TAFF loves cuddles.

He is gentle, a little nervous and shy when meeting new people.

Big softie Monty is a boisterous boy who loves going on walks, while Oscar has loads of energy and is a quick learner.

The three are among the canine residents of Mainline Border Collie Centre, part of the Freedom of Spirit Trust for Border Collies, a rescue, rehabilitation and rehoming centre for the popular breed.

Barbara Sykes, who runs the trust with her daughter Vicki has devoted her life to the care and welfare of border collies.

Based on the edge of the moors at Golcar Farm, Bingley - a sheep farm where Barbara was born and raised - the charity gives help, sanctuary and better lives to collies in need.

Collies are rehomed from the centre, to responsible, loving owners, while others, who cannot be rehomed, are given lifelong sanctuary.

The Trust works with the international sheepdog society. “We are the only border collie rescue recognised by them,” says Barbara. “We provide a lifetime’s backup for every dog. Many are farm dogs that will not work sheep.”

She adds: “Farmers want them to come to us. There are so many problems surrounding dogs advertised online - they could even be taken and used for baiting. Some dogs come to us after an owner has died and there is no one to take him or her on, or from people who have a pet dog and then have children and don’t want their dog any more.”

Those that are rehomed go on to lead happy lives. “Three were rehomed this week,” says Barbara. “We try hard to match the dog to the person - visitors don’t just walk around the kennels and say: ‘I will have that pretty one over there.’ We look at the type of person they are and the character and needs of the dog.”

A special senior citizens scheme operates whereby older people who want a dog can be teamed with a collie. “One lady is 80 and has a two-year-old dog that no-one else wanted - they have really bonded,” says Barbara.

Many adopters become friends. “It is lovely - I always say we are not losing a dog we are gaining a family member.”

As well as rehoming, dogs that cannot move on due to health problems or behavioural issues, are cared for at the centre’s sanctuary. There, they have gardens, paddocks and play areas for fun and relaxation. Those that are able are taken for long walks on the moors.

"They all get a good diet and bones to chew. There is no pressure on them."

Some of the older dogs arriving at the centre get a new lease of life. "You think some will not live long, but they do. We have two 15-year-olds who are both really happy."

But the centre has only so much room, a problem that has led Barbara, a former national and international sheepdog trialist, to seek out new premises to operate in tandem with the farm.

“We became a charity ten years ago,” says Barbara. “At that time we had 32 kennels, now we have 40. At present we have more than 40 rescue dogs - I also use my own kennels on the farm, and never have any spaces.

"It is heartbreaking having to turn down dogs. We are looking for premises to be able to expand and care for more dogs.”

Funding for the centre mainly comes from donations. A sponsorship scheme, in which members of the public sponsor a dog, helps to fund the care of the dogs, most of whom are on special diets or medication. Sponsors receive a certificate with a picture of their chosen dog, along with details of its background and character.

Stuart Martel, of York, sponsored Ben, after finding his own pet border collie Ozzie at the centre. “I was so impressed with they way things are run,” he says, “As soon as you are in Barbara’s company you are taken over by her enthusiasm and knowledge.

“You see so many dogs that they pledge to look after for life, that can’t be rehomed – it is good to know that my sponsorship helps to meet some of the costs. It may cover dog food for Ben for a month.”

He met the tricolor this year at a sponsor’s day at the centre.

Stuart, whose previous pet Barney, was a border collie, has owned Ozzie for almost a year. A friend whose dog came from the Trust recommend it to him. Looking at his lifestyle, Barbara thought Ozzie a perfect match - and she was right. “He came up and licked me over,” says Stuart. “I knew he was right straight away.”

Owners can post pictures of their dogs and message each other on the Trust’s Facebook page.

Mainline holds training sessions for all breeds of dog, in areas including training and behaviur. It also holds sessions in sheepdog handling and sheepdog experience.

The new premises - which will ideally be within a 30-mile radius - will be able to accommodate dogs awaiting adoption, a fundraising shop and permanent exhibition about collies and the Trust’s work.

“We could provide so much more and take in so many more dogs,” says Barbara. “We are raising funds and have set a target as the end of 2020, for our expansion.”

Four dogs, Digby, Megan, Jim and Tess, act as are ambassadors for the charity. Seven-year-old Digby, who was born deaf, is one of them. He meets people at events across the country. “He gets a lot of attention he pretends to be shy but once someone points a camera at him he forgets all his inhibitions,” says Barbara. “He lives in the farmhouse with me. We are like an old married couple - on a night we sit at opposite ends of the sofa in front of the TV.”

Nine-year-old Tess arrived when she was 18 months old. “She was a working dog. Her shepherd owner had collapsed and died on top of her. She was traumatised by what happened,” says Barbara.

One of the aims of the Trust is to promote a better understanding of the breed, its characteristics and needs.

Barbara talks of the “amazing” collies she, Vicki, their staff and dedicated volunteers - whose contribution is invaluable - care for. “They are very intelligent. Border collies are bred for different types of work, so they are all different.

"What they all need more than anything in the world is companionship.”

Their great freedom of spirit prompted the centre’s name. “They do have such great freedom of spirit - they are really brilliant dogs,” Barbara adds.

*For more information, to donate, or if you can help the trust find premises visit fostbc.org.uk or ring 01274 566250.

*Freedom of Spirit Trust for Border Collies, Golcar Farm, Spring Lane, Bingley BD16 3AU. The Trust is holding its Christmas Fair on Saturday November 17 at Eldwick Memorial Hall, Otley Road, Eldwick BD16 3EQ.