"It's something I've always wanted to do".
After years of publicly campaigning for animal welfare and adopting 13 rescue dogs of her own, Former Eurovision winner and forever national treasure Linda Martin will be opening a dog sanctuary in Dublin this month.
Speaking to The Independent, Ms Martin said she has been left "penniless" after working for two years to build the sanctuary, something she's always dreamed of doing.
A lifelong dream
The singer had the idea to open the dog sanctuary two years ago, after the Dublin Pound closed and there was nowhere for stray animals to go in the city centre.
“I’ve been involved with animal welfare for pretty much all my life... I thought I’d put my money where my mouth is. I was given a piece of land just behind the airport on the outskirts of Finglas", Ms Martin told the Independent.
“There’s a kennel block, veterinary area, and an exercise area. It can hold 20 big dogs or more if they’re smaller.
“I applied for planning permission, all in all, it took two years and a lot of money. I’m now a penniless person.”
The rescue centre will be opened on Friday March 24th by none other than Lord of the Rings star Ian McKellen, who will be in Dublin to appear in Mother Goose at the Bord Gais Theatre.
Sir Ian McKellen will open the dog sanctuary. Image via Shutterstock.
While running a dog shelter is something Ms Martin has "always dreamed of doing", the singer admitted that the road to opening hasn't been an easy one.
“I’m excited at the moment, but sometimes I feel like crying because there’s so much to do and there’s so much involved in it. But I really am happy that I can offer a refuge for stray dogs.
“We’re doing things day by day at the minute. Things keep happening every day, someone else gets involved."
Pressure on shelters
The opening of the shelter couldn't be more timely, as animal welfare charities such as the DSPCA and Dog's Trust have been experiencing an influx of people in Ireland looking to surrender their dogs. Between Christmas Day and early February alone, Dog's Trust received 394 requests from members of the public to surrender pets into their care.
Meanwhile, the DSPCA has had a shocking 848 requests for the same thing. As pressure mounts and charities become overcrowded, no doubt the addition of more kennel space in the capital will be warmly welcomed.
Irish animal charities have seen an increase in people looking to surrender their pets. Image via Instagram/Dog's Trust
Header image via Getty