THE founder of a Cumnock dog rescue service says she fears the coming months will see a rise in the number of dogs in its care.

Stabilising Omicron case numbers and the easing of some of the Covid restrictions that have been in place since Boxing Day have led to speculation that limits could be relaxed further, possibly leading to a return to offices for some people who have been based at home.

And Lorraine Jardine from Islay Dog Rescue says she thinks that will mean the group being asked to look after more and more pets as people decide they can no longer look after dogs bought during lockdown.

Lorraine said: “We’ve already had a lot of phone calls about people asking if we can help out with dogs that have been bought throughout lockdown.

“The problem is that people are going back to their offices, the puppies have grown up, and now people don’t know what to do.

“I expect that we’ll get a lot more cases like this over the next few weeks and months, depending on what happens with lockdown.”

Lorraine says the rescue centre, at Glen Islay farm, is also “desperately short” of people who can foster a dog in the short term while the search goes on for the animal’s forever home.

The centre also has a selection of dogs that have been brought over from Romania and aren’t used to domestic life – something which is proving to be challenging for the centre team.

Lorraine continued: “We have these dogs that have come over from Romania and they’ve got no idea how to behave with a normal family because it’s just something they’ve never been used to.

“There is an issue with people bringing dogs over from Romania. People bring them over and then if anything goes wrong then you get left with it.

“We only work with people that we know and trust when bringing dogs over from Romania.

“We have dogs that come over to our kennels and from there they are assessed.

“It’s taken us weeks to even be able to get these dogs in our case used to walking with a lead and things like that.

“We what we also do is that if, at any point, that dog has to come back to us at any point that we will definitely take it.

“We’ve got dogs here that are like rabbits in the headlights because they’re used to nothing, so that provides us with a challenge, but it’s one we can manage.

“We’re really short on foster carers for the dogs. There will be financial cost because we provide and things like that. We just need people to give them some of their time and get them used to every day things.”

Islay Dog Rescue was also awarded a £12,000 grant as part of a new partnership with Battersea Dogs Home.

Although they are extremely grateful for the support, Lorraine admits that the centre needs more volunteer help, and cash, to keep going.

“The grant has been fabulous,” she said, “but when you calculate the costs of food, bills, electricity and other stuff, it doesn’t stretch that far.

“We really do need to get more fundraising efforts done and we are still always on the lookout for volunteers, which you can find out more about on the Facebook page.”

Contact Lorraine on 07876 561545 or check out islay to find out more information.