For the love of Battersea

Millions of animal lovers have been tuning in to ITV1’s Paul O’Grady: For the Love of Dogs to follow the fortunes of the canine residents at Battersea Dogs & Cats Home.

Having experienced the heartbreak of losing his faithful sidekick Buster in 2009, entertainer Paul O’Grady is no stranger to the sad side of animal life. But, as he says of the programme, ‘People think it’s all doom and gloom but it’s not. Battersea is a magical place.’

Over seven weeks, he highlights the amazing work that goes in to handling 500 dogs and 120 cats across three sites – and while the show can be tear-jerking at times, Paul uses his own brand of humour to demonstrate how human and canine spirits can pull together to triumph.

As well as exploring the ‘Cinderella stories’ (as he calls them) of down-on-their-luck dogs, Paul shows that he isn’t afraid to get stuck in by scrubbing kennels, hand-rearing puppies, assisting vets during surgical procedures and even helping train a few dogs to perform at Crufts.

In the most recent episode, Paul looked after stubborn Staffie Marcel during an outing to meet the Chelsea Pensioners as part of Battersea’s commitment to provide comfort and companionship to the army veterans. Marcel has since found a new home after melting the hearts of a London couple.

Battersea has been rescuing lost and unwanted dogs since 1860 and cats since 1883 – making it one of the oldest animal rescue centres in the UK.

The home prides itself not just on rescuing and reuniting lost pets but also in educating owners to create a more pet-friendly and responsible environment for dogs and cats. Earlier this year, a successful scheme funded by the Greater London Authority saw Battersea staff teaching responsible dog ownership to young offenders – a scheme that is set to continue.

Petplan is proud to work with Battersea by providing 4 weeks’ free pet insurance for every dog or cat it rehomes, giving veterinary fees cover for those first precious weeks in an adopted animal’s new home. Battersea also receives 10% from Petplan for any new policies it generates, and for each year a policy is renewed. This money is used to help fund the home’s invaluable work.

Watch Paul O’Grady: For the Love of Dogs on ITV1, Mondays at 8pm. For more information on Battersea, call the team on 020 7622 3626.

Photo: Ray Tang/Rex Features