Jenny Monroe speaks to Laura Phillips of Dogs Trust

Laura Phillips, 28, is a Canine Carer for the charity Dogs Trust which works with the Star each week in trying to rehome dogs.

Founded in 1891, Dogs Trust (formerly the National Canine Defence League) is the largest dog welfare charity in the UK. Its mission is to bring about the day when all dogs can enjoy a happy life, free from the threat of unnecessary destruction.

Laura has worked for the charity which has a centre in Ballymena for eight years but spent many of her teenage years also volunteering.

Most of the time I am in work for 8am but the Managers are in earlier than this to see to the dogs. When I arrive we will have a briefing and we will know if any of the dogs have been reserved for new owners - this is very important that we are all aware of what is going on.

Next I will go and tend to my block of kennels which has seven kennels. I will clean them inside and out and use a hatch system so the dogs aren’t disturbed too much. Then I will feed them and lift their dishes and let them out for a run around 10am. We try to let the dogs out as much as possible. We operate an early lunch as we are open to the public from 12noon - 4pm.

Each year all of our centres care for around 16,000 dogs in our nationwide network of 18 Rehoming Centres. No healthy dog is ever destroyed. We run subsidised neutering campaigns in areas of the UK with the most acute stray dog problems. Our Education Officers give thousands of classroom presentations every year and free teaching resources are made available to all schools in the UK.

The rehoming centre is a gateway to finding a new pet pooch. When you arrive at the centre you will be greeted in reception by a friendly face.

During this first visit we will take a few details from you so we know what you are looking for. You will be able to visit the dogs and we’ll advise you on how to find the right dog for your circumstance and that your circumstances will work for the dog too.

We would like you to get to know your chosen dog before you take him home so, if you have any other dogs or family members, you may need to bring them along for a further visit to ensure the whole family is happy with the decision.

The fee for rehoming a dog can vary between £80-100 depending on the centre, but every dog is vet checked, microchipped and neutered and has four weeks pet insurance from PetPlan as well as a very cool Dogs Trust lead and collar - so we think it’s a good deal.

So now you are ready to take your new pal home, just one more step which is a Pre-Adoption talk. This ensures you are aware of the responsibilities of dog ownership and reminds you that we are always here when you need us.

Coming up to Christmas we are trying to get the message across that a dog is for a lifetime not just for Christmas - this is a very important thing for people to realise.

I absolutely love my job. It is brilliant that I get paid to do something I absolutely love. It can be hard to see the dogs in the kennels but it is great to see them back to health and then re-homed. We even get updates and that is very satisfying.