NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Aberdeenshire sensory garden takes a lead in helping rescue dogs

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Media captionSensory garden for illegally-bred puppies

A sensory garden for abused, abandoned and injured dogs has opened in Aberdeenshire.

The Scottish SPCA has created the facility at its rescue centre in Drumoak.

The "Woof Top Sensory Garden" includes dog-friendly plants, obstacles and textured surfaces, aimed at encouraging dogs to use their senses.

The animal charity believes it will be particularly useful for dogs rescued from puppy farms.

This is because they are under-socialised and have never known life outside a kennel environment.

Image caption The special garden encourages dogs to use their senses, especially after a life in kennels
Image caption Some puppies are born in care after pregnant mothers are rescued

Louise Griese, the acting centre manager, told BBC Scotland's The Nine: "We rescue a lot of abandoned and abused animals and this garden will help to rehabilitate them.

"The idea behind the garden is to provide dogs with sensory stimulation they will never have experienced before.

"It's going to enrich their lives and give them skills to help them in the future and hopefully give them a bit more confidence before finding their new homes."

Image caption The garden is in Drumoak
Image caption Dog can interact with a variety of objects such as mirrors

One current litter of puppies was born at the rescue centre after their mother was taken into care.

The sensory garden gives them the opportunity to experience the sights, sounds and smells of a normal dog's life.

Ms Griese explained: "Some puppy farm dogs have never been out of a kennel, so they haven't been outside, they haven't even walked on grass.

"So this is somewhere safe where they can come to learn these skills. It's really going to help them boost their confidence and help them to socialise."

She said the garden was full of different scents, and in the summer months there would be dog-friendly plants, which encourage them to use their senses and provides mental stimulation within the surroundings.

She added: "The garden also includes different surfaces and textures which create an element of fun for the dogs, as well as many other objects and obstacles to provide exercise and to keep the dogs entertained.

"We've designed this area to incorporate as many different experiences for the dogs as possible including a safe, quiet space for them to relax in.

"This will change the lives of dogs that come into our care and better prepare them for finding their loving, forever homes."

The centre currently has about 20 dogs waiting for a new home.

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