The organisation, who in 2016 cared for over 15,000 dogs in its 21 UK centres, are urging the British public to remember our iconic slogan ‘A dog is for life, not just for Christmas®’ after a year of bizarre reasons offered by people giving up their dog.
To bring the message home they have created “Why I left you,” a video with a twist which highlights the carefree attitude which people sadly display towards dog ownership.
Following Christmas last year, the charity received a call every five minutes (3,596 calls) from people looking to give up their dogs. Here are just some of the reasons:
“I won a free holiday and I couldn’t take my dogs with me.”
“I’m a vegetarian but he always wanted to eat meat.”
“I got him as a secret Santa present.”
“She was too friendly and wanted to greet every dog and human we met on a walk.”
“He was panting too much.”
“He didn’t like it when we played dress up.”
“She sleeps in her own bed all night – I thought she would want to sleep in my bed.”
The slogan, first coined nearly 40 years ago, seems to be as relevant today as in the 1970s as a new survey reveals 20 per cent of dog owners spend less than two weeks researching before buying a dog and 1 in 5 people confessed to buying a dog simply because it was a cute accessory.
The survey also revealed that one in ten people admit to buying or receiving a dog as a Christmas gift.
The dog owning public also significantly underestimated the financial cost of dog ownership with 70 per cent believing their dog will cost them less than the actual cost of £10,000 during its lifetime.
Following a staggering 1,000 calls during Christmas week last year from people unable to care for their dogs (200 of these specifically about puppies) the network of 20 Rehoming Centres in the UK are bracing themselves as they expect to take in thousands of dogs in the weeks following the festive period.
Adrian Burder, Chief Executive for Dogs Trust, who rehomed abandoned Christmas pup Skipper in 2014, explains:
“Dogs Trust take in thousands of much loved dogs from heartbroken owners who sadly find themselves unable to continue to care for their dogs due to unavoidable changes in their circumstances so it’s particularly hard for staff when they see the other end of the spectrum; dogs handed in simply because their owner’s bought them on a whim and consider them little more than toys to be discarded when the novelty wears off.
“We really hope this Christmas is the year our nation of animal lovers finally takes heed of our slogan ‘A dog is for life, not just for Christmas’ and we don’t see dogs discarded because their owners have not considered the lifetime commitment of dog ownership.”
The charity are urging anyone considering getting a dog to ensure they do their research to find a dog compatible with their lifestyle, so they are fully aware of the realities of caring for a dog for the duration of its lifetime.