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Treats, long walks in the woods and plenty of presents - celebrating Christmas at the Blue Cross

PUBLISHED: 11:00 25 December 2019

Pets in care at the Blue Cross over Christmas love some special treats. Susie Winship with one of the dogs waiting for its forever home Picture: HELEN YATES

Pets in care at the Blue Cross over Christmas love some special treats. Susie Winship with one of the dogs waiting for its forever home Picture: HELEN YATES

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Every dog - and cat - has its day. And at the Suffolk rehoming centre of the Blue Cross, that's Christmas Day.

Every dog has its day - a walk in the woods on Christmas Day is a special treat for this pet Picture: HELEN YATESEvery dog has its day - a walk in the woods on Christmas Day is a special treat for this pet Picture: HELEN YATES

With the charity's centre at Wherstead closed to the public, the team get to spend the whole day with the pets in their care, and they make a real fuss of them.

They hand out presents donated by members of the public to the pets, take the dogs out on long walks through the woods, and of course give lots of treats to all.

Over Christmas there's usually around 35 dogs and cats on site waiting for new homes to be cared for.

The team will feed them their breakfast, open presents and take the dogs out on a long walk.

Blue Cross staff work tirlessly to find forever homes for the pets in their care. Picture: HELEN YATESBlue Cross staff work tirlessly to find forever homes for the pets in their care. Picture: HELEN YATES

Animal welfare assistant Susie Winship has worked the last six Christmas Days at the centre on Bourne Hill and is on duty this year, too.

Susie, who lives with cats and dogs she fosters, said: "Many pets will be calling Blue Cross their home this Christmas so we are their family while they are with us.

"I love working at Blue Cross any day of the year but Christmas Day is especially wonderful.

"The cattery and kennels are all decorated and in the run-up to the big day we always get lots of presents dropped in for the animals from kind supporters.

Presents are a big part of Christmas Day at Blue Cross Wherstead Picture: HELEN YATESPresents are a big part of Christmas Day at Blue Cross Wherstead Picture: HELEN YATES

"It's a lovely way to spend Christmas Day, caring for beautiful cats, dogs and sometimes even kittens and it makes me happy to think they are all somewhere safe, warm and cared for on this special day."

Jack Mote, who has worked for Blue Cross for 11 years, said: "I like to work at Christmas because it's wonderful to really enjoy that with the animals we have in at the centre.

"It's heartbreaking that these pets have to spend Christmas without a family to call their own, so we make a real effort to ensure all the pets in our care get to enjoy Christmas just like any other pet.

"All the animals get their own stocking which 'Santa Paws' fills with presents and goodies for them and it's just so fantastic to spend the day with the pets in our care - whether that be on a group dog walk, playing with all their new toys, tucking into some tasty treats, or having a cuddle in the warm! It's definitely my favourite day of the year."

Blue Cross at Wherstead always has some cats and dogs in its kennels at Christmas. Picture: HELEN YATESBlue Cross at Wherstead always has some cats and dogs in its kennels at Christmas. Picture: HELEN YATES

Blue Cross also provides a pet bereavement support service, with support over phone or email even available on Christmas Day itself for those who are grieving the loss of a pet. More details of the service can be found here.

Clare Williamson, Blue Cross Suffolk centre manager, also be working on Christmas Day, said: "The team here really get into the festive spirit and make sure all the pets are well fed and fussed.

"We try to make the day full of loving moments for all the pets in our care and it's great to have the support of the community who bring in treats and gifts for the animals - we couldn't do what we do without their continued support."

This December Blue Cross is seeking donations to help its teams give moments that matter to pets this Christmas. Click here to donate the Blue Cross appeal.

The Blue Cross at Wherstead likes to make the big day really special Picture: HELEN YATESThe Blue Cross at Wherstead likes to make the big day really special Picture: HELEN YATES

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