Battersea Dogs Home can be a great place to take kids that love pets. But it can also be very emotional to see all the dogs and cats waiting to find a new home, desperately trying to grab your attention.
South West London is a child-friendly-area with plenty of family activities like visiting the Battersea Children’s Zoo, going cycling in Battersea Park and visiting Kew and its Children’s Garden. If your kids love animals as much as ours do, stopping by Battersea Dogs Home for a visit is very tempting, but it’s important to keep a few things in mind:
- There is a small entrance fee
- You can walk along the pens
- The animals are well cared for
- It can get really loud with dogs barking trying to get attention.
- There are signs with a description of each dog and cat with a bit about their background
- There is not much room for interaction with the dogs or cats as you need to stay outside of the pens (unless you actually intend to adopt)
All in all, we enjoy visiting Battersea because the staff is so great and the animals are so well cared for, but it can also be quite sad to see all the dogs and cats in need of a home.
Changing with the times
Battersea Dogs Home’s Royal Patronage
In 1883 the shelter began taking in cats and in 1885 Queen Victoria became Patron of the Home which has remained under Royal Patronage ever since. Famously fond of her royal corgis, Queen Elizabeth became Patron in 1956 and visited both in 1991 and 2015 staying closely connected to Battersea through her love of dogs. Prince Michael of Kent is the current President and also the proud owner of a Battersea dog, a black Labrador. In 2017 The Dutchess of Cornwall became the new Royal Patron, a big animal-lover and supporter of rescue dogs for many years.
We were thrilled to welcome The Duchess of Cornwall to our Old Windsor centre today as she was announced as our new Royal Patron. pic.twitter.com/hcRs18pjOc— Battersea (@Battersea_) February 1, 2017
The animal shelter receives no public funding and instead relies on private donations for its survival. Happily, generous donations over the years have allowed this shelter to not only survive but to thrive and grow which has been a crucial part of their success in meeting the ever-increasing need for their services.
The shelter has been the focus of a great deal of media attention over the years. The BBC filmed several documentary series about the shelter and ITV’s series Paul O’Grady: For the Love of Dogs has been filming at Battersea since 2012.
Who let the dogs out?
One of the most popular media events arose around a resident dog named Red the Lurcher. It appeared that the dog was very intelligent and actually learned how to escape his cage at night! This in itself is quite remarkable, but Red went a bit further, breaking several of his canine friends out of their cages as well :-)
At the beginning of March 2020 with the onset of COVID-19 and the lockdown, Google search volume for “buy a dog” started to increase rapidly with twice as many searching for how to get a dog compared to the previous period. Here you can see the trend plotted up until the beginning of June 2020:
Battersea Dogs Home confirmed in a statement that adoptions were up by 25% compared to the same period in 2019. While enjoying the company of a pet can be a great stress-relief for loneliness during the lockdown, many experts warned against adopting an animal as a short-term measure, not thinking about the consequences when going back to work later again.
The Battersea Dogs Home website is also a great place for kids to learn about the individual stories of the dogs and cats in their care and the experiences they had. Whether you’re planning to adopt or not, browsing through the big list of dogs and cats available for adoption makes you reflect on how big of a responsibility it really is to care for an animal.
Battersea Dogs Home does great work and is a powerful champion for the pets of London. If you would like to show your support, you can make a donation here: https://donate.battersea.org.uk/