Butcher’s employees have been volunteering at different dogs charities across the country as part of His Majesty The King’s Big Help Out programme! In early May, a team of volunteers visited #NourishEveryDog charities, Thornberry Animal Sanctuary and Blue Cross Bromsgrove rehoming centre to lend a hand for #TheBigHelpOut. Find out what they got up to!

woman strokes a rescue dog

#TheBigHelpOut Day 1: Blue Cross Rehoming Centre, Bromsgrove

At sunny Bromsgrove, the team were tasked with giving the agility equipment a glow up! After a bit of sanding and a lick of paint, the agility equipment looked fantastic and the four-legged residents were keen to try it out! The volunteers also got stuck in cleaning the kennels before some socialisation with some of the dogs currently at the centre.

Currently the Blue Cross are experiencing an increased number of pets, particularly large dogs, who are staying for longer due to complex behaviours which has implications for rehoming. Especially dogs who were puppies during the lockdowns as they did not get to socialise as freely in those key early developmental stages. 

In the afternoon, the team flexed their muscles to move some slabs ready for installation in the centre’s sensory garden. An area specially made to help kickstart the rescue dog’s senses with different areas of enrichment. Finally, the team had a some chill out time in the cattery. Having a sit and a chat with some nervous felines is beneficial socialisation with new people. Just hearing a calm voice and smelling a new person can help them get used to interaction ready for rehoming.

Butcher’s has been supporting Blue Cross with donations of wet dog food to their Pet Food Bank Network, we have sent 55,368 nourishing meals for dogs so far! Blue Cross currently have 13 Pet Food Banks and 54 Blue Cross donation sites and  Pets at Home’s donation bins which go out to local food banks, currently in 213 stores. 

Agility Equipment: Before, after and during testing!

agility equipment before and after

team of volunteers at Thornberry animal sanctuary

#TheBigHelpOut Day 2: Thornberry Animal Sanctuary, Sheffield

The team were tasked with a diverse range of activities. In the morning the team helped sort through donations for the Thornberry on-site charity shop, sizing clothes and putting them on rails. After a delicious lunch at the café (highly recommend if you’re in the area!), the team helped get some rescue chickens ready for their new home! Helping them safely into their transport and cleaning out their enclosure ready for the next resident.

Then onto dog walking, each volunteer was paired up with a lovely dog for a walk in the sunshine. Each of these dogs is patiently waiting for a new home but were all an absolute delight, taking in the sights and smells of the afternoon!

On average it costs Thornberry around £1000 to look after a dog until it finds it’s ‘fur-ever’ home. This takes into consideration animal care staff, veterinary treatment, food and shelter. However, some dog’s vet bills alone have exceeded £3,000. The team finished up their day by decorating the centre with bunting and flags for the upcoming coronation celebrations at the centre that weekend.

Thornberry’s motto is ‘for the neglected we care’, but like many other animal charities they have seen around a 200% increase in pet relinquishments since the pandemic. They have homed over 20,000 animals since their inception 35 years ago, and hope to rehome and support so many more. They are currently celebrating their anniversary with a #raise35forthornberry campaign where they are asking people to raise £35 each over the year. Whether that’s a one off donation or by via a range of fundraising ideas and challenges you can find on their website to get you inspired. You can also find upcoming events, volunteering opportunities, fundraising ideas and dogs for adoption on their website.

volunteer walks a dog

Give volunteering a try!

#TheBigHelpOut day may be over, but there are always volunteering opportunities available in every area of the country. Like the sound of Butcher’s big help out day and want to give it a go? Have a look online to find your closest animal rescue centre and pop them an email to see if there is an available opportunity that would suit you.

Many dog rescues are dependent on the help of volunteers to help look after the animals in their care. Thornberry alone rehome around 150 dogs a year but expect to be on for a record year as they see more and more dogs needing rescuing and rehoming.

“It was a real privilege to spend #TheBigHelpOut day at Thornberry Animal Sanctuary, helping their dedicated team with a range of tasks, from dog walking to sorting charity shop stock. I loved every minute! It was really rewarding to see the difference we made and I loved the hands on time with their gorgeous animals who are waiting for a new home. I would recommend volunteering at an animal rescue near you to any animal lover!”

Sarah Dixon, Butcher’s Dog Food’s Digital Marketing Manager and Volunteer

Help us to #NourishEveryDog

Comment #NourishEveryDog on social media to help us keep supporting dog charities. For every use of the hashtag, we’ll donate a meal to a dog in need and we’ll be one step closer to our goal of 3 million meals!



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