Film director and screenwriter Lenny Abrahamson with his children Max and Nell pictured with Gina Hetherington, Paws as well as Ivy and Dobbie during the visit to Paws PICTURE: PAT MOORE
Oscar-nominated film director Lenny Abrahamson is urging dog lovers, who are looking to give an animal a forever home, to consider adopting a lurcher or greyhound this Christmas.
The renowned screenwriter and director took time out of his busy schedule to visit Paws Animal Rescue on the Kilkenny and Tipperary border with his children, Max and Nell.
"It was inspiring and emotional to see the amazing work Paws is doing with so few resources. I think the team at Paws are amazing, Gina and the staff are incredibly dedicated as are the volunteers who go out to walk the dogs at weekends.
I would urge people to donate if they can and help this shelter, which is in debt. It is a great cause and it is brilliant to see your money going directly to such a worthy cause. I would also urge people to go out and see what they do and consider fostering or adopting a dog, instead of buying one.
"We adopted a lurcher, Jake ten weeks ago and he is gorgeous. We have always adopted our dogs and Jake was very nervous and afraid and needed a bit of extra care and we were able to give it to him. Lurchers and greyhounds make great pets - they are very gentle and affectionate and they just need one good run a day and then they are happy to lounge around. They are perfect domestic pets," he said.
The award-winning director is also highlighting the importance of choosing to adopt rather than buying from breeders.
"Greyhounds and lurchers make wonderful pets - at the moment we have a major problem with the amount of abandoned dogs. Buying from breeders can encourage an industry, which has a lot of problems. We have always adopted our dogs and I found that mixed breed dogs are healthier and emotionally more stable - they make great pets.
However Mr Abrahamson urged people to think carefully before decided to give a dog a forever home.
"It is a really big commitment to have a dog and you need to think long and hard about it. If you can do it though it is incredibly rewarding - I always say that having an adopted dog is like having emotional central heating in your home," he added.
Paws, which is located in Mullinahone currently has more than 100 dogs looking to be re-homed and is in debt.
Founders of Paws Gina Hetherington said that she was 'delighted' to welcome Mr Abrahamson and his children to PAWS.
"To say he was shocked to see the vast number of sighthounds in our care is an understatement. During his visit, we gave him access to our veterinary bill, which currently stands at €41k and our bank statement, the balance of which is less than €100. He was amazed at how our humble shelter has managed to stay afloat for 21 years under such pressure. Lenny is a lovely, gentle, kind person with a passion for animals of all kinds. He went out of his way to visit us and we feel that we have made a new friend and look forward to hopefully collaborating with him in the future," she said.
Abrahamson was nominated as best director for his 2015 film, Room, while his latest, The Little Stranger, hits Irish screens on Friday.
To find out more about Paws Animal Rescue or to donate see www.paws.ie