.
“If my daughter was here she’d already have them in the car and we’d be going home with them.
“As you can see from just those two dogs, they’re well looked after, well treated and they seemed very happy.
“They were a pleasure to work with.”
Meet Coffee & Hercules on their official photoshoot announcing plans for a shiny new and exciting @DogsTrust rehoming centre in Cardiff 🐕🐶🐕#Dogs #dogsoftwitter #DogsTrust #dogstrustbridgend #ShihTzu #Terrier pic.twitter.com/TKAwvSbIqx— Ben Birchall (@BenBirchallUK) March 13, 2019
The rehoming centre is set to create up to 50 jobs, including managers, canine carers, training and behaviour staff and maintenance workers.
It was the dream of Adrian Burder – the former chief executive of Dogs Trust, who died last year – to open the centre in Cardiff.
Mr Monteith said: “Over 5,000 stray dogs were collected by local authorities in Wales last year alone, so our new centre is very much needed and will complement the amazing work done by our current Dogs Trust Bridgend rehoming centre.
“We have been a leading voice in dog welfare in Wales since the 1950s and campaign on ending puppy smuggling, banning training devices that cause pain such as electric shock collars, and seek to strengthen dog-breeding legislation in the country to improve and protect the welfare of dogs.
“We hope to be able to rehome a thousand dogs a year at Dogs Trust Cardiff and we’re excited to be able to give dogs in the area a brighter future.”