It was an attack on her own life that gave Debra Rothery the motivation and opportunity to dedicate her life to helping greyhounds.
Whilst recovering from a major incident, Deb, as she prefers to be known, discovered the dreadful plight that most racing dogs face when their careers are over and decided to open a rescue centre.
Tia, the name of her first dog, was started in 1996. It became an independent charity in 2004, and is dedicated to the rescuing and rehoming of greyhounds and other animals in need.
In 20 years around 4,000 dogs have been rehomed and at any one time they have up to 100 greyhounds.
Based in West Yorkshire up until last year, the move to a 70 acre farm in Finningley in 2015 has given Tia Rescue a permanent forever home.
But it’s not just dogs which the charity helps, marketing manager Steph Metcalf explains: “Our much needed work has been extended to the rescue and care of Shire horses and we are one of only four approved Shire horse visitor centres in the UK.
“These gentle giants of the horse world are reducing in numbers as machinery has taken over the jobs that these magnificent animals would have carried out many years ago.
“We have over 30 horses and are very lucky to have a foal – Tom – a star attraction at Tia.”
The site benefits from a cafe and visitor centre, used to educate those who visit about the work that is carried out in caring for the animals.
There is also a 20 acre field available to hire, suitable for numerous types of public events including dog and horse shows, dog agility competitions and flyball. Caravanning and camping is also available.
There is also a play area for children and picnic benches in the six-acre orchard. Children’s birthday parties can also be catered for and can include some hand’s on pony grooming.
Steph continued: “Not only do we have dogs and horses we also have a growing number of other animals that, one way or another, have found their way to Tia, such as donkeys, goats, chickens and turkeys.
“Let’s not forget Claude, the British giant rabbit. He may be recognised from his star performance sitting on the sofa for a TV ad for a certain car buying company.”
As Tia rescue is self-funded, staff and volunteers are constantly coming up with new ideas to gather in cash to bolster their six charity shops which are spread across Yorkshire. The next big fundraiser is on Sunday August 28 when dogs of all shapes and sizes will descend on Tia Rescue as they attempt to break the world record for ‘number of dogs in one place wearing bandanas’.
Steph said: “The record is currently held in Australia and stands at 764 and Tia are hoping that with the help of supporters and dog owners nationwide they can ensure the record comes to England.”
Tia couldn’t do everything without the help of its volunteers, there are dog walkers and helpers, some on a regular basis and others as and when then can.
Owner Deb said: “It’s been a long journey to get to here and the support we have is amazing. At the heart of everything we do is the welfare of these beautiful dogs and horses and all the other animals, most of which have come to us because they are unwanted or can no longer be cared for and some arrive in a bad state.
“We’re still on a journey and have more to do – soon we plan to have more kennels to be able to home up to 200 dogs at a time.
“We’d love to see more families coming to visit us over the summer holidays to enjoy seeing these lovable animals.”
Tia Rescue is situated at Mill Race Farm on Wroot Road and is open between 8.30am-4.30pm (the cafe is open until 2.30pm) and there is free entry and parking.
For more information about the charity visit the website http://www.tia-rescue.org/; telephone 01302 772935 (office) or 07974 960684 (10am till 5pm for non emergencies); or email firstname.lastname@example.org (admin),
email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org (sponsorship).