Sadly, if there’s one thing we know to expect each January (apart from the faulty bathroom scales!), it’s that pet rescue centres and animal charities will see an influx of rehoming requests. Despite the annual pleas to the contrary, some people still buy dogs and cats as Christmas presents without preparing properly for all the adjustments required to the household, and without understanding that new pets require time, love, effort and patience in order to settle.
One West Yorkshire animal shelter received their first call on Boxing Day, concerning a Cairn terrier bought on a whim for £700 on Christmas Eve. Shocking. The centre’s owner reports that she usually takes around 40 calls a day asking for her to admit dogs, but in the run up to Christmas, and throughout January, this rises to a staggering 70 calls a day.
In South Lincolnshire, the Jerry Green rescue centre reports a recent trend towards older animals being dumped, possibly they have been replaced with younger pets for Christmas and the owners do not want the responsibility of increased medical bills that can accompany these loyal older animals.
And in Northern Ireland, the same sad picture can be found. It is not uncommon for centres to be operating waiting lists as they are at capacity after a post-Christmas surge in admissions. The Grove Hill Animal Trust are asking owners thinking about giving up their pet to consider other options, such as enlisting the help of a dog sitter or walker, or speaking with their vet for behavioural advice.
It’s heart breaking to witness the same sad stories playing out over and over again unnecessarily. Of course there will always be occasions where rehoming a much-loved pet is the kindest thing – when the owner becomes too ill or infirm to attend to its needs for example. If you find yourself in this position, there are lots of places where you can find further help and advice including from the Blue Cross, and judgments will not be made when pets are rehomed responsibly.
Of course you may be in a position to offer a loving home to an abandoned animal, in which case a quick online search will share lots of local options. Good luck!
With very best wishes from Shailen and The Ralph Site team