Our Dog Community Hero: Anna Stansfield
Our Betty & Butch customers are at the heart of everything we do and so many of those in our dog community are absolute heroes. Over the years, we have been lucky enough to get to know plenty of you and love working with and supporting you all.
As part of our Chorlton store’s 10th year, we will be interviewing prominent customers about their journey with Betty & Butch to learn more about their own dog journey.
So many of our amazing customers do such inspiring charity work and we want to celebrate their efforts as our community heroes.
Our last community hero was Moe Kaur who you can read about on our community page. Our next community hero is Anna Stansfield, the Home Manager of Cheshire Dogs Home.
We asked her about her dog journey and what it's like being a member of the Betty & Butch family.
WHAT AGE DID YOU GET YOUR FIRST DOG AND WHAT WAS THEIR NAME?
I got my first family dog when I was 13 years of age after years of pestering my parents I was only allowed a hamster up until that point. His name was Pip a Parsons Jack Russell.
CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR WORK AT MANCHESTER AND CHESHIRE DOGS' HOME AND ITS HIGHLIGHTS?
I have been lucky enough to be the Home Manager of Cheshire Dogs Home for over 13 years.
Every day at work is different. My job role is very varied from managing my amazing staff who work extremely hard for the dogs in our care, dealing with our vet unit, Health and Safety of the home, office work, dealing with the public, organising fundraising events to having my hand down a drain to weeding - as well as problem solving anything that crops up at the dog’s home.
The best part of my day is dealing with the dogs, especially in the evenings when I get to say good night to them all with a bedtime treat. As soon as they see me head out of the back of reception with my bag of treats, the dogs’ home erupts with excitement. The staff sometimes get annoyed with me, as if I’ve timed it wrongly. Some of the dogs are still out for their bedtime toilet walks so they stop and start to pull back as they don’t want to miss out on their treats. Although this would never happen as I always wait for them.
My highlights have been many things over the years. Organising a couple's blessing/wedding at the dog's home. Seeing Molly and Holly, two cross Staffordshire Bull Terriers being adopted after over 2 years at the dog’s home. Being at Cheshire County show, knee-high in mud trying to fundraising. Somehow talking Kate and Teresa into dressing up as Dalmatians with a fundraising bucket and going on the ferris wheel. Kate is petrified of heights and all you could hear was a Dalmatian screaming then laughter erupting from the crowds.
I think the main highlights are the dogs themselves. Some of them come in appalling conditions and have so much mistrust because of how they’ve been treated. But then you see them being adopted months later, it's the most heartwarming experience.
OVER THE YEARS YOU HAVE ALSO DONE A LOT OF WORK IN THE COMMUNITY - AT SCHOOLS AND COLLEGES FOR EXAMPLE. HOW IMPORTANT IS THIS TO YOU?
I love the work we do in the community as I do think without the community we would not exist. From visiting nursing homes to being at university spending time with the students before they go into their final exams with our ex resident therapy dogs. Visiting schools talking to the students about looking after their pets through to being invited in as they’ve done fundraising for us putting so much effort into what they’ve done. Going to church and giving talks. Joining tea parties while talking about the dogs’ home.
YOUR WORK CAN ALSO BE VERY EMOTIONALLY DIFFICULT. HOW DO YOU COPE WITH THE CHALLENGES THAT YOU FACE?
Working at the dogs’ home is very much a rollercoaster of emotions. From the happy ever after story through to the frustrations of rescue.
I will never forget a group of five puppies that were brought into the dogs' home. They were found abandoned on the side of a road in a very small rabbit hutch. They were covered in fleas, faeces, soaked through wet from urine with many urine burns. The stench was horrendous, the staff spent hours caring for them, making them warm, giving them love with the vets caring for them. There was hope when they eventually came off their drips. They survived past the crucial 48 hours but sadly slowly one by one they deteriorated and we lost them all. I will never forget holding one of them in my hands, wishing them to live. The staff were in pieces afterwards.
We had a greyhound abandoned tied up to a tree at the dogs' home with the most horrific leg break in the winter. It was icy cold and we rushed the poor dog down to the emergency vets. He survived, passed the operation but sadly died of shock two days later. As you can imagine the heartbreak of situations like these are soul breaking for the staff.
I would like to say these are isolated issues but sadly over the years there have been many horrific things. Some are too bad to share. The staff at the dogs' home that go through these emotions are amazing. We are like a family that sticks together through all these difficulties.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR CURRENT DOG/DOGS
My eldest is Poppy. She is a Pomeranian cross German Spits. Unfortunately, Poppy was petrified when she came into the dogs' home as she had been badly treated. Her only line of defence was to bite at that time. Now Poppy is the most amazing dog. She is my little shadow that goes everywhere with me. She’s been part of the dogs' home ex resident display teams, going into universities, schools, displays at Crufts, Dog Fest and so on. She might be 13 years of age but she is very sprightly.
Betty, my Pomeranian cross, was born at the dogs' home with a deformed spine. Over the years she’s had to endured many operations. She’s had both femoral heads removed in her legs, she has osteo-arthritis and is epileptic but still going strong at 12 years old.
Primrose is my youngest dog. She is a Saint Bernard that was brought into the dogs' home at seven months old. She is now four years old and has legs and hips issues with ongoing ear problems. She has a very judgemental character, always looking down at me from her favourite position on the settee. She is fab, full of blubber, always into mischief and when she thinks she might be in trouble, as long as her head is hidden she feels you can’t see her. She is hilarious.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO YOU TO BE PART OF THE BETTY & BUTCH COMMUNITY?
It’s wonderful to be part of the Betty and Butch community. Especially seeing it grow as we have been there from the beginning.
DO YOU KNOW A GOOD DOG JOKE?
What happened when the dog went to the flea circus?
He stole the show!