Clare Balding supports Sussex Rescue Dog Event

On Saturday (18th May) Clare Balding and adopted Labrador cross, Elder, from East Sussex, were on a mission to bark up as much noise as possible for rescue dogs at Goodwoof, the ultimate dog’s day out.

Leading the opening parade alongside The Duke of Richmond and hundreds of Labradors, they proudly displayed a heartwarming message on Elder's vest: "My Friends Need Forever Homes", highlighting that many of his friends in Raystede Centre for Animal Welfare are still in need of a home.

Amidst his important mission, Elder also managed to let his tail down and enjoy the festivities at Goodwoof, indulging in dog yoga, cooling down in the doggy lido and dancing at the Ministry of Hound.

 To help more deserving furry friends find their perfect match, The Adoption Mission by Mars Petcare will be covering adoption fees for up to 25 dogs at Raystede, Elder’s former rescue centre and close to the Goodwoof grounds, for potential owners interested in adopting a dog following Goodwoof. 

 Matt Gough, Head of Operations, at Raystede also commented: “Elder came into our care at just nine months old and stayed with us for a long 18 months whilst we helped him learn valuable life lessons and then found him his perfect match. It was amazing to see him living his best life at Goodwoof and championing rescue dogs. He’s come so far and we’re so proud to have seen him walk so confidently next to Clare Balding and The Duke of Richmond!

“We’re delighted to be part of The Adoption Mission and we’re extremely grateful for Mars Petcare’s support which will waiver adoption fees for up to 25 new owners – we can’t wait to see more of our dogs find amazing new homes like Elder has. We’re so thankful for adopters who take rescue dogs into their hearts and homes.”

Before paw-fectly settling in with his forever family in December 2022, Elder didn’t have the best start in life. He was surrendered to Raystede during his peak adolescent stage, struggling with some behavioural issues, which the Raystede team worked with him intensively on before he was ready to be re-homed.

Pet behaviourist, Dr Tammie King, from Mars Petcare comments: “Behavioural issues are one of the top reasons why rescue centres are so inundated with dogs being surrendered into their care. However, with the right ongoing guidance and support it’s possible to modify a pet’s behaviour – Elder is the perfect example! Rescue centres have experts and behaviourists on standby to provide behavioural support both within and beyond life in a shelter.

 Dr King shares valuable behaviour tips and advice for pet parents:

 Understanding Behaviour:

  • Instead of labelling behaviours as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, recognise that some behaviour traits that get labelled as undesirable are just natural canine behaviours. For example, digging, jumping, barking, and chewing serve important purposes for dogs and are all natural habits.
  • Rather than trying to stop these behaviours, focus on reinforcing the ones you want to see more of – similar to how you would with children. You can use treats, toys, playtime, and affection to show them positive reinforcement.
  • Dogs do NOT live in a dominance hierarchy so talk of being “alpha” as an owner is outdated and can be harmful in how people treat dogs, often damaging the human-pet relationship. 

 Canine Body Language:

  • Pay attention to your dog’s body language and behaviour. Dogs communicate their feelings through cues. Understanding their signals will help you avoid negative interactions and build trust, ultimately strengthening the bond between you and your pet.
  • Signs they need space:
    Growling, pinning their ears back, tucking their tail under its body, looking tense or stiff, attempting to snap or bite and/or has their teeth bared with their lips pulled back.
  • Signs they feel stressed or afraid:

Cowering, yawning (when they shouldn’t be tired), exposing their teeth (in a smile with ears back and eyes shut tightly), licking their lips / panting with no clear reason, ears pulled back flat or to the side, hypervigilant, tail tucked down, pacing, or not eating.

  • Signs they’re happy and content:

Open mouth, relaxed body, lying down, has floppy ears, play bowing and their tail wagging.

 These are some of the amazing dogs at Raystede that are still in need of a home:

A dog standing on a platform

Description automatically generatedOREO

Oreo is a two-year-old Jack Russell. He is great fun but is generally an anxious dog and needs a calm home that has experience of helping nervous dogs bloom.


He will need an adult only home as he is worried by children. Oreo would like a home with a garden and someone who will be patient and provide the security he needs.


He is very affectionate and will bond closely to his new lucky family.





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