South West German Shepherd Dog is in desperate need of foster carers to look after older dogs and those with ailments.
A Bideford-based charity which rescues dogs from across Europe is appealing for more people to provide foster homes.
South West German Shepherd Dog (SWGSD) Rescue formed around six years ago with one woman’s mission to ‘spread a little kindness’ to dogs in need.
But now Linda Lines, from Northam, is celebrating the fact SWGSD Rescue has just become a registered charity, and is appealing for more helpers to provide dog foster homes.
“I think a lot of people are put off by the name – but we don’t just rescue German Shepherds,” said Linda.
“We rescue dogs from across the UK, but also from countries like Spain and Romania, where we have found dogs in awful conditions.”
Some of the dogs rescued have been in dire conditions – one dog, Lobo has severe hip dysplasia which will one-day need an £8,000 operation; another, Chance, was found with a severe head wound.
The charity has also rescued dogs tied to trees so tightly they could not lie down, and one dog which had both its legs broken by a landmine and is now unable to walk properly.
Linda started SWGSD after working with other rescue charities – it started as looking after one dog and has grown from there.
In the first year, the charity rescued 32 dogs; jump forward to 2015, it rescued 167 dogs, and last year 218.
“We really are desperate for foster carers now, as we don’t like keeping dogs in kennels,” said Linda.
“Especially for older dogs or dogs with ailments; it’s just not the place for them to be.
“We will pay all expenses for the dog – vet bills, food, everything – we just want someone who can take them for walks, give them a home and show them some love.”
As well as fostering and re-homing dogs, the charity has also gifted dogs to families in need.
Linda said: “We’ve just sent a dog out to Guernsey to a family with a little boy who has leukaemia.
“He’s never been able to have a dog and we’ve donated the perfect dog to him and his family, so his dream of having a dog can come true.”
If you are interested in becoming a foster carer for a dog in need, visit southwestgsdrescue.org.uk or call 07495 700709.