Why we support Spaniel Aid UK
Leo our Labrador changed our lives for the better when we added him to the family in 2016. When he was two years old I started to reduce my working hours so we decided it was time to add another dog to the pack.
We were looking for a smaller breed that would be a bit less powerful but one with enough energy to be able to keep up with a bouncy Labrador. Over several months we did a lot of research and decided that a spaniel would be a good fit for Leo and the family.
As we were aware of huge numbers of dogs in rescue centres across the UK we also decided that it would be really lovely to give a home to a dog that needed adopting.
So the process of finding the right one began by checking out all the online dog rescue sites including the Dog’s Trust, Blue Cross, RSPCA and local dog rescue centres.
Try as we might, we just couldn’t find a female spaniel. A friend suggested looking at breed specific rescue organisations and luckily this led me to finding Spaniel Aid UK, a wonderful charity that is run by volunteers.
There, in the pages of dogs looking for homes, was a forlorn looking little black spaniel called Charley who was only 14 months old. I fell in love with her sweet little face the moment I saw her.
We duly applied via the web site, filling in a comprehensive adoption application form. I was praying that we might be considered to be a suitable family to adopt her but a few days later heard she had been reserved for another family.
It was a huge disappointment and it made me surprisingly sad so we decided to put our adoption plans on hold.
A week later I had the most exciting phone call, asking if we were still looking to adopt, as Charley was now available. Amazingly there had been almost 150 applications to adopt her and we had made it to number 2 on the list.
Spaniel Aid carefully consider every single application to find the right family for each dog. So it isn’t a first come first served process which means that each dog has the best chance of finding their forever home. The first family who had been top of the pile on paper, hadn’t been successful through the whole of rigorous selection process.
We were incredibly excited and really hoped that we would be the family that would be most suitable for Charley.
SAUK came across as being very organised and professionally run with the process of adoption being quite stringent. This is essential to find the right home for every individual dog.
First we had a telephone interview to check out and confirm all the details on our application form. A few days later we were invited to go to meet Charley in her foster home near Lancaster over 100 miles away.
I drove for more than 2 hours to get up to see her with my husband and Leo in the car and we had an amazing meet and greet with Charley and her foster family.
We were able to play with her outdoors and she got on so well with Leo right from the start, which delighted us. As we chatted to her foster mum she came and sat on my feet and stared up at me looking me right in the eye. It confirmed the feelings in my heart that she was going to be our dog and I had everything crossed that we would be chosen as her new owners.
Whilst we were chatting I learned that Charley had been taken to a vet to be put to sleep as she was reported to be lame and aggressive by her owners.
The vet, who was unconvinced, persuaded them that it would be better and cheaper to relinquish her to SAUK, which thankfully they did.
Following thorough assessment, during her time in foster care, it was decided that Charley was neither lame nor aggressive and two years on she has shown neither trait to us.
After meeting Charley we had to endure several days of agonised waiting, to see if her foster mum’s assessment of us as potential owners had passed the high standards required by SAUK.
When we got the call saying we could move to the next stage of the adoption process we were so excited. This involved a home visit, where a SAUK volunteer came to our house to make sure everything we had stated in our application was true. They checked the house and garden ensuring it was dog friendly and secure and they came to see how we interacted with Leo at home.
Thank goodness we passed this stage too.
The final part of Charley’s adoption was the signing of the contract. I was surprised by this document as it was several pages long, setting out many important clauses relating to Charley’s treatment, her care and future. It stated that if we ever decided that we couldn’t keep Charley we were required to surrender her back to SAUK. The chances of that happening are very remote but it is incredible that SAUK have thought of every possibility and have strategies in place to protect their dogs in every eventuality.
Two days later I was able to drive back up to Charley’s foster home to collect her. She immediately curled up in a bed on the front seat of the car secured by a seatbelt attachment and she slept all the way home.
To begin with she was very subdued and had no idea how to play with a ball but we soon changed that!
Charley is a total delight. She is my little shadow and constant companion more often than not sleeping at my feet or by myside on the sofa.
Don’t think for one minute that she is a quiet and chilled dog as she loves to run round the fields like a maniac in the countryside where we live, looking for pheasants or swimming in our local stream fetching balls and toys. She barks a lot and is never happier than when she’s outside in daylight hours. Thankfully at night she just wants to be snuggling up close to one of us preferably by the fire.
It makes me happy to think we have been able to give this little sausage a second chance, all facilitated by SAUK.
As a thank you to them, for saving Charley and so many other dogs, we donate 15% of all sales to help their mission to save vulnerable dogs and find each one their happy ever after.
More information about SAUK
Spaniel Aid UK consists of a team of 28 volunteers.
In March 2020 it was their 5th Birthday. They have saved over 2000 dogs in that time which is equivalent to than one a day since they started.
You can find them on Facebook: Followers 89,848, on Twitter 3712 and on Instagram 10.7k
In the first quarter of the year they received almost 1500 adoption applications and every one was read and assessed.
Spaniel Aid UK was created by a group of Cocker and English Springer Spaniel owners and lovers who were increasingly concerned by the number of these wonderful dogs being offered for sale or even worse, free to a good home, on internet selling sites.
Their aim is to advise owners of the dangers of using these methods to find homes for their dogs.
They try to help and advise owners of better alternatives when they genuinely need to re home their dogs. They encourage people to relinquish their dogs to the rescue and take into care any dogs whose welfare they are concerned about.
SAUK became a UK Registered Charity in October 2016 and operates to relieve the suffering of dogs namely but not exclusively spaniels, who are abandoned, stray or otherwise in need of care and attention. Charitable status enables more funds to be raised which helps the ever-increasing numbers of rescue dogs that end up in their care.
The volunteers aim to rescue, rehome and foster these dogs and treat and care for them where necessary.
When they see a ‘free to a good home’ dog advertisement, as well as any that are £150 or less, they will email, message or call and offer to help by taking the dog in, to be fostered and subsequently
Spaniel Aid UK is funded entirely by donations from the general public and the people who adopt dogs from them are asked to make a donation which then helps them to continue with their work.
Nobody is paid a salary. Most of the volunteers will not accept expenses and operate on an out of pocket basis.
Most of the funds raised are spent on veterinary treatment. They do not have or use kennels, so rely solely on fosterers taking the dogs into their own homes.
If any dogs that come through the rescue need veterinary treatment it is given regardless of costs and all the dogs have a health check within 72 hours of arriving where possible.
In some cases SAUK also pays for ongoing treatments.
Fundraising is very important for the charity. They regularly run raffles and auctions. Many volunteers have undertaken crazy challenges like skydiving and long sponsored walks to help to raise the funds they need to continue their work.
Without SAUK Charley would not be alive today, so it is our aim to help to support this worthy charity thus ensuring they can rescue many more dogs in the years to come.