Adorable animals with touching stories: A journey to the magical Newcastle Cat and Dog Shelter

From barking the dog Roy to gruff escaped pig Tilly, meet the Newcastle Dog and Cat Centre residents

"He barks like he smokes," says Newcastle Dog & Shelter Chief Exec Chris Bray as Roy the dog stomps past.

The noisy chap is just one of many residents at the shelter which is well-known and loved across the city.

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As Chris shows NewcastleWorld around, he explains the simple yet vital work that the shelter exists to do.

The centre takes in abandoned and mistreated animals and coaxes them back to full health and confidence, before sending them off for their forever home.

It sounds simple, but it's a process that requires a hands-on team of 30 to manage and see through from start to finish.

On a blustery Friday afternoon, Chris leads us into a room full of kittens.

Roy the dog

In one corner are two squabbling siblings who had had to be separated and, behind a closed door, he tells us of a litter of four recently found abandoned by a local lake.

Behind the adorable faces of all the shelter's animal residents are often stories like that.

In a field out the back, Tilly the pig is running around and swings by to say a rather gruff hello.

Chris recounts an extraordinary tale of how she escaped a farm and was found running around the A69, before being rescued and donated to the centre by a vegan group.

In another corner is a cattery where many residents are black cats due to their less 'Instagramable' features and around the corner is a pen where donkeys Wilson and the wacky-haired Jenson run for food.

The Newcastle Cat and Dog Shelter recently re-opened to the public after a long period with its doors shut due to Covid-19.

Newcastle Dog and Cat Shelter in Benton

Members of the public can visit from Friday to Sunday between 1 pm and 4 pm at the moment, and local schools make regular trips to introduce pupils to the shelter's animals.

Whilst at the shelter, NewcastleWorld spoke with some staff members about the best part of their roles.

Michael said: "Just being around the animals, that's why we are all here!

"It's lush to be able to come and be hands-on with them, it's like having 100 pets."

‘It’s lush’, says Michael

Jessica agreed, relishing the time spent building the animals' confidence back up.

She said: "My favourite part is spending time with animals but also the best part is seeing the transformation in their personalities.

"If a dog is nervous and you see them come out their shells to go to their forever homes."

For Damian and Sharon, it was the moment when the pets find their forever home.

Damian said: "It's sad to see them leave, it really is, but it's so nice when they find somewhere nice.

"We had one come and visit us recently and he looks completely different.

"He looks happy and for me, that's the most important.

Sharon added: "Some people say it must be sad to see them go, but it's wonderful.

"We have a really high success record. Within a couple of months, sometimes longer, they're away and off, bouncing away.

‘I love seeing them go bounding off’, says Sharon

"It's lovely. That's the best bit."

Anyone wanting to adopt from the shelter can visit and apply to do so via an online form.

Staff members go through all applications meticulously and make sure each potential home is the right match.

If you're just wanting to support the centre's work, you can donate here.