Battersea Dogs and Cats Home

I recently did a feature for the People’s Friend about Battersea Dog and Cats Home to tie in with  ITV1’s series, Paul Grady: For the Love of Dogs.  The feature comes out in People’s Friend on October 20th, but in the meantime here are some of the rather lovely pictures that were taken by a friend who went with me.  Thank you, Peter.


One of the saddest statistics, at least for me, was that 37% of all the dogs in Battersea are Staffie Crosses. This is Jacob who was at the time of my visit, Battersea’s longest serving resident!

I have a Staffie Cross called Rosie. Here she is.

Rosie is an ASBO dog – she doesn’t like other dogs. She was brought up by a man who thought it would be fun to teach her to fight. Now, despite consulting various experts  she has to be walked separately on a lead from my other dogs and preferably when there is no one else around.

I wrote this poem for Rosie and all the other ASBO dogs and owners out there who have to go out before dawn if they want a peaceful walk.

 ASBO Dogs

 There’s an underworld of dogs,

they come out before the dawn,

when the city streets are dark still,

and there’s frost on every lawn.

They’re the growlers and the snappers,

and the ones that start the fights.

They haul their owners round

beneath the avenues of lights.

They tread in endless circles,

and they don’t come face to face.

Wearing harnesses and muzzles

in some endless pre-dawn race.

There’s an underworld of dogs,

called the monsters and the pests.

The biters and the fighters;

they can’t mix with all the rest.

Their owners are pariahs, they

side-step each other madly.

A wave across a football pitch

’cause dogs behaving badly!

Their owners are the saviours,

And the only ones to go

To the last chance sanctuaries,

where the dogs are on death row.

There’s an underworld of owners,

who gave up an easy ride,

for the hassle of an ASBO dog,

snip-snapping by their side

There’s an underworld of dogs,

who’d never chase another ball.

Without an underworld of owners,

they would never live at all.

© Della Galton, 2012


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13 Responses to Battersea Dogs and Cats Home

  1. Gail Crane says:

    Thank goodness for Battersea Dogs Home and the people who are willing to give these dogs a home. After all, it’s not the dogs’ fault they are ASBOs. We belong to the the RSPCA and are constantly shocked and saddened by their stories of neglect and cruelty. Rosie is gorgeous and I love your poem. It says it all.

  2. Susan Jones says:

    Hi Della, look forward to your article, I have People’s Friend every week. Lovely poem and Rosie must adore you.

  3. Della Galton says:

    Thanks Susan, hope you enjoy it. She’s just waiting for her dinner – she just came to remind me, so I’d better go and feed her 🙂

  4. Caroline Storer says:

    Lovely post Della. Like you, I’ve had and currently got staffie crosses. They are so loyal and loving. Not sure if I could have gone to Battersea though – I would have ended up trying to get all the dogs to come home with me! Caroline x p.s will look out for your article in PF. p.p.s Rosie looks such a sweetie!

    • Della Galton says:

      I’m amazed I didn’t bring a dog back. I went to Greece once and brought one back from there – my beautiful Lindy, who I wrote a book about, ‘The Dog with Nine Lives’
      Would have been a lot cheaper to bring back a pile of dogs from Battersea 🙂

  5. Alice says:

    I love your poem – Rosie is very lucky to have you and I can see how much you get back from her too. It’s just so saddening that people treat their animals like this – it makes me really angry.

  6. Danny says:

    We now are both retired after a life of working both shift work and a long time in the army,
    We moved to the countryside here in france and after buying an old house and doing it up we gave homes to 4 rescue dogs.
    All these dogs had a hell of a life before we found them and im amazed any one of them wanted to know human company (they really didn’t have any reason to after the cruel ways each had been treated)
    But everyone of them has turned out to be really loving animals.

    I feel they know what they’d left behind and just want to please and be loved.
    They are all different and all have they’re little ways.
    Anyone who has any idea what im trying to say will understand what i mean when i say “I’d much sooner have animals as a friend than a lot of humans ive got to know during my life time.
    All they want is food/love and sometimes a lot of understanding, they’ll pay you back 100 times if you can try to give them a nice life.

    If we ever win the lotto, Its our dream to have the very best for ever home for as many animals as we can care for with all the needed help that these animals need,
    And the name of such a countryside place? No going back.

    • Della Galton says:

      Hear hear. Thank you for posting 🙂

      • Danny says:

        Im not one to take part in forums or any such thing And im aware that some people do like to hear or read their own offerings knowing it upsets the likes of myself,
        But just for those people who have said daft things such as all dogs should be dead dogs etc !!!!!

        Ive just one thought for such people And its this,
        You should always try to put the shoe in life of the other foot,

        If you should become “BLIND” and you need a pair of eyes to make your life worth living or if your hearing decided not to hear anymore or if you should have a child that due to no fault of its own couldn’t communicate with the world of humans !!!! but the touch of an animal makes this childs life better!!!!

        Then im sure you’d be the first to thank your four legged friend that he/she was part of your life ??
        or are you walking bare footed in your life and you’ve no need to wear any shoes?????

  7. Danny says:

    Hi Della,
    Now as i said im a very “shall we say” always kept in the back ground when it came to school photo’s and due to a hard childhood in an area not that far away from Paul O’grady’s birth place in Birkenhead,
    I lived in a slum area of wallasey called Secombe.
    Im sure Paul knows the place and im also sure we both visited the same stomping grounds as we made our way through the growing up stage of life in the 1960’s
    I bought my first Ben sherman shirt in birkenhead and paraded down “WETSTONE Lane” feeling like a million pound and looking like a bag of rags. “days long gone”

    But just because you never had a fantastic education didnt mean you didnt learn the street wise ways of life and the real meaning of animal love,
    We did have a street dog called Prince,
    A street dog for those who dont know what im talking about !!!!
    Well its a dog that isnt owned by any one family, the street feeds it and the dog’s one of the gang,
    It’s always waiting for the first kid to come down the street from school,
    The dog that joins in in all the games,
    It could be a goal post one day and tied to the street moaners door letter box while we kids knock hell out of the door and run for our lives
    Prince wanted to run away with us “but the rope kept that door shut” long enough for us kids to be well away.
    Della, Ive enclosed a short what i call real life short story for you to consider for the blogg you have.

    Have a read and if you feel its showing the rescue side of life and the fear of the dumped animal???
    Then ive not wasted my time writing it,
    I wrote under the name of DANIEL SEAMINGWAY, but never had the nerv to send any of the poems etc to be read by publishing people (blogg in DANIEL SEAMINGWAY POEMS) if you want to see more
    (try TUPPERWEAR BOX WITHOUT A LID) I think you’d like a change from animal sad poems and this one will do the trick.
    Ive done over 100 over the years and about all subjects of life.
    Thanks for reading this “Now” here is the poem.

    Dont be cruel.
    Rain wind, the darkness of night,
    2-30AM and im in a Salford back alley-way
    Looking for a sight.

    Police sirens are echoing as they rush by.
    And back alleys always seem to have piles of brocken glass on the cobbled ground,
    Ive never really understood why !!!!!!!

    Its gone quiet and this will be of a help to me,
    Im listening for a sound or a sight of my victim !!!
    “Come on, come to me.

    A flash of my torch and then turn it off.
    But no luck so far,
    I’ll just have another quick cough.
    No sight or sound just this rain pouring down.

    I know your here.
    I know your there and im not leaving till i get you !!!
    No life isn’t fair.

    Dog droppings old tesco trolly and a dirty old mattress
    All dumped and that old cardbourd box thats just moved !!!!
    and it’s not because of the wind.

    This is the time to remember my training and what not to do.

    It might not be my victim but a rat or two !!!

    Should i kick the box or use my mesh mitten gloves ??? I’ll be ready in second or two.

    One more flash of my torch and the use of my net
    His cries and his look of shear fear
    I’ll never get use to and always re-gret.

    A short walk and the kittens put into a cage,
    He’ll “he’ll get fed tonight and a nice warm bed
    But there’s so many strays he’s only got so many days.

    Why oh why people can be so cruel.
    I see this sort of thing just about every night and day,
    But thats my job.
    I work for the RSPCA.

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