A PUPPY-pampering parlour is ushering in a new era at Oxfordshire Animal Sanctuary.

The £3,000 grooming room, paid for by three 'hero' donors, was unveiled as diggers move in to demolish outdated kennels at the county's largest rescue centre.

In the coming months, managers will use a £300,000 bequest from founder Margaret Gray to build a suite of bespoke new kennels which they hope will make dogs happier, more relaxed and easier to rehome.

But leading the charge is Paddy's Parlour.

The doggy day spa has a £1,000 hydraulic grooming table, paid for by Karen Simpson and her company Infineum at Milton Hill.

An industry-standard, £900 bath/ shower was paid for by a volunteer at the sanctuary's Carterton shop.

The building itself, which cost more than £1,000, was paid for by Annette Thomas, who Christened it Paddy's Parlour in memory of the beloved best friend she adopted from the sanctuary four years ago.

She started raising funds for the centre after adopting her first dog Murphy, and now raises more than £1,000 each year with an annual bingo in Bloxham where she lives.

The hairdresser and beautician said: "I love animals, and the thing I really appreciate about Oxfordshire Animal Sanctuary is that they never put a dog down.

"Their vet bills are horrific, but they are so kind to their animals. I can't praise them enough."

Miss Thomas also thanked everyone who helped make her bingo nights a success.

Sanctuary manager Iain Atkin said the grooming room fit perfectly with the centre's new focus on trying to get dogs more familiar with the sights, sounds and routines they are likely to encounter in the outside world.

He said "Obviously these donors are heroes.

"I wanted a grooming shed for quite some time because we didn't have the facilities.

"It means we can groom the dogs so we don't have to take them into kennels dirty after muddy walks, give them hair cuts and trim their nails and get them used to that environment and the noises.

"It has already improved the dogs' welfare and makes them look better so they are more rehome-able, but it also enables us to understand how they're going to behave when they are rehomed so we can give more information to adopters.

"It's all geared towards making them more rehome-able."

The centre's other main ambition at the moment is to build a new training hall where aggressive and difficult dogs can get used to household noises like washing machines and vacuum cleaners.

Mr Atkin is hoping he might have some of the £300,000 leftover after building new kennels to go towards that, but is also ploughing on with a new fundraising strategy, asking Oxfordshire businesses to sponsor animals or buildings.

The centre is hoping the new kennels will be ready for its annual summer open day on August 5.