You might remember Chris from series one of The Dog House. As one of our Dog Rehomers and a Team Leader in our kennels, Chris meets almost every dog that we look after!
Before he started working at Wood Green seven years ago, he was working at his local garden centre. One day, a stray dog wandered in: “he was in a bit of a sorry state and I was really concerned about what had happened to him. When the dog warden arrived, I asked her where the dog would go and she said Wood Green.”
Chris was so shocked by the stray’s condition that he wanted to do something to help, so he applied to volunteer at Wood Green. “I would help clean the kennels and walk the dogs. I learned so much about the work involved at Wood Green but I wanted to learn even more, so I applied for a weekend job as a dog carer which turned into a full-time role and I’m now a Team Leader.”
So much more than walkies
Chris’ job is more than just walking the dogs and giving them lots of fuss! As one of our team leaders, he oversees the rehoming journey of each dog that comes to Wood Green.
First, he completes a detailed assessment to identify the dog’s behavioural and training needs. Then he creates an individual plan for each dog to get them ready for a new home. For example, if they’re particularly nervous the next steps might be improving their confidence, or he may need to build a plan to socialise a dog with other animals or humans.
It takes time to build their trust and learn their likes and dislikes: “I will spend lots of one-to-one time with the dog on their training, providing them with things like activity feeders and toys to keep them mentally stimulated, playing, and walking them. We use our expert knowledge to support that dog on their journey with us, which gives them the best start in their new home.”
The emotional ups and downs
There are plenty of challenges Chris has to face, from the emotional impact of seeing a dog come through the doors with injuries, to learning about the trauma they’ve been through. “We sometimes see dogs who have been severely mistreated and have had their world turned upside down. Because of this, they might be very distrusting of humans.
It can be really upsetting to see injured and mistreated dogs come to Wood Green, especially when it takes longer to help them recover from whatever they’ve been through. I’m glad I can help make a difference to each individual dog by forming a relationship with them and being part of their journey.”
Chris and his team work closely with Wood Green’s Pet Advisors to look at the dog’s needs and try to match them to new owners based on the assessments Chris and the team complete. “We’re constantly talking to make sure we can find the perfect home for that dog and the right owner who will be able to continue with their training.”
And finding the right match?
“That’s a feeling that will never get old. It helps reinforce why we’re here and how we make a difference to the dogs we take in. It’s great when you hear from a new owner a few months in, and see pictures of the dog sprawled on the sofa or happily racing around.”
Explore more from Wood Green
Help us find more pets forever homes
More and more of the pets who arrive at Wood Green need urgent medical care or extra support and training before they're ready for a new home. Like Curly Kale, found abandoned with an unusual deformity.
More stories of the dogs we help
Behind every pet and match on Channel Four's The Dog House, there's a story of care, support and help. Explore the stories behind our four-legged stars. Oh, and all about the human rock stars who bring them back to their old selves.