A Chorley man is known as a mild-mannered bank clerk by day – but a dog-saving hero by night.
Simon Grundy of Chorley, a commercial underwriter at the Cumberland Building Society, spends much of his free time caring for very large dogs. Simon devotes hours to the charity which rescues giant breed dogs from around the world and finds them a loving home in Britain.
The charity, Saving Saints Rescue, specializes in helping dogs like St Bernards, Newfoundlands and Romanian Shepherds. Simon and his wife Rachel are respectively involved, with Simon being a director and Rachel being a director and president.
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Dogs all have their own stories. In some cases, their owners simply cannot keep them. In others, many have been neglected, abused, left in “killing shelters” and some even come from the Chinese meat trade.
Over the past year, Saving Saints has rescued 147 dogs from around the world and the UK. Simon, a day bank clerk, says: ‘It’s very heartbreaking to see the state some of them are in,’ says Simon, who lives in Chorley.
“At the end of the day, what motivates you is seeing when the new owners come back with lots of great pictures showing the dog running around the garden with their children.
“There are one or two that don’t work. Sometimes people realize it’s just not for them.
Simon and Rachel own four St Bernard’s – all four were rescued from Europe and the UK. He continues: “We have an extensive network abroad. We have several people in Eastern Europe who send dogs directly to us. In places like Romania, Poland, and Serbia, people tend to have large breed dogs and use them to guard their homes and animals. on their farms because there are predators like wolves and lynxes.
“If they’re no longer wanted, there’s no rescue system there, so if you don’t want a dog, you take it to the local shelter.
“Our volunteers will rescue the dogs from the shelter and ask if we can take them and board them and fund the transport costs to the UK. Their work is entirely voluntary. We have contacts all over the world, across continental Europe, including many in Eastern Europe, Egypt and China,” says Simon.
Saving Saints has eight volunteers in the UK and rescued dogs are first housed in kennels in Skegness where they are assessed before being rehomed.
Simon continued: “We actually run the charity on a shoestring budget – £25,000 a year. We get nothing out of it. We pay for kennel fees and transport of dogs from overseas.
“Working with the association gives me a sense of satisfaction and I give something back to the community,” he added.
Saving Saints is always looking for new foster homes. Host families must have experience with dogs and have no children under the age of 14 at home.