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Dog social area gives paws a thought

PUBLISHED: 19:15 20 April 2004 | UPDATED: 04:47 02 March 2010

IT'S a place where dogs can pause for thought and where their paws have been thought about.

For Felixstowe Blue Cross is the proud owner of a new socialising area where dogs can relax and get used to being with other dogs, but also let their feet get to grips with a range of different surfaces.

IT'S a place where dogs can pause for thought and where their paws have been thought about.

For Felixstowe Blue Cross is the proud owner of a new socialising area where dogs can relax and get used to being with other dogs, but also let their feet get to grips with a range of different surfaces.

The area has been designed to help the homeless animals that arrive at the adoption centre which may never have been walked or need to be trained.

Dogs looked after by the staff at the centre in Walton High Street come from a variety of backgrounds and situations.

Animal behaviour advisor Clare Williamson said: "If a dog has not been walked before, then going from concrete to grass or shingle can be quite a scary experience for them.

"This new area will allow them to get used to different surfaces in a safe environment and enable them to gain confidence."

The area was created after an appeal for donations and materials. A number of local companies and organisations responded, and as well as materials more than £1,300 was donated - some of which will be spent on dog agility equipment.

The landscaped socialising area has taken five months to build on a previously derelict area overrun with weeds and old rubbish. It now features grass, shingle, bark, paving stones and water, and tyres, for the dogs to explore, and seating.

The Enterprise Programme from Otley, a group for students with learning difficulties which has successfully completed several projects in the area, carried out the work.

Blue Cross deputy manager Laura Holland-Astell said: "Some of the dogs do get very stressed when they are in their kennels, but they relax as soon as we bring them into this new area.

"Like children, the more situations they can be exposed to will give them confidence, make them less fearful and help them develop to become better dogs. Socialising with other dogs is extremely important."

The area, which was officially opened by mayor of Felixstowe Doreen Savage, will also be used to allow prospective owners to meet the dogs in a secure and natural environment.


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