Thirty eight years on from the birth of its famous slogan “A dog is for life not just for Christmas®”, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, Dogs Trust, which has 20 rehoming centres across the UK and one in Ireland, is bracing itself for another busy Christmas.
Not always the most wonderful time of the year
Whilst many dogs across the UK will be enjoying the festivities with their devoted families, sadly this isn’t the case for hundreds of dogs who are abandoned every Christmas. Many pups are discarded soon after being given as presents and older dogs are given up to make way for newer pups; we expect this year to be no different. We urge anyone thinking of getting a dog during this busy period to seriously think about the commitment involved before making your decision.
As well as taking in any abandoned dogs over the Christmas period, the dogs in our care still need feeding, the kennels still need cleaning and the dogs need to be walked and cuddled too. Some of our carers even have to hand feed pups throughout the night over the Christmas period.
Christmas Day at the rehoming centres is made to be as jolly as possible with staff and volunteers wearing tinsel and hats, decorating the reception area, playing Christmas tunes and spoiling the thousands of rescue dogs who are staying at the centres whilst they await new homes. Whilst other people are preparing the turkey, the staff at the centre will be hands on cleaning the kennels and walking the dogs. At lunchtime the staff bring out the Santa sacks filled with toys and gifts sent in from dog lovers all over the country. They go to each kennel and hand the dogs new toys and treats. The dogs are also treated to a Christmas supper before bedding down after a fun-filled day.
Dogs Trust carries out rigorous checks to ensure dogs in its care are rehomed for life to responsible families. However, with nearly 17,000 abandoned dogs per year coming through the charity’s doors, it is clear that people are still taking on the responsibility of dog ownership without enough consideration of what it entails. Many of these dogs are bought impulsively and discarded once the reality of the commitment needed sets in. It’s important to think carefully about the long term cost and responsibility involved before deciding to introduce a four-legged friend into your home and we hope people will heed this advice because ‘A dog is for life, not just for Christmas.’
How can you help over the Christmas season?
If you want to get involved with the Dogs Trust, there are many things going on over the Christmas period. The charity is taking a stand against impulse puppy purchasing by encouraging Brits to #GiveSocksNotDogs this Christmas, thus working to avoid the plight of puppies bought on a whim and neglected when the reality of commitment and cost kicks in.
You can also get in touch with your local Dogs Trust and ask whether they are short of anything for the little pooches.