There is nowhere in the world like Battersea Dogs & Cats Home and self-confessed canine addict Paul O’Grady is delighted to be back for a brand new series of the award-winning, heart-warming and at times heart-breaking programme.
In each of the eight episodes Paul brings us stories guaranteed to lead to tears of sadness as well as tears of joy and laughter, as we meet more of Battersea’s canine residents looking for love, care and a new home.
We sat down with Paul to find out more:
This is series 6! Is it a challenge to keep the series at the top of its game each year?
“It certainly is but we always find there are more than enough dogs of all shapes and sizes with a fantastic story we can tell. This year there’s been a big influx of French Bulldogs and Pugs, the majority of them with severe breathing difficulties due to puppy farm breeding. Sean the vet has been doing more nose jobs than a Harley Street plastic surgeon but it’s thanks to him that these dogs can breathe freely again.”
What stories can you share with us from filming the new series?
“You’ll just have to watch! But I will say there are a few stories that are real heartbreakers, so get your hankies out. Don’t worry though, as there are also loads of happy ones that will make you grin like a Staffie. (They do you know!)”
Does anything continue to surprise you about Battersea or the stories of the dogs you meet?
“No, I’m not surprised at all. The staff work miracles on a daily basis and I’ve sort of come to take it for granted that whatever the dog’s dilemma, it’ll all turn out right in the end. I’ve seen dogs that are near death but brought back to life and sent off to a good home thanks to the skill, care and commitment shown by everyone who works at Battersea.
I’m struck by a combination of sorrow and fury when I see the results of wilful cruelty and neglect inflicted on the dogs who’ve been callously dumped.”
We’ve heard there are lots of puppies this year? Did you have any favourites? You looked quite taken with the Dalmatian pups?
“There were certainly a lot more pups than usual. I have to be strong when I find myself surrounded by a litter of Dalmatian/Spaniel cross puppies and resist the urge to slip a couple into my coat pocket.
There’s a stunning German shepherd puppy for all the puppy lovers, as well as a tiny little mite who looks exactly like Scamp from ‘ Lady and the Tramp’ but whose one aim in life is to tear your arm off!”
Did any of the dogs this series come close to joining the O’Grady clan?
“I came dangerously close to adopting a few. There were two old Labradors who couldn’t be separated, as they were so devoted to each other. They almost ended up joining my rabble. I was worried that nobody would take them but fortunately a very nice lady turned up and gave them a home.
Then there was a puppy, the runt of a litter who had been dumped in the woods. He was tiny and very frail and of course he got to me. I very nearly succumbed but again, a generous member of the public saved the day and took him home.
I’ve got six dogs at the moment and if I ever do get another one it will either be an old Staffie or Boxer. Or possibly both!”
What is it about the series and Battersea Dogs Home that you love so much?
“Well for starters, I get to work with lots of dogs which isn’t a hardship. And also because the programme highlights the incredible work that animal shelters like Battersea do. It’s shown in a lot of countries around the world and is really popular in Australia, Canada and even Dubai.
Battersea is now getting lots of overseas visitors but they think I work there as one of the kennel staff. Which, now I come to think of it, isn’t that far removed from the truth!”