Claudia celebrates 30 years with Hilbrae Rescue Kennels
A dog lover is celebrating 30 years of working for a rescue charity where she helped rehome hundreds of dogs and raise thousands of pounds.
Claudia Churchill has been working with Hilbrae Rescue Kennels since 1992 and has been a dog lover since she was little.
Having a rewarding job makes life all the sweeter, Claudia said, as she continues to run Hilbrae's charity shop in Dawley which opened six years ago.
Before that, Claudia was helping to run the rescue kennels up in Cold Hatton and did so for around 24 years.
Marty Burrell, owner of Hilbrae Rescue Kennels, said Claudia has been much more than an employee over the years, as they have become close friends.
"Claudia has been a really good friend to me, in work and outside," she said. "My husband was in really poor health at one point and Claudia was always there for me and for him.
"She has been a great friend as well as employee – far more than an employee really. All I need to do is call her up and she will be there.
"She was working in the kennels up until about six years ago, she was virtually running the place – making decisions about staff and where dogs get rehomed. We opened the charity shop in Dawley and Claudia said she wanted to slow down a bit and so she went there instead and has ran it ever since."
Customers even take their dogs to the shop for Claudia to say hello and watch them while they go shopping, Marty said.
She added: "She is as mad as a box of frogs but a very compassionate person. She takes no nonsense and to all her volunteers and customers, she is really lovely."
Claudia, from Stirchley, said turning a dog's life around after they come to the kennels in a bad place, is what made her love it so much.
"My passion has always been with dogs, especially rescues," she said. "I started off part time working, within six months I was full time and loved it ever since.
"I have gotten really close to Marty and her family over the years, they are not just my boss they are friends after all this time. It's been a really amazing 30 years.
"I missed the dogs a lot when I came to work in the shop but I was grateful I was still able to continue working for them. I have got a lot of customers who have rehomed dogs from Hilbrae who come to see me in the shop."
Claudia said she looks forward to many more years working with Hilbrae and looks back fondly on the years she has helped dogs across Shropshire.
She said: "It's just been lovely to help the dogs – they come in to the rescue all nervous, and didn't have a nice start in life, and you help turn that dog's life around.
"From a little girl I have always loved dogs. I love to find them homes and give them a happy ending. A job like mine has been so rewarding."