Dogs Trust Darlington re-opens after major redevelopment

Staff and canine residents at Darlington Rehoming Centre enjoyed a celebratory atmosphere today as the recently renovated centre was officially re-opened by Dogs Trust CEO, Owen Sharp, and the Mayor of Darlington, Councillor Cyndi Hughes.

A host of special guests joined the celebrations to mark the happy event to reveal the centre’s redevelopment, which has transformed the 28-year-old facilities into a world-class centre incorporating the latest advances in kennel design and dog welfare.

Over 18,000 dogs have been rescued, rehabilitated and rehomed at Darlington Rehoming Centre since it first opened its doors in May 1994. However, Dogs Trust has made significant advances in the design of Rehoming Centres since then, so whilst the Darlington facilities were functional, they were no longer suitable for the dogs coming into the charity’s care with many having behavioural problems and anxieties.

Thanks to a major two-phase redevelopment project, which began in June 2018 and was completed in February 2021, staff at the Darlington Centre will now be able to have an even greater impact on the lives of rescue dogs in the North East.

The centre now boasts:

  • A hydrotherapy pool and underwater treadmill – the only Dogs Trust Rehoming Centre in the country to have a hydrotherapy pool which is 8000L and heated. Physiotherapy and hydrotherapy have many benefits for the canine residents
  • 77 kennels – all with underfloor heating
  • Two new intake blocks – where dogs arrive and are assessed when they first come into Dogs Trust care
  • A STaR block – a dedicated Specialist Training and Rehabilitation block – one of only four Dogs Trust Rehoming Centres to have such a specialist facility. Here dogs are provided with a quiet, private space where specialist behavioural staff can work with them on an individual basis to overcome their anxieties and fears, helping them learn the skills needed to cope with everyday life in a loving forever home.
  • A fully equipped veterinary suite
  • Stimulating outdoor exercise areas with sand and water features and different play equipment and surfaces
  • A refurbished training barn – where Dog School runs weekly dog training classes and 121 sessions for local dog owners – helping dogs and owners build a lifelong bond based on positive reward-based training
  • Upgraded reception area, staff room and offices
  • Solar panels on the centre’s roof

Speaking at the re-opening event Owen Sharp said: “The expansion and redevelopment of Darlington Rehoming Centre will be invaluable in allowing us to rescue, rehabilitate and rehome more dogs in the North East, particularly dogs with behavioural issues, which is the number one reason dogs come into our care.

“We have already witnessed the difference the new kennel design; Specialist Training and Rehabilitation (STaR) block and hydrotherapy pool are making to the lives of our rescue dogs. It has been truly fantastic today to officially re-open the centre while saying thank you to all our dedicated staff and supporters who have made this day possible.”

Special thanks were given to the players of People’s Postcode Lottery for generously funding £900,000 towards rebuild costs, and to Petplan Charitable Trust and W G Harvey’s Discretionary Settlement for their kind support in funding new facilities at Darlington Rehoming Centre.

To see all the four-legged friends awaiting forever homes at Darlington Rehoming Centre click here.