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It’s a dog’s life for Caroline

New manager aims to revive fortunes of rescue centre


Caroline Johnson, new manager of the Animals’ Refuge at Wetheral with Duke.

A new manager at an animal rescue centre hopes to turn its fortunes around and engage more with the local community. Carol Johnson, 36, has moved from Kent for her new job as General manager at the Animals’ Refuge at Wetheral near Carlisle.

The animal behaviour counsellor and zoologist has a wide background in lecturing and animal welfare work. She also has previous experience managing a rescue centre, having run Wood Green, The Animal Charity in London.

Mrs Johnson said “I think the vision is to really get into the community, helping the community and the animals and owners through providing really good re-homing advice within the community.”

The Animals’ Refuge at Wetheral, near Carlisle, had to reduce staff numbers last year from 32 to 20 in an attempt to turn its finances around. The centre, which costs around ¬£800,000 a year to run, had operated at a loss for more than five years.

Mrs Johnson said that, as with any charity that does not receive Government funding, it would continue to rely on the support of volunteers and donors. She said “I think we’re in a good position to go forward into the community and our supporters.”

Re-homing at the centre, which looks after dogs, cats and horses, is going well. A total of 74 animals were re-homed in January and February this year, in comparison with 11 in the same time period in 2015.

Hundreds of animals are still in need of homes and the centre is running a new home-to-home service so that cats and dogs which are not suited to kennel life can go straight from one home to another.

Outgoing manager, David Jordan said it had been a privilege to be part of the charity’s journey. He added “Until you see every day the dogs, cats and horses who depend on charities like ourselves, it is easy to forget that a problem exists. The work of the Animals’ Refuge is important now as it ever has been and I am enormously pleased that we are now doing so much more work in the community to help and support animal owners. I am confident that Caroline’s extensive knowledge and skills will prove invaluable to the charity going forward and wish her every success. For the animals that rely on us, for however short or long a time, it is only the continued generosity, kindness and support of the community that enables the charity to succeed.”

Mrs Johnson is pictured above with Duke, a four or five year old lurcher who came to the refuge in December and is very friendly, is good with other dogs, though not cats and absolutely loves company.

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