Sat on the train making my way back to London, I have just had a meeting with Rebecca Leather, one of the founders of BARC (Beacon Animal Rescue Centre), in Kent.
I am starting a project working with the charity, to help raise awareness of all the hard work they do. I am a huge animal lover and I thought it fitting for my next photography project to help those in need.
With this project I want to tell BARC's story thought text and photography. Currently, I am looking to speak to the founders, foster families and forever homes to help tell the story from start to finish. I am looking forward to working with BARC and developing some work that will help them raise awareness of all the work they do.
Rebecca spoke to me all about the work they do at the charity BARC, and it was clear as she spoke how truly passionate she was about what she does. Both herself and Chloe Harrold, founded the charity last March, after rescuing their own dogs. Later discovering their dogs were rescued from Romania, intriguing them they began visiting Romania and rescued their first dog in April.
Last year they rescued 87 dogs and to date they have rescued 190 dogs!
One of their most recent projects they are undertaking, is a spay and neuter programme called Street Paws, to help those in Romania with the number of stray dogs. BARC will be opening a clinic in Romania, starting June, to help family pets as well as strays.
Rebecca explained to me how in the 1970's many of the Romanians moved from the countryside into the city, unfortunately not being able to give their dogs a home, many became strays, wondering the city streets. It is also common in Romania for dogs to wonder the streets during the day and later return home. This gives a large increase in breeding and in turn increasing the number of strays.
People sometimes ask them why they rescue in Romania and not the UK. They do rescue some dogs in the UK however, their focus is in Romania as there are no rescue centres in Romania.
With only a few volunteers in Romania, most of the time dogs are put into public shelters. Dog catchers will place the dogs to public shelters where often, they are crammed into cages around 20 a cage. The dogs are kept in the shelters for around two weeks, before, often inhumanly put down.
BARC are working with people and shelters in Romania to stop this, and help these dogs live a better life. The charity are working to create individual shelters for the dogs, to stop dogs fighting with each other. Trying to give each dog a better life, including sending disinfectant, leads, food and toys etc.
It is also important to consider that in the UK on average 21 dogs are put to sleep, Rebecca tells me how in Romania it is increasingly more than that, once she visited and heard 200 dogs were put down in just one night.
So as BARC rescue often from Romania, they do sometimes rescue from the UK and other countries. There most recent rescue being Thailand, a country Rebecca visited and couldn't help but help a poor dog called Felix, who was hit by a motorcycle. They are now working in partnership with a charity called Soi Dog Rescue in Thailand, who rescue dogs from the street food trade.
Looking to the future the charity are looking to get their own van (currently hiring a pet transport van each week), and to continue to rescue as many dogs (and sometimes cats) as they possibly can.
The work the charity do is truly inspiring and I am looking forward to learning more. In the coming months I plan to speak to others who help the charity, and to follow different dogs, to learn more about their individual stories.
A huge thank you to all those who support the charity and help make their work possible.
To see more about BARC, click here.