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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Backchat: David Ewing, Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home

This opinion piece is almost 10 years old

Most people find a dog or a cat at Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home. But former volunteer, now centre manager David Ewing, found his wife and met a princess

David Ewing, centre manager, Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home
David Ewing, centre manager, Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home

My parents worked at the Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home (EDCH) in the late 1960s and I helped out at the weekends. One Friday in 1974, they mentioned that a member of staff had been sacked, so on the Saturday morning, I spoke to the manager and asked for a job.

A year later a young tall blonde woman came to work at the home and I quite liked her. Soon we were going out together, one year later we were engaged and another year later we married.

In 2000, I took over as general manager and implemented a non-destruction policy. With the support of the home’s management committee, we started treating animals that might not have been given the chance before because of cost. Although this has meant a huge rise in expenditure, I am very proud of what the home achieves and we continue to work hard to find homes for all our dogs, cats, puppies and kittens.

My time at the home has been eventful, however, and has involved much more than working with dogs and cats. While there, I've also dealt with a sheep, a goat, a badger, a seal pup, foxes, ducklings, rabbits, mink, ferrets, gannets and other assorted seabirds.

I’ve met a lot of interesting people and royalty even crossed the threshold when Princess Antoinette de Monaco visited

I’ve also met a lot of interesting people over the years. We've even had a visit from royalty. Princess Antoinette de Monaco visited and rehomed two stray dogs. She also left with one of our kennel workers, who went to work for her in Monaco.

Over the years my family has rehomed a number of animals: Dougal, a bassett hound cross; Pebbles, a tabby-tortie cat; Atrushka, a blue-tortie cat; Sally, a brindle-boxer cross; Polly a golden terrier; Vicky, the black and tan terrier cross and Ruby, the black patterdale terrier who is still going strong.

After 40 years, I am still learning. The home has moved and evolved with the changing times and I hope to be a part of it for a little bit longer. But I know that I am only the custodian and will at some time pass on my duties.

Sadly I don’t really see an end to the EDCH as demand in some form will always be needed, but it may differ as times and attitudes change.

David's tips for rehoming an animal
1. Do your homework before coming to look for a pet. Make sure you understand the needs of the dog or cat from the start.
2. Take your time, have a good look around, ask questions before you decide which dog or cat is right for you.
3. Make sure you have everything in place before you introduce your new pet to it’s new home.
4. Be prepared that your new pet might not turn out to be what you thought, if it is not working out, be brave and take it back to the rescue, they will understand.