Our History - by Alex Balkin (Chairman of the Trustees)
More years ago than I care to recall I led a fast and furious life in London, working in the music industry. During this time I also helped a local charity by fostering dogs with behavioural problems. Tiring of this frenetic lifestyle I decamped to my native Scotland.
I first came into contact with bloodhounds through Andy and Debbie Pownall around 18 years ago after coming back from holiday . Frankly I was terrified! There were nine of these monsters!!
However, a friendship developed and I began to spend time with the hounds, to learn about them, and to appreciate the finer points of their behaviour! I also introduced my sister, Pam, to them.
While in Troon for a few weeks I received a phone call from Debbie saying that as I was nearest (ie in Scotland!) could I drive to Grantown on Spey and pick up a rescue bloodhound. (Geography is not Debbies forte!)
Apparently the owners were moving in two days and were unable to take their hound with them. I travelled through gales and mud slides, with water coming through the car doors until I finally reached my destination. Ken, a six year old bloodhound, jumped into the car quite happily and we set off home.
I was supposed to take Ken to Debbie, where he would have been kennelled and assessed but after a few hours I had decided that he was mine! He had also decided that I was his!
He was not easy to start with being an accomplished thief and having other behaviour problems but, we sorted them out and he came everywhere with me, even to a rock concert! Most importantly, he was my friend.
During this time my sister became ill with cancer and in between treatments would come up to Cheshire, where I had bought a house, to spend time with Ken and me. Ken seemed to know that she was poorly and was always gentle with her.
Ken then became ill with severe colitis which was only controlled by a special diet. He was not happy with the disappearance of his treats.
Pam’s health deteriorated slowly but she still managed to travel to Cheshire, ostensibly to see me, but I knew that Ken was the main man!
Ken’s back legs were now giving me cause for concern and my fears were realised when he was diagnosed with disc problems and osteo-arthritis. He was now nine years old. I took a chance with surgery and after careful nursing Ken was soon back to his old self, a little wobbly but pain free.
Pam’s health was now deteriorating rapidly and she moved back to Glasgow to stay with our mother. Soon she had to go into a hospice. It was here that she spoke with me about her dream of setting up a charity, to help rescue bloodhounds. Pam was desperate to see Ken again but sadly time ran out for her.
Ken was now eleven years old and he began to go off his legs and to be incontinent. The dreaded time had come.
In the space of a few months I had lost my adored sister and my beloved hound but out of the sadness came the strength to honour Pam’s wish for a charity.
The stated principle aim of the organisation is to provide for the rescue, welfare, assessment, rehabilitation, rehoming and return to health of bloodhounds and related types of hound.