Dogs Trust releases phone calls of 'heartbroken' owners forced to give up pets
- Credit: Dogs Trust Snetterton
A dog welfare charity says the strain of the pandemic is forcing families to give up their pets, as it releases recordings from heartbroken owners.
Real phone calls made to the Dogs Trust's helpline by dog owners have been shared via a radio and video advert as part of the charity’s ongoing ‘Change the Tale’ campaign.
The calls demonstrate how the fallout from the pandemic is starting to place a strain on owners, as they struggle to continue to care for their dog.
Between August 2020 and January 2021, Dogs Trust saw a 41pc increase in web traffic to its ‘Giving Up Your Dog’ page compared to the six-month period beforehand.
The charity is now braced for an increased reliance on its services, caring for dogs in need.
In one call, a lady explains the pain of having to give up her dog having lost her job and home.
Other callers cite the burden of increased working hours, firm closures, house evictions and financial struggle.
But the Dogs Trust is encouraging people to seek advice if they feel they can no longer care for their pet.
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One dog called Brooklyn arrived at the Dogs Trust centre in Snetterton in December after her family had to make the heart-breaking decision to give her up.
Her owners were in the armed forces and Brooklyn was meant to be accompanying them in a move overseas, but Covid meant that was no longer possible.
Brooklyn now lives with Samantha and James May and their daughter Whitney near Swaffham.
Mrs May said: “Brooklyn is a brilliant dog who was clearly very well cared for by her previous family and really well trained.
“We lost our previous dog just before Christmas and we felt so empty without him so we started looking online to adopt. When we came across Brooklyn our hearts melted."
Emily Johnston, Dogs Trust Snetterton rehoming centre assistant manager, said:“It is so wonderful to know that Brooklyn has found her forever home, along with many other dogs that we have been able to change the tale for.
“We know that 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, for example, between a roof over their head, or their dog and we’d like to thank the people who made these calls for allowing us to share their story and 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.”
The charity provides a range of services to help keep dogs and their owners together, such as support for dog owners without a home and a unique fostering service for dog owners experiencing domestic abuse.
Dogs Trust Dog School provides easy to follow online videos helping dog owners tackle behaviours they are seeing as a result of lockdown that could eventually result in dogs having to be given up, such as separation anxiety.
The charity also offers the Canine Care Card, which guarantees that if an owner should pass away or become very unwell, their dog will be cared for by Dogs Trust.
If you are struggling and need advice or support to give up your dog, would like to know more about how Dogs Trust is helping keep dogs and owners together or if you would like to donate to Dogs Trust, please visit www.dogstrust.org.uk/changethetale.
You can watch Dogs Trust new advert on YouTube at https://youtu.be/ho_xY2-N6-4.