Dogs Trust will this year hand out a record 80 hampers to dogs whose owners are either homeless or in housing crisis this Christmas - a 45% increase on last year.
Every Christmas, through its Hope Project, the charity brings some festive cheer to homeless owners and their dogs by distributing canine hampers of collars, leads, coats, treats and toys.
A spokesman for the Trust said that, in Edinburgh, a total of 80 dogs are due to be helped with hampers this winter compared to 55 last year.
This year has seen an increase in requests for help, with 193 hostels and homeless organisations across the country getting in touch – six in Edinburgh alone.
The increase means the team will deliver more hampers than ever as homelessness in the UK continues to rise. According to Shelter there are now 320,000 homeless people in the UK, a 4% increase since last year.
Clare Kivlehan, head of Dogs Trust Outreach Projects, said: “Everyone knows that the bond between a dog and its owner is a strong one but for anyone experiencing any sort of housing crisis their dog can often be their only friend.
“As temperatures drop, and with Christmas being a potentially difficult and lonely time, we’re delighted to be able to distribute these hampers. Sadly, numbers of people rough sleeping or experiencing housing crisis has continued to rise so much so that we’re set to send out 100 more hampers than last Christmas, but this means we can reach nearly 1,500 dogs and their owners this year.”
The Hope Project also provides year-round support to dogs’ owners who are either homeless or experiencing housing crisis, by offering free veterinary treatments to dogs.
The project also works with homelessness hostels and day centres to encourage them to accept clients with dogs.
Homelessness organisations or veterinary surgeries interested in finding out more information about the scheme should call Dogs Trust on 020 7837 0006 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit dogstrusthopeproject.org.uk.
Dogs Trust is the UK’s largest dog welfare charity and cares for over 15,000 stray and abandoned dogs each year across its network of 21 rehoming centres in the UK and Ireland.
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