News and impact
News & impact stories
The Battersea Academy hasn’t slowed down since its official launch in April, and in July we hosted our most internationally diverse programme to date, with delegates from Malawi, South Africa, Romania, India, Sri Lanka, Cyprus and Portugal in attendance for our flagship Intensive Rescue and Rehoming Programme.
The week was a fantastic success, with delegate feedback of 100% satisfaction for customer service and 95% for facilitation and content. Kari Scott, Director of All Creatures Malawi said, "Having the opportunity to attend the Academy has been most enlightening from many practical aspects as well as being inspirational."
When asked ‘would you recommend the Battersea Academy to other Rescue and Rehoming organisations?’ Tamsin Webb of Dogstar Foundation, Sri Lanka replied:
Yes – I think a lot of organisations would really benefit. Anyone running a shelter would learn so much on intake management to improve metrics and help more dogs.
We keep in touch with all our delegates to find out how they’re implementing their new knowledge back at home. Below are some examples of the types of changes rescues have made after coming on our intensive programme. We look forward to hearing about the long-term impact this has on the dogs and cats in their care.
North Clywd Animal Rescue – Intensive Dog Rescue & Rehoming Programme, January 2018
When North Clywd Animal Rescue (NCAR) attended the Academy in January 2018 they, like many rescues, were struggling with the level of intake at their centre. In the past, they always operated at full capacity, filling up the shelter with dogs from their waiting list. They had numerous long-stay dogs, who would be in their care for months or even years, as newer, more desirable dogs, caught the attention of customers.
After coming on the Academy, NCAR immediately recognised the potential benefits of implementing Shelter Metrics. On their return, they reduced the number of dogs at their site from over 100 to 75.
Lowering the occupancy level has had multiple benefits for the rescue; for staff, it has reduced the stress levels associated with caring for high numbers of dogs in kennels; for potential long-stay dogs, having less dogs around has brought them to the attention of customers, allowing them to be rehomed faster. NCAR have been able to reduce their length of stay from over a year in some cases to a few months or even weeks.
It has also opened up kennel space, making them better equipped to deal with emergencies; and allowed them to take in more varied breeds when they come through. This has improved rehoming rates and decreased the number of animals on the waiting list.
Overall it has helped our charity and we are grateful for Battersea's support. We would recommend anyone attending any programmes that the Academy put on, as they are brilliant and exactly what we need - people who have tried it, done it (sometimes failed at it but picked themselves up and made it work!)
So thank you Battersea!
Nicky Owen, Media Relations & Fundraising Manager, North Clwyd Animal Rescue
Bleakholt Animal Sanctuary – Intensive Dog Rescue & Rehoming Programme, February 2019
Bleakholt Animal Sanctuary has a very small intake unit, this means that some (fully vaccinated) dogs go straight into public kennels and are on view to potential customers during their 7 day assessment process. This was causing huge problems, as many potential adopters would arrive on the day a dog completed its assessment wishing to rehome it. Consequently, these dogs were being rehomed on a first come first served basis, not necessarily to the most suitable home. In addition, dates would sometimes get mixed up, resulting in a poor customer experience.
After attending the Rehoming Module as part of the Intensive Dog Rescue and Rehoming Programme, Bleakholt have introduced an application system to help manage this issue. Once a dog has been admitted and examined by a vet, an expression of interest can be made by customers looking to adopt. After seven days, if an application matches the dogs need, subject to a home visit, the dog can be rehomed to that customer.
This has resulted in a lower return rate, as dogs are matched to the home that most suits their requirements. It has also resulted in an improved customer experience, as often a more suitable dog is found for the customer if they are unsuccessful on their first application. The return rate has dropped by 3.6% YTD from 13.6 % in 2018 to 10% YTD in 2019.
Woodfield Foundation – Intensive Dog Rescue & Rehoming Programme, May 2019
The Woodfield Foundation are a small rescue in North Yorkshire dedicated to rescuing and rehabilitating dogs from Romania. They wanted to do more to prepare their dogs for life in a pet home, particularly through the winter when the weather is poor. As a result of coming on the programme, they have begun construction on a ‘home room,’ where dogs who have grown up on the street can receiving training in a home environment. Here they will teach dogs obedience skills and how to settle.
As with every rescue, keeping dogs calm and happy during their time in kennels can be challenge. Since coming on the programme, Woodfield have improved the enrichment they provide; this includes non-bowl feeding and the introduction of new enrichment toys and games. They have also introduced a formal ‘siesta time.’ During the busy hustle and bustle of a kennel day, it can be hard for some dogs to get the 17 hours of rest and sleep they need. ‘Siesta time’ gives the dogs a relaxing, lights down, music on, break during the day to chill out, which helps to reduce stress behaviours such as jumping up and vocalisation.