Dom Hodgson, from Ryhope, cycled more than 200 miles visiting rescue centres all over the UK, raising £2000 for charities, £650 of which will go to Animal Krackers in Grangetown, Sunderland.
The Tour de Rescue saw Dom visit 15 rescue centres across four days to shine a light on the dedicated work done by local rescue volunteers.
The professional dog trainer and author, who runs Pack Leader Dog Adventures, began by visiting centres in Gateshead and Alnwick, Northumberland, before cycling to centres in Teesside, Derbyshire and North Wales.
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Dom said: “I found the whole experience really humbling and I learned so much from meeting the different rescues. One thing I must stress is how much help and support you get from the rescues when you adopt a dog from them. I don't think the public are aware of this.”
He added: “The dog gets assessed, vet checked and chipped, and you get assessed to find out your needs, then you get to meet your dog – you can actually meet lots of dogs if you wish, and that's the best thing to do because often you will bond with a dog that you weren't considering – then you get multiple opportunities to walk the dog, let him meet your family, take him for a date to the beach, have a stayover at your house etc.
“All this happens before you officially adopt and that way the rescues have a near 100% rehoming success rate, and you get a dog you are happy with.”
Although he was uplifted by the work of the volunteers, Dom says it was also heartbreaking to hear some of the animal’s stories.
He said: “On day four in North Wales at Almost Home I met two greyhounds who had been raced in Manchester the previous weekend, they obviously hadn't raced very well and so were given up by the trainer because they weren't worth further investment, which is horrible.”