THE CHRISTMAS elves at Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, are busy getting ready to spread Christmas cheer across Scotland by delivering gifts to the canine companions of people experiencing homelessness.
Every Christmas, through its Together Through Homelessness scheme, Dogs Trust brings festive cheer to the dogs of people experiencing homelessness by delivering canine hampers of collars, leads, coats, treats and toys to dogs and their owners. Dogs Trust has been running the unique service for over 30 years and as well as Christmas gifts, provides free veterinary treatment to dogs whose owners are experiencing or are at risk of homelessness.
In recent months Together Through Homelessness have seen an 82% rise in phone enquiries, as Crisis Homelessness Monitor 2023 shows that homelessness is on the rise in the UK.
This year, Together Through Homelessness will deliver almost 2,000 Christmas parcels to dogs and their owners at over 215 homelessness services across the UK. Services in Scotland that benefited from the scheme include Scottish Veterans Residences, Simon Community, All4Paws, The Salvation Army, Big Issue and Right There.
Richard Kerr of Streetwork at Simon Community Scotland, said:
“The hampers from Dogs Trust benefit the people we are working with massively. It is a great idea and gives our clients and their dogs an experience that they might otherwise not have. The people we work with are generally very attached to their animals and create very strong bonds with their companions as in some cases they don’t have anyone in their lives that they can rely on for companionship. I know this support means a lot to our clients.”
Megan Evans, Together Through Homelessness Team Leader at Dogs Trust, explained:
“Everyone knows that the bond between a dog and its owner is a strong one but for people experiencing homelessness, the bond is often unbreakable. Christmas can be an especially difficult and lonely time for people in housing crisis, but the company of a canine friend can often help to ease some of this loneliness.”
“However, thanks to the generosity of Dogs Trust supporters, this year we’ll spread a little bit of Christmas cheer and help almost 2,000 dogs celebrate Christmas with their best friends. Not only that, but we will be able to continue to support them into the New Year and beyond so that more dogs can stay with their owners, regardless of their housing situation”.
As well as distributing Christmas hampers and offering free veterinary treatments Together Through Homelessness supports homelessness services to accept clients with dogs and helps them put in place practical guidelines.
To support Dogs Trust Together Through Homelessness and help dogs and their owners who are experiencing homelessness, visit www.dogstrust.org.uk/how-we-help/hope-project/donate