Wow, what a year it has been for us here at Basset Rescue Network. We've seen our team more than double in size, we've put on more events than ever, and we've rehomed more dogs than ever as well!
We thought that we'd like to share with you some of the highlights of this year with you, and our hopes for 2017, so grab the last of the Christmas choccies and read on.....
We adopted 58 dogs this year! (and I think we may have snuck one or two more into the last week since we totalled it up!) plus we have had our busiest December ever, 10 dogs in, with 17 in foster throughout the Christmas period. As ever, we need to say a massive thank you to our Foster team, who are just simply amazing at opening up their homes at short notice to accommodate a hound in need. Also, we must say thank you to our team of transporters and home checkers, we couldn't do what we do without you.
We've welcomed Gillan, Gareth, Demi and Dawn onto our admin team, and they have been such a wonderful support to us. We were at breaking point at the beginning of the year, it was becoming too much for us to do on our own, and our health, jobs and families were all suffering. It's been wonderful to have the load lightened and have others so dedicated to join us.
January started with our very own Gareth doing an New Year's Day swim in the North Sea! What a way to kick the year off!
We were so proud when troubled hound Navi was successfully rehomed after a very successful rehabilitation at the Birkett-Smith Animal Sanctuary. I think all of us at one time or another feared she would never find her forever home, but we ate our words, and she's still doing very well!
The biggest news of the year was this:
On March 31st WE BECAME A REGISTERED CHARITY!!!
After months and months of real hard work, finally we got the letter to say we had done it!! It had been our aim from the start so we were slightly hysterical when the email came through! Thank you so much to Colette Colman for all her advice, you were a real help. Becoming a charity has opened doors for us, in particular, Gift Aid, which we are now able to claim.
Claire and Paul Hodgson, our wonderful foster family on the Wirral did a Chainrunner event for us in March, which was amazing! They really pulled out all the stops for us!
Gillian started her fabulous take-over of the carboot sales of Oxfordshire - thank you to her and all of you who helped and attended.
Lisa and Paul Hudson, another one of our foster families, held their South East basset camp in a very wet April, but we did have a wonderful walk on the Cuckoo Trail, and a lovely cup of tea afterwards! However even the very camp hardy Mr Wayne gave up, and Lisa and Paul had to get a tractor to help them get their tractor out of the mud! Thank you so much to Lisa and Paul for arranging that.
Betty arrived in foster, who has a heart condition. You opened your heart to her and donated to her cause, she now has a lovely little fund waiting for her for when she requires treatment. We are pleased to say she's having a lovely life in Somerset, living with Deborah and Julian, and at the moment she's is doing really well.
We went NATIONAL this year - in May we did our first event at the National Pet Show in London ExCel centre, we went along with our lovely friend Genny and her beautiful basset Cassie, we had a really brilliant day! The bassets all loved being petted all day, they were the stars of the day!
Our fit friends Sue Black and Siobhan Martin did two fantastic Tough Mudders for us! Thank you so much for putting yourselves through that!
We went to Wales for the South Wales Dog and Family Fun Day, sadly it wasn't as good as previous years, but we made the best of it and had a lot of laughs. We did meet some lovely people, and also caught up with some other rescues to chat with. Pus, we also tried out our new pink gazebo, you couldn't fail to spot us!
Gareth completed a bike ride in aid of Betty's Fund, and Sam and Gillian went to Bridgend, represented us at the Action Petz Celebrating Rescues event.
Sam S and Louise travelled to Yorkshire for Barry's End of Chemotherapy party in June, which was a long day but so worth it! We met friends for life, had a stunning pub lunch, sitting in the sunshine. Demi had done a wonderful job of organising a great day.
The Wirral Waddlers held their Annual Summer Barbecue in the Basset Hound Pub and had a wonderful day! The weather stayed dry and everyone really enjoyed themselves. Big thank you to Claire for organising.
Jill Herbert and Susan Matthews did the very scary Spartan Run for us! We were in awe! They had to do some incredibly daring obstacles...and came up trumps! Thank you, ladies!
Paula once again opened up her house and garden for us in Oxfordshire to have a wonderful Garden Party and waddle. This time she provide gorgeous jacket potatoes with chilli or beans, plus loads of cake! She also sold some of her home made preserves and chutneys, her beetroot relish is a wonder in itself! Thank you Paula, for your generosity.
Benita organised a waddle and an afternoon in her garden with her Back to Benita's event. Thank you, Benita, much fun was had by all!
We had a day of madness and mayhem with our Basset Olympics in Wiltshire! Our amazing friend Debbie Green opened her garden to us for this event and it was a wonderful day! The weather was lovely, the bassets all had a wonderful time running off steam in Debbie's garden. The events were chaotic, but hey, are you surprised? We did have lots of laughs, and lots of cake! Thank you Debbie.
Martin Puddifer ran a half marathon for us! We watched his training come on, and in the end he raised over £500 for us! Fabulous! We hear he may be planning another...so watch this space!
Jill and Gillian did the Wolf Run...one dressed as a basset hound and one as a fairy!! They certainly raised eyebrows, although at the end of it, they were both as brown as each other, covered in mud!! Thank you, ladies.
Louise and Sam, together with Dave and John Llewellyn, went to the Pembrey Dogs Day Out event in September. This was a fun day, with lots of other rescues and animal professionals to chat with. We even got to meet the actual John Burns, the vet who made the original Burns dog food! He was a really lovely gentleman, and came around each stall at the end to say thank you in person. What a lovely gesture.
Our very own Nelson, who was adopted with his brother, Tibs, by the lovely Alan and Gill Dawes needed an operation on his ear, which wasn't covered by his insurance. We organised an online auction, people doanted and ran events such as pub quizzes and betewwn us all, we raised all the money needed for him to have his surgery, a complete ear canal removal. As a result, Nelson is so much happier, and is back to full health. We were really humbled by the way our supporters rallied around, we are always amazed at their generosity.
Demi organised our very first Howl-o-We'en event in October, in Leeds, which was a runaway success! Lots of dogs in lots of costumes having a good time with their owners. Thank you to all who attended and donated.
Whilst the party was going on in Leeds, we were in Newport doing the not so fun AGM. Thank you for all who attended or sent apologies.
In November, not only did we go National again, but we also hobnobbed with celebrities! We were asked to do the National Pet Show again, this time in the NEC in Birmingham. Ollie was chosen to have his photo taken with the very special Supervet, Noel Fitzpatrick, whilst on the Sunday, Michaela Strachan wanted her photo taken with all the dogs! They were on their best behaviour, and were just a little bit starstruck! We really love doing these events, not only are we proudly showing off our wonderful breed, but we are raising the profile of rescue, which is our passion. Lots of people stopped to chat and sat with us and the dogs. Thank you to everyone who helped at this event.
We had our annual Christmas Party, this time in Northampton! This was organised by the gorgeous Debbie Smith and her fabulous team of party organisers! What an amazing time we had, a wonderful buffet, music provided by our lovely DJ, Darren Mason, Santa was there, giving presents to the dogs and children, our raffle was the biggest yet, we had merchandise stalls and luck dips, it was amazing! Over 80 dogs in one room, and they were so well behaved! Musical Mats once again was the highlight, Sam gets better every year! Thank you to all who attended, helped, bought, donated or supported.
Sadly, Demi and Simon lost Barry, the basset who had bravely battled cancer. However, in true spirit, people came together for him one last time, by arranging local waddles in his memory, on December 10th. It was a lovely thought, and one which made Demi truly happy. Thank you if you waddled in his memory.
And so we end the year as we began, with Gareth greasing his body and getting his mankini out of the wardrobe, tomorrow he is doing another New Year's Day Dip! Completely bonkers, but we wouldn't expect anything less from our boy! Follow the link below to his Just Giving page if you have a few pennies to spare, we'll post photos of him soon!
Gareth's Just Giving Page
We also had some sad news this year of some of our dogs who went to Rainbow Bridge. Special thoughts for Harley, Piglet, Otto, Dylan and Gertrude. Have fun at the bridge, houndies. Thank you to all of our adopters and long term fosterers who opened their homes to these special basset hounds.
Thank you to all of the waddling groups who waddle around the country on wet weekends and donate to us!
Special thanks this year go to Joy Keys of the Birkett-Smith Animal Sanctuary, for her wonderful support with our trickiest cases. Jeff Slough, the web man, who truly has to put up with my lack of brain cells in anything technological, how anything gets put on the website still amazes me! Also for his great help with designing the logo, we love it! Thank you to all who designed a christmas card for us this year, in particular Sam Bellamy, Jeff Slough and Claire Crawford. Can you do another one for next year please? (only slightly joking!) Last but certainly not least, Pam Whitrod, of PR Print Promotions, who prints our lovely cards and other merchandise, thank you!!
Apologies if I have left anyone out, its been a busy year to keep track, but please let me know and I'll add you in!
So, all that's left for me to say is "Happy New Year" to you all! Thank you for your tremendous support this year, you are our backbone, and we really and truly value all the help and support you give us. We look forward to catching up with lots of you again this year.
We wish you all a healthy and happy 2017.
Sam M, Sam S, Louise, Gillian, Gareth, Demi and Dawn