A CARING charity who bring lonely pensioners and pets together unveiled their new premises in Troon at a special official opening.

More than 100 people and dogs from across the community who attended the Give a Dog a Bone event at their base in the old TSB in Ayr Street on November 30, which also coincided with the charity’s fifth birthday.

This is their second base in the west of Scotland following a successful opening in Shawlands in January. Charity founder and chief executive Louise Russell was delighted with how the event went and said: “I selected Troon because I view as a retirement place, it is very doggy and we have the same landlord that we have in Shawlands. We have spent a lot of time and money to make the premises look good, that’s important as we want to create a warm and inviting space for people to spend time here. Anyone of any age can drop in for tea or coffee. Classes are being r un including Christmas decorations, reflexology and Italian beginners. You can have a more positive life through animal companionship and also through communit y spac e and als o friendship.”

They provide financial support to the over-60s to help give them a pet.

The charity are concerned aboutthe risingnumber of animals in shelters and loneliness in ageing years and want to bring animals and the over 60s together by providing two services: They will support the local over-60s population – who are struggling to afford to feed their pets – by providing help with their monthly pet food and/or insurance costs.

Their hope is that this will prevent this group from handing their beloved pets into overcrowded shelters.

And they will support over-60s – who are unable to afford a pet – to benefit from the love of an animal.

If they choose to re-home an animal from a shelter, they can pay for all associated re-homing fees, whilst providing on-going monthly support with pet food costs. f they meet the criteria, money has to be a genuine barrier and it has to be a rescue animal on low income.

They run group dog walks and also have a pet foodbank a s well as offering Reiki, Italian for beginners and much more.

Grace Campbell of Shawlands has welcomed the introduction of the Troon base and said: “I use the community space in Shawlands and this set-up is tackling loneliness in the community.

The main idea is to get people together, you won’t be judged and will get a cup of tea. “ Arran woman Eleanor Hamilton recently secured her second dog through the charity - a five-yearold Labrador called Byron.

The 74-year-old feels the charity are accessing anuntapped market and said: “Byron is the second dog I have had through Louise. It’s sad you can’t get the dogs at Battersea featured in the Paul O’Grady programme.

They put you on a list and will not phone you back. A lot of us on pensions can’t afford a dog. My dog is going for an operation and the charity will pay for it.

There is a missing link with the community. I suffer from mental health issues and I get depressed and lonely. Just to have a dog is great, if are good to the dog, then the dog is good to you.”