Boarding kennel owner offers lifeline to worried pet owners

Fiona Woodhouse, right, and her daughter Anna-May with their three black Labs, Kyah, Zara and Time.

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Fiona Scott

A Barcaldine woman whose boarding kennels business has been devastated by cancellations as a result of the COVID-19 situation is offering her services free of charge to people who need a temporary home for their pets due to the virus.

Fiona Woodhouse has run Lochandubh pet boarding for the past 30 years and was a joint founder of Argyll Animal Aid, erecting a block especially to house neglected, sick and injured animals at her family premises and playing an active role until January this year when the charity decided it needed larger premises.

An animal lover all her life, Fiona has decided to help dogs and cats whose owners are unwell with the virus or in hospital.

‘I don’t know what will happen to the business because of this. We have no bookings left at all,’ she told The Oban Times.

‘These are worrying times for all of us, however, I am in a position to help other people who may be worried about what will happen to their beloved pets should they have to go to hospital or are too sick at home to look after them.’

Current guidelines from the SSPCA state: ‘COVID-19 is not zoonotic. It cannot be transmitted from human to animal or vice versa.

‘If an animal is touched by someone with the virus then there is the potential it can be spread should someone else come in to contact with that animal, in the same way as touching any infected surface.

‘We ask that you are mindful of hygiene practices at all times, especially when handling animals.’

For further information on looking after your pet during this unprecedented time go to https://www.scottishspca.org/coronavirus-and-caring-for-pets

Having sought advice from local vets and SSPCA officers Fiona has acquired suitable personal protective equipment (PPE) to enable her to wash the animals when they come in.

‘As far as we are aware so far animals can’t catch COVID-19 but the virus can still live on them for a certain amount of time as it can on most surfices.

‘Once they are washed properly the virus will no longer be present so I will be doing this with all the animals that come in to me.’

Set in secluded woodland  Lochnadubh offers heated kennels and cats chalets with heated beds.

This is a free service for the foreseeable future. Collection may be possible. Please phone Fiona on 01631 720311 or 07738 032589 for more information.