DOGS Trust Kenilworth believes the ‘worst is yet to come’ despite the charity seeing a 40 per cent increase in web traffic to its ‘giving up your dog’ page.
Between August 2020 and January 2021 the charity saw a huge rise in people needing to give up their dog compared to the six months prior.
And based on trends seen during the last recession Dogs Trust is braced for an increase in owners handing over their dogs.
An advert by the charity urges those struggling to cope to ‘change the tale’ by calling its helpline for advice.
A woman who features in the advert – which uses phone call recordings – explains how she has to give up her dog after losing her house and her job, others cite the burden of increased working hours, firm closures, house evictions and financial struggles.
Dogs Trust has released these calls to shed light on the struggles that more owners could face in the months and years ahead. The charity is encouraging people to seek advice if they feel they can no longer care for their pet.
Kenilworth branch assistant manager James Ackner said: “We know the pandemic and its economic repercussions will have devastating effects on some people’s lives and their ability to care for their pets. When people take on the responsibilities of dog ownership, they do so with the best intentions to care for them long-term. But as the calls to Dogs Trust show, in these extraordinary times circumstances can change in a heartbeat, leaving owners with incredibly tough decisions to make.
“It is heart-breaking to hear someone having to choose between a roof over their head, or their dog and we’d like to thank the people who made these calls for coming to us in their time of need. Unfortunately, we believe the worst is yet to come and we expect many more calls like this as the pandemic fallout continues – and we will do all we can to help those in need of our support.”
One dog that Dogs Trust Kenilworth is working to change the tale for is eight-year-old German Shepherd, Puck.
He was a much-loved family pet, but due to a change in circumstances which meant they felt they could no longer give him everything he needed, his owners took the decision to hand Puck over in January.
James added: “The family had had Puck since he was a puppy and he is a gorgeous boy. They had done a lot of great training with him and he knows an incredible amount of tricks as well as all the basics such as sit, lie down, stand – and he will walk by your side on command too. He is staying in a lovely home with one of our volunteer foster carers and he’s doing brilliantly, but we really hope it won’t be long before we find him his forever home.”
Puck would suit a home with adults and no other pets and would prefer to live in a rural location.
The charity is providing a range of services to help keep dogs and their owners together.
This includes support for dog owners without a home and fostering for dog owners experiencing domestic violence.
It is also offering online dog training sessions through its Dog School.
Visit www.dogstrust.org.uk/changethetale for more information.