Photographs courtesy of Dogs Trust
Christmas is coming, and Ann Evans joins Dogs Trust in reminding everyone that a dog is for life, not just for Christmas.
With Christmas approaching, Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, is urging the public not to buy or give dogs as presents. They recently pointed out that new statistics show online searches for puppies shoot up by 44% in the countdown to Christmas.
The charity’s plea comes as it launches its first ever Christmas TV advert, which features a puppet dog who brings to life the message behind its famous slogan A dog is for life, not just for Christmas.
After analysing online search trends, the charity found that:
Online searches of the phrase ‘buy a puppy’ increased by 44% from 95,659 to 137,499 a week before Christmas last year, compared to the yearly average.
Online searches to ‘get a dog’ increased by nearly 27% from 357,779 to 452,656 two weeks before Christmas, compared to the yearly average.
Worryingly, online searches for people wanting to give up their dog also peaked in January.
On average, Dogs Trust receives one call every six minutes from people wanting to give up their dog. While people give up dogs for all sorts of reasons, the charity is encouraging people to make sure they’re ready for the commitment.
Dogs Trust Chief Executive, Owen Sharp, says:
“These figures show that people still think to buy a dog in the rush before Christmas. It’s very easy to pick a puppy at the click of a button but dogs don’t come with a gift receipt.
“We take calls all year round from people who feel they have no choice but to give up their dog. It can be heart-breaking, even if an owner knows they are doing the right thing.
“Dog ownership is wonderful, and we aren’t saying don’t get a dog, we’re just asking that people are sure they are ready for the long-term commitment that comes with it.
“We hope this year our message A dog is for life, not just for Christmas, comes across loud and clear.”
Dogs Trust has a network of 21 rehoming centres across the UK and Ireland, caring for over 15,000 dogs every year. The charity relies on support from the general public in many ways, such as through donations of money, leaving a legacy in your will, sponsoring a dog, helping with fund raising, taking part in their postcode lottery, as well as donations of dog food, treats, toys and blankets, and of course helping with dog walking and fostering.
At this time of the year, many Centres will be having a Christmas Fayre, raising money to continue their amazing work. The Fayres offer fun, raffles, tombola, stalls and sometimes a visit from Santa Paws. Why not check out your nearest Centre and support the amazing work of your local Dogs Trust. All of the Centres holding a Christmas Fair would welcome items for their tombola and raffles etc.
For example, Dogs Trust Darlington hold their annual Christmas Fayre over the weekend of November 30th – December 1st. Gordon Norrie, Supporter Relations Officer at Darlington said: “Our slogan is ‘A dog is for life, not just for Christmas’ but unfortunately many dogs find themselves without a home and at least 60 will be with us on Christmas Day this year. Our Christmas Fair is a key event for us as it raises much needed funds so we can give the dogs everything they need at Christmas and every day they are with us.”
Dogs Trust Salisbury hold their Christmas Fair on Saturday 30th November. Support Relations Officer at Salisbury, Lucy Hooper added: “The Christmas Fair is one of our main fundraising events of the year and it’s always a great day for everyone who comes along. Every penny raised makes sure we can give our dogs everything they need throughout the year, not just at Christmas, whilst they wait for their forever homes.”
While Dogs Trust Glasgow will be hosting a Christmas Café and Santa Paws event on Saturday 23rd November. There will be an opportunity for visitors to get their pet’s photograph taken with Santa ‘Paws’ and take home a gift from their visit.
In aid of the event, the Glasgow team as well as Dogs Trusts up and down the country are on the lookout for donations of toys, blankets and tinned food on the day. All proceeds from the day will go towards the continued support of the many dogs in the care of the Rehoming Centres over the festive period.
Emma-Louise Livingstone, Supporter Relations Officer at Dogs Trust Glasgow, said: “We are very excited because this is our first Christmas Café and Santa Paws event. Supporters are being invited to come along and take part in some festive cheer in aid of our canine residents; and all funds from the day go towards the continued care of our dogs. Attendees can take part in our raffle and tombola, as well as getting the opportunity to purchase a range of Dogs Trust merchandise. “We look forward to seeing lots of familiar faces such as ex-Dogs Trust residents and their families.”
For full details of what’s happening at your local Dogs Trust rehoming centre and news nationally, please visit: www.dogstrust.org.uk, and to watch and share Dogs Trust’s advert, and for advice on dog ownership go to: www.dogstrust.org.uk/adogisforlife