News Irish News

Monday 19 March 2018

The four dogs left behind as hundreds are picked up to join loving homes


Rebecca Black

Their big eyes may melt your heart but these pooches have been yearning for loving homes for a total of 14 months.

Charlie, Rusty, Cookie and Lola came to the Dog Trust centre in Ballymena, Co Antrim through no fault of their own.


Staff at the sanctuary have lovingly cared for the dogs and even trained them in basic manners - but they are still being overlooked by potential owners.

Re-homing Centre manager Oonagh Phillips described them as "fantastic dogs".


"I'm just stunned that they continue to be overlooked as they all have so much potential," she said.

"All four dogs have different backgrounds, personalities and needs and therefore they are all looking for different homes.


"I just know when each of their day comes they will make wonderful additions to their new homes."

They are among 49 dogs currently at the centre.

Lovely Labrador cross Charlie is one of the longest residents, having arrived in January after his former owner took ill. In the last six months he has mournfully watched as 230 other dogs were re-homed while he continues to wait for his new family.

Assistant manager Sarah Park described Charlie as a "lovely boy".

"He has good manners, if dogs need to learn how to walk on a lead or good manners we train them," she said.

"Because Charlie has been here for a while he has been very well trained.

"We use positive reinforcement to teach.

"They say you can't teach old dogs new tricks, but ours certainly pick them up from their lessons."

She advised anyone interested in re-homing him to come up for a few visits to get to know him first.

Rusty, who arrived in April, is an intriguing cross between a Jack Russell and a collie.

"She is about the size of a Jack Russell with the brains of a Collie," Sarah said.

"She needs an enclosed garden with no livestock nearby."

Lola was brought to the centre in June following the break-up of a relationship and has been described as a "beautiful girl", but a little nervous.

Cookie arrived in February in a poor state and had to be completely shaved.

However, now he has grown a beautiful fluffy coat. He has been described as an independent dog who loves his walks.

Sarah said the centre has a wide variety of dogs from pedigree to mixed breeds and even a labradoodle.

It also has two rescue ducks in the ponds and a small number of cats.

If you are interested in rehoming Charlie, Cookie, Lola or Rusty please give the rehoming centre a call on 0300 303 0292. The Dogs Trust centre on the Teeshan Road in Ballymena is open 12-4pm from Saturday to Thursday.

The dogs


Three-year-old Charlie is a sweet-natured Labrador cross who is a little nervous of new people and new surroundings. Potential owners will need to visit him at the Rehoming Centre a few times to build his trust. He’s looking for an active adult home with no other animals and, ideally, owners with previous dog experience.


Cookie arrived at Dogs Trust Ballymena back in February in a very sorry state. He arrived with incredibly matted hair, which had to be quickly shaved off. The veterinary team also discovered he had kidney problems, which are now closely monitored. Dogs Trust staff will advise potential owners on Cookie’s health issues and cover costs related to his kidney condition. He’s looking for a home with owners who will give him time to settle in and understand he’s not a lap dog, as he’s an independent boy.


A Jack Russell cross, Rusty arrived at the Rehoming Centre in April and has already made quite an impression with the staff. She’s incredibly affectionate and loves the company of people including children aged six and over. One-year-old Rusty can potentially live with another dog that suits her bossy personality. Rusty is looking for a loving family home with owners who can work on training, particularly her recall, as she loves a game of chase.


Lola the collie cross is a lovely five-year-old girl who sadly continues to be overlooked after spending over a month at the Rehoming Centre. She can be a little nervous when she first meets new people but once she gets to know you she’s incredibly loving and friendly. Lola can potentially live with other dogs, but will need to get to know them first. She’s a clever girl and knows all her basic commands and is house-trained. Lola is worried by loud noises, so a quiet, rural home away from noisy roads would suit her perfectly. She can live with children aged 10 and over.

Belfast Telegraph

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News