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Battersea honours the bond between soldiers and dogs
Battersea Dogs & Cats Home today honoured the deep and long lasting bond between Britain’s soldiers and the dogs that work alongside them in war, by laying a wreath of poppies at the Animals in War memorial in Hyde Park, London.
- 09 November 2012
- Battersea Dogs & Cats Home
Battersea’s Director of Operations Nigel Yeo was joined by Battersea supporter and Chelsea Pensioner Douglas Hassal, 94, who is a distinguished World War Two veteran and former Japanese prisoner of war, together with Chihuahua Betty, an ex-Battersea dog.
Since its humble beginnings in 1860 in a stable yard in north London, Battersea has always made contributions to Britain’s war efforts, and in 1914 Battersea supplied a batch of canine recruits to Lieutenant Colonel E. H. Richardson, an expert police and military dog trainer. Today Battersea’s Working Dogs Unit works closely with the Armed Forces to help place rescue dogs, who would struggle in companion homes, in working roles such as sniffer dogs.
The two iconic institutions – Battersea Dogs & Cats Home and neighbouring Royal Hospital Chelsea – have had a long lasting relationship and dogs from the charity regularly visit the Hospital’s residents.
Battersea Director Nigel Yeo explained: “Battersea is well aware of the great debt we all owe to our soldiers, both serving and retired. That is why, as well as the dogs we supply each year to the Armed Forces, every month Battersea dogs, volunteers and staff, walk over Chelsea Bridge and visit our neighbours at the Royal Hospital Chelsea. We believe that when our dogs sit alongside an old soldier at the Royal Hospital, perhaps a man whose health is not what it was in years past, that that dog is supporting him in his daily struggles, just as much as our dogs who serve on the front line.”
Battersea believes that the values of loyalty, companionship and the unspoken bond between man and dog endure across the decades and generations and, at this special time of year, the Home will pause to remember all who have served.