Dog owners reveal anguish of having to give up their pets in new Dogs Trust advert

A heartbreaking new advert from Dogs Trust highlights the anguish of owners who have had to give up their dogs during the pandemic.

Wednesday, 24th February 2021, 12:01 am

Launched today, the tear-jerking advert features real phone calls made to the helpline by dog owners who have been impacted in different ways due to Covid-19.

Lives have been turned upside down and in one call, a woman explains the pain of having to give up her dog after losing her job and her home. Others cite the burden of increased working hours, business closures, house evictions and financial struggles.

Adel Burnett, manager at Dogs Trust Shoreham, the rehoming centre for Sussex, said: “When people take on the responsibilities of dog ownership, they do so with the best intentions to care for them long-term. But as the calls to Dogs Trust show, in these extraordinary times, circumstances can change in a heartbeat, leaving owners with incredibly tough decisions to make.

“It is heartbreaking to hear someone having to choose, for example, between a roof over their head or their dog, and we’d like to thank the people who made these calls for allowing us to share their story and for coming to us in their time of need.”

At Dogs Trust Shoreham, seven spaniel pups, Spud, Parsnip, Sausage, Chestnut, Cranberry, Sprout and Pud, were taken in at eight-week-olds in December.

This was an unplanned litter and the owner could not cope, so contacted the charity for help.

Once the pups had settled in, staff began teaching them basic skills, such as how to sit and wear a collar and lead.

Sausage, Parnsip, Pud, Spud, Cranberry and Chestnut at Dogs Trust Shoreham

It did not take long to find new homes and all seven were settled in in time for Christmas.

Spud, now called George, was adopted by Fiona Box and her partner, who live in Worthing with their two chickens.

Fiona said: “George is a typical puppy – when he’s good, he’s very, very good and when he’s bad, he’s naughty.

“He likes to chew on anything that is my favourite really, my favourite rug, cushions, spectacles.

Spud, now called George, in his new home

“Despite trying to eat absolutely everything in sight, he is utterly adorable. He’s great with other dogs and enjoys regular walks with his four-legged-friends, and takes everything in his stride.”

Between August 2020 and January 2021, the charity has seen a 41 per cent increase in web traffic to its ‘giving up your dog’ page, compared to the previous six months, indicating that more people are considering parting with their pet at the moment.

The new advert is part of the ongoing Change the Tale campaign. As the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, Dogs Trust is encouraging owners to seek help if they are struggling to care for their dog in the fallout from the new coronavirus.

Adel added: “It is so wonderful to know that George has found his forever home, along with many other dogs that we have been able to change the tale for, thanks to people like the Box family choosing to adopt.

Sausage playing at the Dogs Trust Shoreham rehoming centre

“We know that the pandemic and its economic repercussions will have devastating effects on some people’s lives and their ability to care for their pets.

“Unfortunately, we believe the worst is yet to come and we expect many more calls like this as the pandemic fallout continues - and we will do all we can to help those in need of our support.”

Visit www.dogstrust.org.uk/changethetale for more information about the Change the Tale campaign.