THE THOUGHT of a dog spending life in kennels will pull at the heart-strings of many – but animal lovers unable to offer a permanent home can help.
The Dogs Trust rescue centre in Kenilworth is calling on people to foster long-stay dogs and offer them a break from kennel life.
The new initiative – called Home from Home – gives people who can’t keep an animal permanently the chance to have a pet in their lives while preparing the dog for home life.
Here fosterer Rachel Mann from Stratford tells The Observer why she got involved.
Rachel has family commitments meaning she can’t have a full-time dog of her own.
But she has been caring for May, a seven-year-old Lurcher who needed time away from the kennels while she recovered from an operation.
“I decided to foster a dog because I couldn’t take one on full time,” she said. “It’s such a great thing to do and you really feel like you’re part of a team with Dogs Trust. They give you all the information you need and lots of tips about caring for a dog.
“May needed some time away from the rehoming centre in a home environment as she was recovering from an operation. It was so much fun looking after her, and from a personal perspective it was a really social experience.
“I met so many people when I was out and about. It’s been a wonderful thing to do and a real adventure, I’m looking forward to fostering my next dog.”
Carers can help a dog or puppy who has not had a good start in life enjoy a loving home for the first time, or even give an older dog who has been made homeless the chance to experience family life again.
And with the number of dogs coming to the centre on the up, the charity hope at least 50 dogs a year will be fostered for anytime between one week and nine months.
Carers will be provided with dog beds, toys, food and vet bills will be covered.
A spokeswoman told the Observer: “While the number of people wanting to own pets has dropped due to busy lifestyles, the number of dogs coming to the trust has increased due to the economy.
“Foster carers could be dog lovers who work away from home frequently or someone who is often abroad and can’t keep the dog permanently. Then there are teachers who have summer breaks and those who work from home and enjoy the companionship of a dog.
“We really are a nation of dog lovers and we need residents to help us care for the thousands of unwanted dogs we take in each year.
“We are often full to capacity and there will always be more dogs in need of our care. We hope the scheme will be a wonderful opportunity for our dogs to experience love away from kennels.”
One of the dogs at the Honiley centre looking for a new home is four-year-old Staffordshire Bull Terrier Cross Misty.
The pup is finding life in kennels stressful and staff are keen to find her a foster home while she waits to find permanent owners.
A trust spokeswoman said: “Misty is a very clever young lady and loves showing off her skills. She knows the majority of her basic training but would benefit from some further training in her foster home.
“She is looking for a quiet place to stay with understanding adult owners. A rural home away from loud noises would be idea for this lovely lady.”
To find out more about fostering call 01926 484 398 or visit the centre in Honiley.
* TAILS were wagging when Dogs Trust unveiled its new charity shop in Stratford.
Shoppers and their four-legged-friends took a look around the shop on Union Street which sells items including clothing, books and ornaments.
Shop manager Tracy Holdback said: “We are really excited to set up shop here and have been overwhelmed by the support of the local community.
“We still need more generous donations to keep our shelves full of wonderful items to sell.”
Call 01789 266370 or visit the shop to donate.