Earlier this year we received a request from Brian da Cal (Volunteer Manager) at Battersea Dogs & Cats home for some Wild Flower Turf for a sensory garden they were creating for the dogs. The garden was to be named “Mary’s Garden” after Battersea Dogs & Cats Home founder Mary Tealby. Everyone is familiar with the work that this registered charity performs for mostly unloved or abandoned pets in London, and this new project really caught our eye.
Battersea Dogs & Cats home is enclosed by three railway lines, most of the land being covered by buildings and concrete with no green spaces or ‘soft’ areas in which to exercise the dogs. Whilst it is quite close to Battersea Park where most dogs from the home are able to play and relax when out for their daily walk, there was nowhere nice for those dogs that were unwell and therefore couldn’t go the park?
Dogs with Kennel Cough for example, (a harsh, dry cough, often accompanied by fever, retching, sneezing, snorting, gagging or vomiting and which lasts from 10-20 days) are not allowed to go to the park and in the past have been dependant on anything that could be created on site for them – so the creation of Mary’s Garden is the perfect solution.
The aims of the garden were threefold:
- provide a mentally stimulating environment for dogs that cannot go off-site, with areas where they will be able to sniff, explore, search out treats and occasionally run off-lead on a soft surface;
- provide a relaxing area for volunteers and staff and a place in which they can escape from the concrete surroundings and work with the dogs; and
- provide a natural enclosure that supports a variety of wildlife-friendly vegetation to encourage insects and birds into the environment.
Brian tells us that the results have been very positive so far, “The welfare of the dogs in our care has improved, they are now as happy and relaxed as we can make them and they have multiple opportunities to behave naturally – they have grass, sand, bark, a tunnel, plants and more. Relaxed dogs, in good spirits, have a better chance of recovering quickly, than sad or stressed ones, and of settling back into the rehoming kennels once they have recovered. Calmer dogs are also easier and safer for volunteers and staff to work with and walk.”
We are understandably very pleased with the area where our Wild Flower Turf was laid as just part of this lovely garden. The beauty being that it is not just for the dogs, staff and volunteers but also for wildlife in the city that now has new habitat and food source in this small corner of the urban jungle.
Brian also very kindly sent us some photo’s of the garden before it was transformed and what it looks like now. Pretty stunning eh?