Animal ambulance call after dog’s miracle recovery

The Doghouse Sanctuary Banbridge has launched an urgent appeal for an animal ambulance after helping a rescue dog recover from horrific injuries.

Gillian McFadden and Heather Wills with Roxie © Edward Byrne Photography INBL1516-217EB

The Sanctuary’s Gillian McFadden said the incident was a perfect example of the need for the animal ambulance.

She told how they were asked to collect a Staffordshire Bull Terrier cross, called Roxie, which had been hit by two cars and dragged along the road in Belfast. The dog suffered horrific injuries, having almost 80 staples in her wounds.

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Gillian commented: “We had to drive to Belfast to get this dog. The vet who treated her, Ian Millar, the Head Vet at Earlswood Veterinary Hospital said he contacted us based on our reputation. Thankfully the dog is now recovering well.

The local sanctuary is the first port of call for many in their time of need, including organisations such as the PSNI or the USPCA.

Due to the nature of their work, the Doghouse Sanctuary staff often find themselves called to collect injured or abandoned animals at all hours, and Gillian explained that often her own vehicle is left covered in blood or is messed, leaving her with the expense of having her vehicle cleaned.

Gillian said: “We’ve had dogs that have had wounds which were open and seeping. Putting a dog in the boot of a car is not the best way to transport an injured dog.”

The Sanctuary has launched a JustGiving page, with £833.50 currently having been raised towards their £5,000 target.

Meanwhile, a boxing tournament will be held on Friday 15 May in the Belmont Hotel, in aid of the animal ambulance fund.

Explaining the need for the animal ambulance, Gillian said: “We are getting lots of calls from people for us to take dogs. After hours there is no dog warden, whilst the police and USPCA give our number to people who call about dogs.

“There is no cover after teatime, so anything that is abandoned or injured, we get called.

“We’ve seen dogs tied to roundabouts, fence posts, or if they know someone is an animal lover they might abandon the dog in that person’s garden hoping they will take care of it.

“We see animals injured and it’s up to us to go and get them. You’ll get blood all over the car or vomiting or diarrhoea if the dog isn’t used to travelling, or is stressed. That leaves us having to clean the vehicle, which is our own personal car.

“JustGiving ask for a target and £5,000 is a realistic target for a van, which will be kitted out, separated into travel cages. The van will be washable and we can just bring it back and hose it down.”

“Donations have been a little slow, but this is our fundraising effort for the whole year. Obviously the dogs have to take priority, but it’s vital we get this ambulance on the road.

“Philip Stevenson and Banbridge Amateur Boxing Club are running a white collar boxing tournament on Friday 15 May in the Belmont Hotel in aid of our animal ambulance fund. Tickets are £10 and a boxing glove signed by World Champion Carl Frampton will be auctioned on the night. It’s fantastic that they are helping us,” Gillian added.

If you would like to donate to the animal ambulance appeal, visit If you would prefer not to donate online you can leave donations with Gillian at the Doghouse Sanctuary.