2088. Gary Baxter
2089. Michelle Ballard
Gary Baxter and Michelle Ballard, from Fleet, Hampshire, have been providing animal welfare support for thousands of dogs and cats abandoned in Ukraine through their charity ‘DogsnHomes Rescue’.
Gary and Michelle have always shared a passion for animals, and following his retirement, Gary started volunteering with animal charities, founding ‘DogsnHomes Rescue’ in 2019 with his wife, Michelle. ‘DogsnHomes Rescue’ is a small charity with a simple mission: To rescue dogs from Portugal and the UK and find them forever homes, with the charity recently homing its 500th dog.
After the invasion in Ukraine, Gary and Michelle wanted to support companion animals in the relief effort and, in addition to rescuing dogs from Portugal and the UK, they focused their attention on the huge animal welfare crisis.
‘DogsnHomes Rescue’ has now delivered over 150,000 kg of pet food, aid and medical supplies for cats and dogs. On one occasion, Gary and his team covered 2,740 miles in six days, delivering 9,000 kg of aid. On return trips, they have helped a number of refugees and their pets travel across Europe and to the UK.
Gary, Michelle and their team of volunteers work with a network of trusted charity partners across Ukraine to ensure that aid gets to where it is needed most, with all deliveries being tracked. Gary also worked in Ukraine as part of a large-scale mobile spay, neuter and microchip campaign with a US charity, with over 1,500 sterilisations and 1.959 microchips carried out. This partnership is ongoing with ‘DogsnHomes Rescue’ preparing to support the next spay / neuter mission in August 2023.
In a personal letter to Gary and Michelle, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said:
“I was particularly inspired to hear how you have recently been responding to the terrible situation in Ukraine.
“As a dog owner, I know how hard it will have been for so many Ukrainian families to leave their pets behind. But you have delivered over 150,000 kilograms of pet food and veterinary supplies, helping to ensure that animals are still looked after, even in the toughest of circumstances.”
Gary and Michelle said:
“We are immensely honoured and grateful to receive the prestigious Points of Light Award. On behalf of the entire team at ‘DogsnHomes Rescue’, we would like to express our heartfelt appreciation for this recognition. It serves as a testament to our unwavering dedication to rescuing and finding loving homes for countless furry companions. We remain committed to our mission and will continue to make a positive impact in the lives of these incredible animals and our local community. We’re also committed to our ongoing support of companion animals in Ukraine. Thank you for this amazing honour.”
See more about ‘DogsnHomes Rescue’