The home, which runs entirely on donations from the general public, was destroyed by a fire four years ago, and recently reopened its doors after undergoing a £2 million refurbishment. The brand new home now includes an adoption centre, housing kennel and play area for over 100 dogs.
Reds defender Chris Smalling visited the new site along with Foundation coach Tom Oldbury, to hand out old footballs, blankets and food to the dogs currently waiting and hoping to be adopted.
Manchester Dogs Home Manager Colin Balance said, “It’s been four years since the fire and it’s taken a long time for us to get here to this new build. It’s a fabulous building; it’s been paid for by the public who have fundraised for us and we are really grateful. That’s what we rely on more than anything else, donations of money, food, toys, anything really.”
Tom said, “On a match day I manage the ball assistants and I have a team of young people who collect the balls for the footballers. Rather than giving footballs to the players today we’ve decided to give all the popped footballs to the dogs that are waiting to be re-homed.”
He added, “For us to help out, whether it’s footballs, food, blankets, a couple of scarves, or even just a visit, it’s our way of giving something back from Manchester United Foundation to a project like this, which is crucial.”
Chris was given a tour of the new facilities and after playing with some of the dogs in their kennels he took a shine to Niko an Alaskan malamute, with whom he walked to the play area for a kick about.
Chris and his wife have two dogs themselves: Miley and Rueben, and speaking of his visit he said, “I think that dogs are just so loving; the fact that no matter what kind of day you’ve had, you can come home and they’re always so happy to see you. To just be able to go out for a walk with them; they’re always there no matter what.”
Colin concluded, “We service around 3,500 dogs a year so day-to-day workload is quite heavy. To have a Manchester United player visit it’s a big boost for the staff, and it’s great to know that there are people out there that really care, people like Chris.”
For more information or to donate to Manchester Dogs Home visit: http://www.dogshome.net/donate/