Centre manager has helped to rehome 13,000 dogs in 25 years

Dogs Trust centre manager Susan Tonner has worked in animal welfare most of her life.

Dogs Trust: Susan Tonner is celebrating 25 years with the charity. Dogs Trust
Dogs Trust: Susan Tonner is celebrating 25 years with the charity.

A Dogs Trust centre manager is celebrating 25 years with the charity and having helped to find forever homes for more than 13,000 dogs.

Susan Tonner has worked in animal welfare most of her life and has ‘led the pack’ at the West Calder rehoming and adoption centre since 1995.

Her love for dogs started when she adopted her first rescue in Edinburgh, a Border Collie named Shep.

Over the years she has adopted 17 rescue dogs, with older canine residents holding a special place in her heart.

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Ms Tonner said: “I can’t believe it has been 25 years, it feels like yesterday when I first started at the centre. But although it might not feel that long, things have changed a lot in that time.

“When I first started there were three main kennels. We were taking in 250 puppies a year and up to 700 at its peak and that’s when we added a purpose-built puppy unit. 

“There has been a constant look at improving and providing the best facilities for dogs, and that is what I love about my job. 

“To look back and see everything you’ve achieved really the best thing about working for Dogs Trust – they always put the dog first.”

Amazing: Ms Tonner has rehomed more than 13,000 dogs during her 25 years at the centre.
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Reminiscing about her fondest memories at the centre, Ms Tonner said she always remembers the emotional moments.

She added: “I always come back to thinking about a pregnant cavalier called Lou. 

“When she gave birth I ended up having to catch the first puppy, as she was walking and that sort of set up the whole birth from there.

“Lou was lying on her back throughout, while we did all the work for her. 

“She was a lovely dog but was slightly put out by the puppies getting so much attention, that she wanted for herself, and I liked that about her.

“The best part of my job is always being able to find any and every dog its forever home.  

“It’s lovely to help the dogs, but also very rewarding to help people who may have to part with their beloved pet and make them feel reassured that we will love and care for their dog like they would.

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“It’s important that people feel they can bring their pet to us in their time of need and know we will care and do our utmost for their dog.”

As part of Ms Tonner’s 25th anniversary celebration, West Lothian MSP Angela Constance has lodged a motion with the Scottish Parliament to recognise her contribution and commitment to dog welfare, and to thank her for her continued good work especially at this challenging time.

The MSP said: “Dogs Trust at West Calder is well known and highly regarded locally, and this is in large part due to the contribution made by Susan.  

“I want to both congratulate and commend Susan for her 25 years of outstanding service to the welfare of animals and of course to the wider West Lothian community, and as her colleagues will testify, she still has a lot more to give.”

To support Dogs Trust, go to dogstrust.org.uk.

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