A CHARITY volunteer buys and hands out gifts to rescue dogs in Harefield every year on Christmas Eve.

Michelle Werndley has visited the Dogs Trust Rehoming Centre in Harvil Road since 2018.

During the year, Michelle will buy dog toys from charity and pet shops, before handing them out on December 24.

She said: “I visit all the charity shops, starting around August, and as soon as I go in the staff are asking ‘Is it that time of year again?’ They know I buy all the toys.

“I also go to independent pet shops, where I buy things like tug toys and crinkle toys.   

“I bag them all up, and then they are taken to the centre, where they are kept in a big container.

"On the 24th, I put them on a big trolley and walk around the rehoming centre. The staff will then take a toy off for each dog, open their door, and then the dog runs away with my toy."

Michelle first began volunteering at Dogs Trust in 2009. She was inspired to donate presents after the death of her parents.

She added: “The money I would have spent on them for Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries, Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day now goes on presents for the dogs – that’s my reason for doing it. 

“My mum and dad were animal lovers, and we always had dogs in the house.

“Last year I donated 70-80 toys, and then any spare ones went under the Christmas Tree in reception.

“This year, I planned to donate the same, but I’ve gone a little crazy and got over 100!”