The English Shetland Sheepdog Club


ESSC Welfare & Rescue (formerly the Contingency Fund)


WHAT IS ITS PURPOSE – to provide the Club with the ability to respond to the needs of Shelties when the unexpected arises.


WHAT DOES IT COVER – in the majority of instances, Welfare & Rescue (formerly the Contingency Fund) is used to help in looking after the Shelties of members and other Sheltie owners who are temporarily incapacitated or to rehome Shelties left by an owner who has passed away. However, it would be impossible to define ‘the unexpected’ and decisions on what situation qualifies for help and what does not is in the hands of the ESSC committee. The title "Welfare & Rescue" is intended to convey the message that Welfare & Rescue is more than just a mechanism to help rescue unwanted Shelties.


Sandy – rehomed 2005


HOW DOES IT WORK Welfare & Rescue has a national co-ordinator, Mrs Sheila Riding, who calls upon the services of a team of some 13 volunteers located around the country. Requests for help should be directed in the first instance to Sheila who will decide on the most appropriate course of action. Only in very exceptional circumstances does Welfare & Rescue offer its assistance (e.g. if the well-being of a significant number of Shelties is in jeopardy) – it is normally the owner who must make the first contact.

Sheila writes:

I thought I should take the opportunity to introduce myself. I would like to thank Betty Peach and the ESSC committee for entrusting this role to me. How I will follow her lead will be a challenge after the many years that she has devoted to being the Contingency Fund coordinator. Many of you have worked alongside Betty and I hope you will support me in this role and continue to help our lovely breed.
I have had Shelties for approximately 12 years, but have always admired the breed. I started of showing about 11 years ago. My Shelties are my pets first and showing is a very enjoyable hobby which has led me to this point.
I am very much a team player and enjoy others sharing their views and experiences. 

THE HISTORY OF Welfare & Rescue Miss Mary Davis identified the need for a Contingency Fund in 1969 partly because a well-known elderly breeder who owned several bitches passed away without making any provision for them. The Club deposited an initial £10 into a separate bank account for the Fund and to this day Welfare & Rescue’s finances are kept completely separate from those of the Club. The Welfare & Rescue’s bank balance has grown steadily over the years for several reasons

a)     Many fund raising events have been held by supportive members

b)     Donations are received from time to time

c)      Legacies are received from the estates of members and Sheltie lovers who have passed away

d)  Many members and Sheltie lovers assist Welfare & Rescue as a service to their fellow owners and do not seek re-imbursement

The 1975 and 1995 Club Handbooks both carry articles seeking to clarify how Welfare & Rescue works.


    2010 2009 2008




  Number of dogs rehomed




  Helpers’ mileage




  Helpers’ mileage costs




  Boarding fees




  Veterinary fees













Meg – rehomed 2009



1.     Confidentiality - the Club is aware that those who seek the help of Welfare & Rescue are unlikely to wish for their application to be made public. Indeed, the desire not to be seen to be seeking help financially and/or the risk of disclosure, are probably the two main reasons why Welfare & Rescue has not been asked to reimburse more owners over the years and hence why funds have increased. Whilst so doing may cause some members to accuse the Club of secrecy, the Club does endeavour to deal with all requests for help in strictest confidence.

2.     Rehoming – Welfare & Rescue does all in its power to ensure that the Sheltie involved gets the best start. This means checking the suitability of the new home, possibly boostering/neutering/micro-chipping/medical treatment of the dog before it is rehomed. To avoid subsequent complications, it is necessary for Welfare & Rescue to ensure that ownership of the dog being rehomed is not left with the original owner. Ownership of all dogs rehomed by Welfare & Rescue remains with Welfare & Rescue and registration papers are not passed to the new owner. There have been cases where an owner is suffering from mental illness and changes his/her wishes day by day whilst a close relative with power of attorney has given permission for the dog to be rehomed – Welfare & Rescue does not wish to spend members’ money defending itself in a court of law. However, the team will, if requested, seek information/photographs from the new owner of the dog and pass these on to the original owner or his/her representative.

3.     Temporary incapacity – this is not the same as rehoming and there is no question of signing dogs over in this situation.

4.    Private rehoming – if it is possible, Welfare & Rescue will assist owners looking to rehome a Sheltie by providing names of people waiting to give a Sheltie a home. This may lead to a private rehoming arrangement but, since none of the services associated with a formal rehoming take place, this can potentially end in discontent for both parties e.g. one party changing its mind, disagreement about terms and conditions.

5.    Purchase to rehome – Welfare & Rescue will not purchase dogs from members or third parties since such action would inevitably create an ongoing opportunity for the unscrupulous.

6.      What Welfare & Rescue is not – Welfare & Rescue is NOT a substitute for canine insurance.

7.  ESSC Welfare & Rescue liaises with the rescue activities of the other UK Shetland Sheepdog breed
clubs as necessary, but has no ties with any other Sheltie or general rescue organisation.

Lucy & Misty – rehomed 2000

Sammy & Amy – rehomed 2004


In conclusion, Welfare & Rescue was set up to help and it will do just that if, in the opinion of the Committee, the request for help is genuine and deserving. The form and level which the help takes must also be decided by the Committee.


Should you unexpectedly find yourself in difficulties or feel you could offer a home to an older Sheltie, please contact the national organiser who is:

Mrs Sheila Riding
35 Towers View, Ashford, Kent TN24 9PB
Mob: 07707 179723 email:

The only official Local Sheltie Rescue representatives can be found here

Should you wish to make a donation to the ESSC Welfare & Rescue by PayPal please click here.

Donations by cash, cheque or credit card can be made by contacting the Treasurer:
Mr Les Barnett, 31 Trent Bridge, Bardon, Coalville, Leicestershire LE67 4EE
Tel: + 44 (0) 1530 483847



© The English Shetland Sheepdog Club, 2008-2022