Battersea Dogs and Cats Home has been a longstanding rescue centre for those animals that are in need of a home for a variety of reasons.

With three animal shelters spread across Old Windsor, Kent and London, staff and volunteers act tirelessly to put the welfare of those in their care at the forefront.

Whether this be through physical vet examinations and treatment, or behavioural training, the process at Battersea is more complex than it first appears.

I went down to Battersea Old Windsor on Monday, June 12 to further understand the charity and what goes on behind the scenes.

On arrival to Battersea, I was surprised at the calm green estate set back from the road. I was surprised that no barking could be heard, with the odd dog spotted calmly out on their walk with a member of staff.

I met with Karen Slavid, the team leader at dog intake at Battersea to understand how the process begins.

Slough Observer: Battersea Old Windsor

Karen said: "Dogs arrive with us from various different areas - strays brought in by local authorities and people who give their dogs to us for a huge range of reasons."

Dogs are given a thorough medical check upon arrival ahead of being introduced to the kennel block.

They are then given a seven-day assessment to examine how they react to situations. This information is used to guide the type of home and family the dog would be best suited to.

A behaviourist ensures individual training plans are set out and met to ensure the dog is ready to be homed.

Dogs that were puppies during the pandemic have been noted as having poorer social skills, requiring increased socialisation training.

Battersea has an open-door policy, with no animal ever turned away.

"Dogs come in daily, if we have the space we take them in," Karen added.

"At the moment we have quite a big spaniel and sighthound intake - but it changes in patterns."

Slough Observer: Battersea Old Windsor

I then met with canine behaviourist and training advisor Luke Holdaway, who was training 18-month-old mongrel Sundae to maintain calm and controlled behaviour, focusing on verbal commands, reassurance and positive reinforcement.

While the dogs get a very hands-on approach, the cattery is more reserved with cats given their space and gradually introduced to human contact.

In charge of rehoming and welfare at Battersea's Old Windsor cattery is Sophie Angliss whose passion for the animals shone through.

A similar intake process is seen within the cattery, with staff allocated to particular cats.

Slough Observer: Battersea Old Windsor

Sophie added: "We have a team with a huge amount of expertise here. A welfare team who are really up to date with cat behaviour - it is looking at what is best practice."

I was introduced to a range of cats, including a trio of kittens and older cats who are currently looking for a home - each was in a pen with a range of toys and areas for the cats to sit.

From here I went back to the dog side of the shelter, to see what the rehoming process was like.

Rehoming and Welfare Coordinator Hannah Owen said: "We encourage that if people are interested in rehoming from Battersea that they register with us," Hannah said.

Slough Observer: Battersea Old Windsor

Information is collected and compared to evaluate the best-suited dog. Once a dog is matched the customers are called and information is discussed. A video call is offered and the individuals are invited to the site.

Animals leave the shelter fully vaccinated with three months of pet insurance, while support is also available to the new owners.

If you are interested in giving a dog or cat from Battersea a home, please register your interest at