NEW £7.2million kennels for abandoned dogs are nearing completion after a ten-year fundraising effort.
The Essex branch of charity the Dogs’ Trust is set to open in June.
Set in 13 acres of former farmland, everything in the grounds has been designed to be low stress for the animals, and train them to be perfect pets.
The charity will be able to house about 120 dogs at any one time, and hopes to rehome 1,000 dogs a year.
Paul Wass, project surveyor, said: “It’s all about bringing in what would be scared and unhappy animals to an environment where they can settle down and get used to people.
“It’s a very relaxed environment.”
The eco-friendly building will be solar powered, and has been fitted with underfloor heating.
Lights will be controlled by the amount of daylight coming into the building.
Each kennel is a pet palace, with glass front walls to see into the reception, and half of the floor is heated and half is cold so every dog can choose where to lie down, depending on their mood.
The site in Nevendon Road, Wickford, includes a dedicated building to welcome, dogs so they are not stressed being around other dogs, and a special animal behaviour room with its own viewing gallery, so the public can see the dogs in training.
When it comes to play, the dogs have a choice of sand or Astroturf to run around in. The grounds also include 3km of footpaths to walk dogs.
Landscaped areas will give the appearance that nearby woodlands have been extended.
About 700 residents have already registered an interest in volunteering, while the centre hopes to have 50 or 60 regular volunteers.
An education officer will be one of 33 staff employed with the charity and it will be their job to reach out across the county with advice for dog owners.
Mr Wass added: “There’s a known problem with stray dogs in the area.
“There are already centres here, but they are at maximum capacity. If we can help with that to get dogs into homes that is great, because this is a community effort.
“Now we are coming into Essex we can share our knowledge. We have a vast amount of behavioural experience and we will be able to share that with kennels or dog owners.
“I am very excited about completing this project on time and on budget. It will be to the highest standard and quality. It’s been an enjoyable project to work on.”
For information about the Dogs’ Trust, including recruitment opportunities, visit www.dogstrust.org.uk