A six month old cockapoo spaniel called Barney received a lucky break when he was rescued and later rehomed by 58 year old estate manager Val Harber.
Val lives and works on a Hanover Housing estate in Storrington, Sussex.
Hanover has been recognised, for the fourth consecutive year, as Britain’s most pet-friendly national housing association, achieving the RSPCA’s Silver Footprint Award.
Whilst working for Hanover Val’s tireless commitment and efforts in promoting responsible pet ownership has paid off as she was instrumental in helping to set up Hanover’s pet friendly policy nearly 25 years ago.
Over the years Val has spoken at national older peoples’ forums, created a large bird aviary at Hanover Walk and hosted a vast array of animal friendly events which have included guide dog visits, spring lambs from a local farm and a visit from a parliament of owls.
As a result of Val’s tenacity Hanover and several other housing providers have now adopted positive pet’s policies.
With well over 1,000 pets across its 600 estates for people aged over 55 in England, Hanover encourages animal welfare and responsible pet ownership as a contributor to wellbeing in later years.
In addition to Barney, the menagerie on Hanover’s estates includes the usual array of dogs, cats and budgies, as well more exotic pets such as aged tortoises, parakeets, cockatoos and love birds. Some estates even encourage ‘visiting pets’ including the likes of snakes, scorpions and baby meerkats.
Estate Manager Val Harber says: “We actively welcome pets to our estates. Indeed, many of our residents choose to live in our homes simply because we are so pet-friendly.
“We understand that animals of all shapes, sizes and species offer valued companionship as well as therapeutic and health benefits.”
Lenny Rolles, an RSPCA spokesman adds: “It’s pleasing to see in spite of the tough economic climate faced by housing associations that Hanover has retained its commitment to animal welfare.
“Our award recognises the steps that Hanover has taken to acknowledge the important role animals play in maintaining the health and wellbeing of their residents.”
Report and picture contributed by Hanover Housing estate.