Love, Hope and Charity, Winning the War for Animals & Natural Health Service

Taken from Lynne’s weekly column ‘Green Scene’ for the Western Mail. 21st October 2017 Leaf_Para_DividerLove, Hope and Charity

There is no doubt that Yogi is a very lucky dog (and of course I am lucky to have her).  Like many adored hounds, she has a big basket of toys, a rack of collars, more shampoo than I have, a never-empty tin of treats and a loyal following of well wishers. 

And you can see just how proud of her new bandana she is!

But not every dog is so lucky. 

In 2005, shocked by a particularly horrific greyhound story in the media and learning about the amount of stray dogs in the UK, Vanessa Waddon founded Hope Rescue.

Ever since, she has been working hard to improve the welfare of dogs irrespective of their breed, age or medical condition. The majority of the dogs they help are stray dogs from Local Authority pounds, who would otherwise be destroyed after completing their statutory 7 days in the pound.  They commit to take all the stray dogs from three Local Authorities in South Wales – Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council, Torfaen County Borough Council and Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council. Hope Rescue also takes in dogs from owners who can no longer care for them and have a wonderful ‘foster’ scheme available.

The rescue centre is based in Llanharan, and currently has about 40 dogs in residence with another 18 in foster homes.  They also have a fabulous Charity Chop, in Taff Street, Pontypridd, which after its recent refurbishment is affectionately known as the ‘poshest shop in Ponty’.  

Just 8 weeks ago, they opened a dog friendly cafe at the shop where you can enjoy a drink and a snack with your dogs, with treats and biscuits for your furry friend too.

Upstairs in the shop is a training room, which is used by tutors and experienced crafters to teach others to make hand-crafted items to sell in the shop and raise much needed funds for our dogs. It is wonderfully sustainable and social.

Vanessa told me, ‘We make knitted dog coats, dog bandanas, knitted children’s toys, dog beds and collars and leads. However, we are open to any craft skills that can be used to produce items we can sell – doggy or otherwise! The time commitment involved can be anything from delivering a one-off workshop or short course to a regular weekly commitment to host a formal or informal session.”

Sounds like an ideal source of Christmas presents to me, for our four legged friends and owners alike! 

As a small and independent registered charity Hope Rescue relies on the support of volunteers and donations and they are always grateful for help with a wide variety of aspects.

Currently they are looking for people and/or contractors who could help to create an all weather path through the woods that they use to exercise the dogs in Llanharan.  If you think you may be able to help in any way, please email or call 01443 226659

Winning the War for Animals

There can be no greater connection between man and dog than in the midst of war.  Afghanistan is an unforgiving land to live in – not only for humans but animals too.  There are many cats, dogs and donkeys on the streets of Afghanistan, often abused, always battling to survive.  It is no surprise that they often cross the path of the military with many soldiers feel compassion for these helpless souls and bonding with and adopting them.

The charity, NOWZAD, was started by Royal Marine Colour Sergeant Pen Farthing ten years ago and endeavors to “win the war for animals’.  It has united over 900 Military personnel with the dogs or cats that they befriended on the front line and more recently have set up an animal shelter in Kabul. There they have an education programme and catch, neuter and release the street cats and dogs. They have also started to take in the working donkeys that have been abandoned through sickness and an inability to work.  The shelter in Kabul is home to over 100 dogs 30 cats and currently five donkeys, with new arrivals coming to the clinic daily.

Regional representative, Sian Lloyd is organising a Coffee Morning at St. Mary’s Church, Monmouth on Sat 25th October 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. There will be lots of wonderful crafts, tombola and scrummy cakes with all proceeds to Nowzad. For further information about the event call 01873 890532 or the Charity at

Natural Health Service

You can also help your dog, and other pets, by planting specific plants and herbs in the garden.  Zoopharmacognosy is the practise of animals self medicating in the wild. In their natural habitat they are able to choose the plants they need to maintain good health or correct ill health. I loved the time I spent with founder Caroline Ingraham learning the ropes, and about the all-important secondary metabolites in plants! It is a fascinating subject and people are always intrigued at the talks I give about it.

I have planted many areas in different gardens specifically with pets in mind, and have been thrilled to see dogs lie in rosemary to relax, cats enjoying rolling in nepeta (the cousin of catnip), and even one old Lab with respiratory problems, choose Lungwort to self medicate with. At home, I even leave an area in the veggie patch to grow chickweed, which is particularly beneficial for my hens! As Hippocrates said, “Nature is the best physician.”

Find out more at

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