An animal welfare initiative, Wild at Heart Foundation shares the same animal-loving principles as Egerton House Hotel. Set up by Nikki Tibbles and Nadine Kayser three years ago, the organisation is committed to caring for and reducing the estimated 600 million stray dogs worldwide through rescue operations, education and neutering programmes. Here, Alicia Wiltshire, Rehoming and Operations Manager at Wild at Heart, explains more about the charity’s projects and how hotel guests can support this worthwhile cause.
How did the idea for Wild at Heart Foundation come about?
“Wild at Heart Foundation was founded in 2015 when Nadine Kayser and Nikki Tibbles both adopted a dog from the same litter in Romania and quickly became friends. The dogs were rescued by a young woman, a Romanian trainee vet called Anca (@anca_miki) who rescues and fosters dogs as well as neutering strays. After adopting their dogs, Nadine and Nikki met up in London and discussed plans to set up a charity that focuses on animal welfare. Within six months the charity was set up, with their first goal to compassionately reduce the world’s 600 million stray dog population by running rehoming, neutering and education programmes. Their aim by 2025 is to rehome 10,000 dogs, neuter 100,000 dogs and educate 1,000,000 children.”
What do you consider to be Wild at Heart Foundation’s biggest achievement to date?
“In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, abandonment, lack of spaying and neutering, and backyard breeding have led to a huge overpopulation crisis with more than 500 dogs being euthanised each day. Partnering with the incredible Humane Society and Vidas, we neutered over 6,000 dogs in just two weeks, preventing more than 500,000 unwanted puppies being born into a life of misery. We are hoping to neuter 20,000 animals in total, which will make a huge difference to the lives of both the people and dogs of Puerto Rico.”
What projects are Wild at Heart Foundation currently working on?“Wild at Heart Foundation currently supports projects in South Africa, Swaziland, Borneo, Hong Kong, Romania, Thailand, Greece, Cyprus, Moldova, Portugal and the UK. Education is key. We are teaching children to be kind and compassionate and to know how to treat animals. We are continually running spay and neuter projects including the purchase of a mobile neutering clinic in Romania to tackle their estimated 4 million stray dog population. We have also been working closely with IAPWA to help improve the lives of dogs in Borneo, vaccinating and neutering 200 dogs a month and educating 100 children.”
Where are the majority of your dogs rescued from and what does the rescue process entail?
“There are a huge number of reasons a dog would end up in a pound or shelter. Many of the dogs we rehome are found on the streets as strays or surrendered by their owners. Unwanted litters of puppies are constantly being dumped or abandoned when owners are reluctant to spay or neuter their dogs, highlighting the importance of our education initiatives. You can read more about our dogs for adoption and their individual stories here.”
Can you tell us a bit about how the dog adoption process works?“Our adoption process follows three main stages. Firstly, individuals must complete an online adoption form which registers your official interest in a dog, and also logs your details into our database. This is followed up by a home check via Skype, which is a fairly informal but rigorous process and ensures that the dog will be going to a great home. Following a successful home check, we will send you an adoption contract which details the terms and conditions of adopting a dog via the foundation. From that point on, the process usually takes about four to six weeks to arrange the transport to the UK. All dogs will have a pet passport and microchip, and all their vaccines, worming and health checks. If they are old enough, they will also have been neutered.”
How can guests at Red Carnation Hotels support Wild at Heart Foundation?
“The more money we can raise, the more dogs we can help and any donation makes a difference. It costs £25 to neuter a dog, which can prevent the birth of 68,000 unwanted puppies from being born in four years. You can make a donation here. Guests can also support Wild at Heart Foundation by purchasing one of our fair-trade sweatshirts or china mugs of which 100 per cent of the proceeds help save lives. We are always on the lookout for fosters and volunteers; you can find out more here. “
Complete with a resident Pet Concierge, four-legged guests at Egerton House Hotel are exceptionally well-looked after.
All images courtesy of Wild At Heart Foundation.