Dogs visit seal sanctuary to keep them company because they’re missing humans

Hugo meeting Aayla, one of the grey seals
Hugo meeting Aayla, one of the grey seals, who loves people to watch her from the underwater viewing area (Picture: PA)

Staff at an seal sanctuary have come up with a novel way to cheer up their residents after they became lonely without visitors.

The Cornish Seal Sanctuary, near Cornwall, usually welcomes more than 100,000 guests each year to meet its rescued seal pups and resident animals.

But for the first time in 60 years, it had to close its doors during the coronavirus lockdown and the animals have started to miss having visitors.

So staff had the idea of bringing their dogs in to say hello, and remind them of what it is like when the sanctuary is open.

Aayla, one of the grey seals, loves people to watch her from the underwater viewing area and so one dog Hugo was brought there to see her.

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Dudley, a golden retriever, met grey seal Willow through a fence.

A spokesperson from the sanctuary said: ‘The animals were very intrigued to see dogs again on site and enjoyed interacting with them.

‘The team have also been playing music over the speaker system to help to keep the residents calm and happy.’

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Dudley, a golden retriever, meeting grey seal Willow
Dudley, a golden retriever, meeting grey seal Willow through a fence (Picture: PA)

The charity, which has no certain reopening date, is struggling without revenue from visitors.

It costs £23,000 per month to look after the animals at the sanctuary.

Staff are still having to look after and provide extra enrichment for the seals during the lockdown.

Jana Sirova, general manager of the sanctuary said: ‘During this closure, we have been working very hard to ensure once the time is right we can safely welcome our guests once more.

‘We have put capacity restrictions in place, have implemented social distancing guidance around site, enhanced our cleaning regime, added hand sanitiser stations and installed protective equipment to keep our staff and guests safe.’

Anyone who wishes to donate to the charity can visit the JustGiving page.

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