Chatmar Pet Hotel - Redruth, Cornwall
Chatmar Pet Hotel is a day and boarding kennels for Dogs, Cats and small animals including Chinchillas, Rabbits, Ferrets and Parrots.
I have been volunteering at the Kennels for one day a week from the 17/1/2011.
The Kennels has been running since 2005 and has three different types of accommodation for dogs and one for cats:
The Office Block: This is a range of kennels that are entirely indoors and more suited to younger, elder
and more timid dogs.
The Garden Block: These kennels have a large outdoor area and smaller indoor compartment; they are
better suited to families or larger dogs.
The New Block: This block contains the largest number of kennels which are equally divided into indoor
and outdoor space.
The Paddock: This is a dog proof exercise area. Half is patioed over and the other half is grass allowing the
dogs to be exercised in all weathers.
The Cattery: The kennels has 7 purpose built cat pens. 6 are suitable for up to cats and the 7th can
accommodate up to 4 cats.
The Kennels has a strict routine of feeding, cleaning and walking the dogs throughout the day. Each kennel is thoroughly washed and disinfected at the beginning of the day giving the dogs a chance to run about in the enclosed paddock, the dogs and cats are then fed and any medical needs are seen too.
Once each kennel and cat pen has been cleaned; the dogs are rotated into the paddock to give then 15 mins of exercise and play with other dogs from the same family or a member of staff. The dogs that are in the kennels for a long period of time (2 weeks or more) are taken for longer walks in the surrounding area every few days.
There are grooming and bathing facilites at the kennels so I have assisted with several baths, nail clippings and grooming of the owners Belgium Shepards as well as residents in the kennel.
The most time consuming aspect of work at the kennels is caring for the small furries and birds that are brought in to stay at Chatmar. It is necessary to change the bedding, food and water every day and unlike the cats and dogs there is no separate area to place the animals so that you can clean the cage without worrying about the location of the animal. However, it is much more relaxing as pets such as rabbits, chinchillas and birds are not as demanding as dogs in terms of attention.
When I arrived at the kennels in January, the owners Belgium Shepard Disney had just given birth to a litter of 7 puppies, and for the next 10 weeks each member of staff was asked to 'puppysit' for 1 hour during each shift, this enabled me to learn that basics when caring for puppies, including; weaning times, maintaining an ideal temperature and cleanliness as the mother was liable to eat the puppies excrement. Looking after the puppies and seeing them go happily to new homes has been an extremely rewarding aspect of this voluntary work.
Since I began work at the kennels I have learnt that looking after animals is hard work, particularly in the winter and that animal care is a full time occupation as animals don't have weekends or holidays. Working at the kennels has increased my confidence at being around dogs particularly breeds that have a bad reputation such as English and Staffordshire Bull Terriers. Not having dogs of my own, it has been a wonderful experience getting to experience of loyalty and love that dogs give to their owners and also staff at the kennels.