'If I hear that a dog is surplus to requirements, I just go and get it; She's welcomed more than 200 lost and unwanted dogs into her home and thinks nothing of taking 19 at a time away on holiday. Abbie Wightwick meets the dog lover who turned her house into a sanctuary for unwanted or unloved pooches.
Over the past 15 years Wendy, 67, has taken in more than 200 unwanted dogs, with a maximum of 19 under her roof at one time.
She walks them together twice a day and even takes them on holiday - an annual treat they all look forward to, she says.
But life wasn't always so good for the pack, some of whom were starved, left to die, locked up, stolen or abandoned.
But for Wendy, these needy animals have become so much a part of her life she has no regrets about spending her time and money on them.
Last year the mother of two turned her sanctuary into an official charity, naming it Kim's Home, after one of the first dogs she took in, a bassett cross named Kim.
"Dog's are very loving, they are my life," Wendy explains.
"I particularly love older dogs and hate to see them dumped."
Her two grown-up children no longer live at home but adore dogs too, so are happy to visit and help out - even if it does mean sharing sofa space with a snoozing canine or six.
Over the years Wendy has rescued dogs from unimaginable cruelty and neglect, reunited lost and stolen pooches with their overjoyed owners and forged contacts with dog sanctuaries across the UK.
"It's no use weeping, you have to do something," she says, recounting tales of terrible cruelty.
"When I started this 15 years ago I had no idea what was going on.
"I didn't know about dog fighting and greyhound racing.
"It all started when we got a dog for my son."
Seeing the pet, a Bassett cross pup, was lonely, Wendy got it a companion and quickly made friends in dog walking circles.
Through them she heard stories of neglect and was persuaded to visit a gypsy site in Cardiff where she bought a Saluki, or Persian Greyhound, for PS50.
Worried about how some dogs were being sold on and mistreated, she made friends in the travelling communities of Cardiff and Bristol and asked them to alert her to any more dogs they knew of in trouble.
Soon she was helping to find homes for unwanted animals from all over the UK.
"One of my friends got a job as a dog warden," she recalls.
"Whenever she gave me sob stories I'd go down to the pound and bring a dog home. It all just evolved over the years.
"If I hear a dog is surplus to requirements, I just go and get it.
"The most I've had in the house at one time is 19 and over the years I've saved around 200."
Wendy, who used to work at Coleg Glan Hafren (now Cardiff and Vale College), has spent so much on her charges over the years she's had to downsize her house and moved from Penylan to the Splott area of Cardiff.
But every sacrifice has been worth it, she insists, even in the early days when she would spend PS1,200 a week getting dogs out of harm and into safety.
She recently travelled as far as Durham to rescue one of two dogs she's currently fostering, adding them to her permanent pack of 15.
Well known in dog rescue circles, Wendy is contacted nearly every day by people asking her to take in homeless animals.
"I've had people as far as the north east of England asking if I can take any of the dogs in the stray pound.
"All the dogs here with me now have been here between 14 years and one month a dndi and of course they caWendyspeakscand of cruelty she has enher dogs in a Card woman ran towards jured puppy that had umped. an stay," didly about the cases ncountered. Walking diff park one day, a her clutching an inad been attacked and ad h twt Others have come organised crime such ing and racing and against animal cruelt"There's no point w just have to do somet"I get so crosswhen to her through more as dog fighting, huntshe also campaigns ty abroad.
weeping about it. You thing.
n people say they'd like to help but can't."
friends need a walk, nto her van and heads ions.
When her 16 canine Wendy packs them in off to different locati"It's a flurry of leapicker," she laughs. e nioatin ads, balls and a poo Having so many pet away tricky, she admiWhen Wendy's son USA later this year shts does make getting its.
n marries in the he's flying out one h day, attending the wedding the next and flying back while her daughter holds the fort for three days.
But she can take the dogs on holiday thanks to Little Dumpledale Farm, a holiday farm in Sardis, Pembrokeshire, which welcomes four-legged friends.
"We do go on holiday, yes. I have taken 19 dogs on holiday in the past, all going to Little Dumpledale Farm together.
"The dogs get really excited as they can sense when we're going on holiday.
"It's so lovely seeing them run happily down the beach."
| See www.kimshome.org.uk DOGS' TALES A dog-walking friend told Wendy a lurcher was living rough on an industrial site near Cardiff.
When she arrived she found a female lurcher who was so terrified of people she couldn't be caught.
To gain her trust, Wendy went every day for three months to feed her.
Eventually the dog took food from Wendy's hand but still couldn't be caught.
Things got urgent when the rescuer noticed it was pregnant and limping so she called in her friend, local dog catcher and rescuer Ray Dedicoat.
Despite an emergency Caesarean, all the pups were stillborn.
Emma, as Wendy named the dog, is now three.
Among her friends are Laurie, a nine-month old who was abandoned in Durham.
He was emaciated with skin problems and wounds when Wendy took him in.
When he's better she'll start looking for a home for him.
Meanwhile, he can spend time with Grace, who came to Wendy permanently four years ago.
She had been cruelly treated and starved and was on the point of death when she arrived, unable to stand.
"She wasn't expected to live but I told her that she could at least die in the warm," says Wendy.
"Gradually Grace recovered and became the lovely, lively, cheeky girl she is today.
"She is beautiful inside and out."
| Wendy Jordan has cared for more than 200 dogs in the last 15 years. She now cares for 14 dogs and fosters two others PICTURES: Peter Bolter (c)
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|Publication:||South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)|
|Date:||Jul 2, 2013|
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