By Lindsay Jackson

When we advertised for a new manager for Hillcrest, we were very pleased to receive 16 applications, 4 of which appeared to fully meet the Person Specification so were invited for interview by Zoom (an interesting experience in itself!). The successful candidate was Sabina Dunkling, here is a short pen portrait:

“So I’m an animal lover, have always had rescue dogs in my family. My first dog was Rex a Labrador Cross who was full of bounce! I’ve worked with dogs since 2002, firstly I ran a pet sitting business, I loved seeing animals settled in their own home whilst their owners were away. Then I worked for a large welfare organisation. I worked as a canine liaison officer so any cases with dogs came my way. It was heartbreaking but great to be making a difference. I then worked in strategic roles in Welsh Government animal welfare projects. Life moved into other roles away from the dogs and so I decided to foster dogs as a way of keeping involved and have fostered over fifty dogs, mostly sighthounds. This is really how I learnt about dogs, living with dogs, seeing their interactions with my dogs and how much they learnt from them. Being around them 24/7 and having to deal with any situations as they arose. This enabled me to learn about fearful dogs, anxious dogs, aggressive dogs, boisterous dogs and supporting them in their training and onto new homes. As time progressed I wanted to do more, I’d already been training dogs on an adhoc basis and so decided to learn more and threw myself into courses, shadowing trainers and doing more with my own dogs. I r eally love fixing a damaged relationship between a human and a dog and even better helping new partnerships form and this led to me setting a dog (human!) training company. I have specialised in sighthounds, German shepherds and rescue dogs settling into their new life. I am owned by three sighthounds Widget the whippet the family matriarch and a small bundle of opinion! Roo a mostly greyhound lurcher who is the cheeky one, Sketch the lurcher puppy, a victim of lockdown and an impulse purchase who came to me at nine weeks old when his family couldn’t cope, he the noisy one!. Then I have Dingo my German shepherd cross Kelpie (yes it’s quite the cross!) he’s the family workaholic but also my canicross dog who keeps me fit. Lastly we have Crosby, he is a Bassett x Spaniel (another cross not recommended for the faint hearted) he is the clown and cuddle monster all in one. I wanted to work for Greyhound Rescue Wales as they an organisation who has values the same as min e- a clear focus on improving the welfare of Greyhounds and high standards of dog care, enrichment and rehoming. I hope we can continue the fabulous work that Abbie has been doing and I look forward to meeting you all.”

In the meantime, Sandra Wynne has declared her desire to retire from full time working and become part time. We have been aware for some time that the work in Rescue (bringing dogs in) and Rehoming (sending dogs out) has been increasing exponentially. There were over 900 requests to adopt dogs last year and each request requires a deal of follow up to process, alongside the almost 100 homings. In light of this the Trustees agreed that Nicola Jones, a long-term volunteer at Hillcrest and applicant for the Manager’s post, should become the Rescue and Rehoming Manager, alongside Sandra part time. We now have a very strong team at Hillcrest and look forwards to developments.

We offer a huge welcome to both Sabina and Nicola.