Much of our focus since 2015 has been our Mobile Clinic programme – spaying, neutering and vaccinating dogs in the Philippines, via a mobile pop up Veterinary Clinic. Through these clinics we realised the need for a more permanent base in which to treat dogs that needed a greater level of veterinary intervention than was possible during a single day clinic. For example cases where a short stay under IWCT care would mean a greater chance of recovery or even survival.
We were also seeing the increased need to rescue more stray dogs that we could then treat, rehabilitate and rehome. So in 2019 we set up a small Treatment Centre in Concepcion, close to where much of our Veterinary team are based.
We rented this Centre, which was a single storey building on a small plot of land, enabling us to care for a maximum of 20 dogs at any one time, but it was quite limited in its outdoor space. As a result, when we were left a generous legacy in 2021, the Trustees took the decision to buy a piece of land, upon which we could build our own new Treatment Centre.
The main Treatment Centre is a two storey building with a reception area, a fully equipped Operating Theatre, with preparation and recovery rooms, as well as awaiting room for owners to sit whilst their pets are in surgery. The top floor has accommodation for two kennelmates, other Centre staff and a room for Vets to stay overnight when needed. In the grounds behind the main building, we’ve built 8 fantastic new kennels, each with comfortable indoor space for sleeping and a spacious outdoor run. Each kennel has capacity for up to 6 dogs. The dogs have the opportunity to interact and play with each other, but also to rest and relax on their own if they prefer. We’ve also built a pair of stand alone Quarantine Kennels, which mirror the other kennels, but which are set away, allowing dogs that come into the Centre to isolate whilst we await tests for infectious diseases like Parvo and Distemper. This might seem like a luxury, but it’s vital in helping to protect the health of our resident dogs when any new dogs enter the site.
We have also built a small outbuilding for dog washing and grooming, as well as all food preparation and storage, located close to the kennels. One of the most exciting elements of our new Centre is the Enrichment Park, which is located at the back of the site, opposite the kennels and is intended as an area in which the dogs will spend a lot of their time playing, socialising and training. The Park is divided into 3 sections, each securely fenced but accessed by interconnecting gates. The largest section is the training area, with an astroturf base and temporary apparatus, allowing space for the dogs to run and for the kennelmates to run training exercises. The other two sections have more permanent apparatus for the dogs to play and socialise amongst, with climbing and water based activities, as well as areas for them to just chill out and sunbathe.
Whilst there is no shortage of dogs to be rescued in the Philippines, rehoming remains a huge challenge for us and is another reason why our Education Programme is such an important element of our work. We will have the space in our new Centre to run Education Seminars for school children and adult groups, which in turn we hope will allow us to attract more potential adopters to come and visit.
Speaking of Adoption, we are also hoping to restart our Adoption Days, both at the New Centre and alongside Mobile Clinics, which will continue in the provinces, encouraging Filipino people to consider adopting a dog from IWCT.
As well as the dogs that we hope to rehome, we have a few that will probably never find new homes, either because they are too old, like dear old Buddy, or because they have an ailment or affliction that needs additional veterinary care. We are proud to be able to offer a permanent home to a few of those special IWCT dogs at our Centre. For them, this new Centre is even more important.
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