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New sensory garden for dogs opens at Scottish SPCA rescue centre

Kim, Kevin and John in garden

The Scottish SPCA has unveiled a new sensory garden for dogs at its Dunbartonshire Animal Rescue and Rehoming Centre.

The garden, which has been created and built by Scottish SPCA volunteer John Hislop during the pandemic, has been designed to incorporate as many different sensory experiences for the dogs as possible including a safe, quiet space for them to relax in.

John built the garden with the support of staff members and other volunteers at the centre in Milton. For the Scotland’s animal welfare charity, where many of the dogs in care require significant rehabilitative work, a sensory garden can increase the chances of rehoming a dog successfully and quickly.

dogs enjoy the sensory garden

Kim Mackrell, assistant manager of the centre, said: “We work with a lot of dogs who may have been treated cruelly or just never had a chance to experience things a typical dog would. The positive impact a short period of time spent in the sensory garden can have on these dogs is incredible. Along with walks, the sensory garden will give dogs a break from the kennel.

“John really was the driving force behind the sensory garden. The minute he saw the area, which used to be overgrown and run down, he made it his mission to create a space the dogs could enjoy.

“John has been volunteering with us for just over a year and has dedicated the last six months to creating the garden. He worked four or five days a week until it was finished. We really cannot thank him enough for his incredible work. The dogs enjoying the garden will show him just how valuable his contribution has been.

Molly in garden

“We also need to say a massive thank you to Forrester’s Finances who gave us an incredible donation towards the garden. Some of the team also volunteered and helped to create the space.

“And a huge thanks also to the members of the local community who were incredibly generous with time and funds. They wished to remain anonymous but we want them to know how much we appreciate their support.”

The sensory garden is the fourth of its kind to be opened by the Scottish SPCA. The charity also has gardens at its animal rescue and rehoming centres in Glasgow, Lanarkshire and Aberdeenshire.

The Scottish SPCA’s centre in Dunbartonshire has cared for 370 dogs in 2020 so far.




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