Inside the rescue saving dogs from inhumane conditions abroad
Raine McCaughtrie’s dog rescue service, Brighter Days Rescue, cares for dogs in the UK in need of good homes.
However, a large proportion is rescued from countries like Bulgaria and Spain, where there are even more stray dogs that need rescuing.
The 53-year-old said: “A lot of people ask us why we are rescuing dogs from abroad when there are stray dogs in the UK – but we have, we do and we will continue to rescue British dogs.
“But for dogs in UK shelters it’s like being in five-star hotels compared to abroad. There are many dogs in this country that deserve homes, but they are safe. You are not in danger of being killed in an inhuman way.”
Raine says certain countries are “cruel” to dogs, treating them “like vermin” and with a lack of respect.
However, others simply have larger numbers of stray animals, stating that “is a problem that people have caused and are not taking care of by having them neutered”.
Therefore, Brighter Days Rescue works with rescuers in countries with large numbers of stray animals, such as Spain and Bulgaria, and brings them to the Stafford Rescue.
Raine explained why she wanted to start kennels to rescue animals from abroad: “I helped a lady rescue dogs from Romania.
“The dogs came by and the people didn’t meet them first. Sometimes the adoptions didn’t work out and rescue workers had to call in nurses to take care of them.
“I thought it would be a good idea to take these dogs from rescue to rescue so people can meet them first and we can help them through the process.”
Sometimes adopting a dog without meeting it can lead to surprises, as she explained: “My friend rescued a dog from abroad. She thought he was the size of a cocker spaniel, but he was more the size of a horse!”
Now Raine had the idea of setting up a rescue, she just needed some help with setting it up.
“I heard there was a businessman who wants to do something similar in Penkridge – I went out and tracked him down and found Ed. It was nice to have someone who has the same dream as me,” she said.
Ed Briscoe funded the rescue, which Raine says “it cost him thousands,” adding, “We wouldn’t have had it without Ed.
“He comes to the kennels as often as he can and buys biscuits and cakes for the volunteers. He is such a kind, generous man.”
After a struggle to find land for the kennels, they were offered their current kennels by a Mrs. Miles.
And after four months of painting and cleaning the premises, volunteers got their first three dogs in June 2022 — who were adopted in less than five days.
The rescue has gone from strength to strength, with Brighter Days now having 67 dogs, most hailing from Spain and Bulgaria, to new homes.
People have traveled across the country to adopt dogs from rescue, including people from Plymouth, Dorset and Wales.
However, five of the adopters were very close to their homes.
Raine said: “A couple of volunteers rescued dogs from us. They fall in love with the dogs while taking care of them.”
Explaining her own lifelong passion for the animals, she added: “I grew up with 12 German Shepherd dogs, my mum and dad were completely obsessed with them.
“There are some things in life that you know you can help with – and I knew I could actually do something about it.
“I can’t save every single dog – this rescue can’t save every single dog – but we make a difference with the dogs we have. I enjoy every single moment of it, even at minus six degrees.”
The rescue relies on the hard work of its volunteers, like Amy Cashmore, who describes Raine as “just great with dogs.”
“She’s like a dog whisperer. I couldn’t do without volunteers like her,” she said.
Brighter Days is looking for more volunteers to take care of the dogs and tasks include walking and petting the dogs, waking them up in the morning and getting them ready for bed.
“Generally just giving love to the dogs,” Raine said.
Those over the age of 18 are encouraged to apply by emailing [email protected] or by calling 07899 287632.