At any given time, there are an estimated 100,000 dogs without homes in the UK. And with the surge of ‘lockdown puppies’ being bought and abandoned shortly thereafter, this number is expected to increase by 40 per cent as a result.
Additionally, the strains of the coronavirus crisis have left many owners vulnerable and struggling to support themselves and their pet, at a time when their companionship is most needed.
Thankfully, there are numerous wonderful organisations working to care for animals that have been abandoned as well as owners who need support – and there are many ways in which you can help. Whether fostering, donating or welcoming a rescue pooch or cat into your home, here are just some of the charities you can reach out to:
The Duchess of Sussex is a patron of the Mayhew and other supporters include Louis Theroux, Chrissie Hynde and Joanna Lumley. The charity rehomes rescued dogs and cats, and also runs a Pet Refuge programme, offering care and shelter for animals belonging to people going through a crisis until they are able to be reunited. This winter, the charity is running a care-package appeal, asking for financial aid as well as donations of warm coats and food for the pets of people most in need.
In 1840, Queen Victoria gave her Royal approval to the RSPCA, and Queen Elizabeth II is a devoted supporter today. The charity was the first to introduce animal-welfare laws and continue working tirelessly to protect the wellbeing of creatures great and small, from horses and ponies to goats and guinea pigs. Along with sponsors and volunteers, the organisation also needs donations of unwanted animal toys and beds for local shelters.
Wild at Heart
Wild at Heart funds and manages rescue and adoption initiatives in the UK and across the world with the aim of enabling all dogs to live a happy and healthy life. Dedicated ambassadors of the charity include David Gandy and Pixie Geldof, and donations go a long way: £10 is enough to vaccinate a puppy, while £120 can feed a dog for a year.
The Dogs Trust
Protecting dogs for more than 125 years (and the Queen has been a patron since 1999), the Dogs Trust offers advice, rehoming support and canine training school. Though Coronavirus restrictions have made it far more difficult to rehome dogs, the charity has been working hard to rehabilitate their pooches where possible, but sponsorship (from £1 a week) and fostering are now more vital than ever.
Battersea Dogs and Cats Home
The Duchess of Cornwall supports Battersea Dogs and Cats Home as its patron, which has remained under Royal patronage since 1885. The organisation holds 7,000 homeless dogs and cats, and have many fundraising initiatives to get involved with, including raffles, challenges and auctions.
Launched in 1924 in response to the large number of abandoned and injured animals on the streets of London after World War I, Wood Green has grown into one of the largest animal charities in the UK, rehoming dogs, cats, small pets and those that live outdoors.
The Blue Cross
Protecting animals since 1897, the Blue Cross has adapted through the pandemic to keep vital services running; offering veterinary treatments, continuing to rehome where possible, working with foster carers and sharing coronavirus advice with pet-owners.
The Kennel Club Charitable Trust
This charity funds initiatives that enable dogs to live healthier, happier lives. In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Kennel Club Charitable Trust has launched an emergency fundraising drive to help small, local breed rescues across the UK.
These include the Hope Rescue in Wales, which has been supported by the KCCT to aid more than 480 dogs since the beginning of the crisis; German Shepherd Elite; Home Counties Boxer Welfare; and UK Westie Rehoming, all of which you can also donate to directly.