For Jellybean’s 12 Days of Giving I joined the team at Celia Cross Greyhound Trust to help with all the great work they do and fully immerse myself in a doggy-filled day. Based just outside of Guildford, in acres of beautiful land, Celia’s was founded in 1977 and has been a registered charity since 1993. Celia’s Trust rescues and rehabilitates retired racing greyhounds and lurchers that have either been abounded or ill-treated; passionate about what they do, it offers a place of love and nurture, helping to lead (no pun intended!) to their forever homes.

Arriving in the rain, the first job of the day was to clean the kennels. Each four-legged friend had a roommate for company and as we mopped and washed the floors, folded and cosied the blankets, fluffed the pillows, we made sure each was as happy and settled as the last. This was my first chance to make their acquaintance, each having a unique personality of their own. The newest guests at the shelter had only arrived from Spain the previous day (Hola)! I learned that each dog is assessed over a two-week period in order to establish their induvial needs and requirements, these are the first steps to piecing their lives back together again. Sheltering from the rain, we sat down with a cup of tea and I got to listen to funny stories about some of the previous four-legged residents, but also found out the true reality that not all stories have a happy ending

Dogs come in different sizes and colours, some were made for fetching, some for herding sheep, but for greyhounds and lurchers running comes as naturally as breathing, and boy can they RUN. The next job of the day was taking a few of the dogs out to stretch their legs and have a quick run around in one of the fields backing onto to the kennels. As the gate opened, seizing freedom, their long muscular legs propelled them across the field in seconds. After a quick play we gave each pooch a personalised grooming session, which included a complementary cuddle from yours truly.

Sadly the day had to come to an end. Dogs are one of the most affectionate and loyal creatures and there was nothing more rewarding than being able to give some love and affection back to these kind-hearted animals, something that they have been starved of in their past. The work they do at Celia’s is amazing. The hardworking team transform the lives of these friendly dogs, they spoil them with the love they deserve, and their patience restores the faith that may once have been lost, helping to build a bright future for these gentle creatures. While I was were there, the cherry on top was one of the dogs had been rehomed, there is a Santa Paws after all!

To find out more about the great work Celia’s Trust do visit https://www.celiacross.co.uk/