The Dogs Trust has spoken about its ongoing support for homelessness organisations and homeless dog owners amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
For over 25 years, the charity’s Hope Project has been supporting homeless dog owners across the UK.
In the past two weeks alone, however, its website, which is dedicated to helping homeless hostels welcome dogs, has seen a 154% increase in visits compared to the same period last month.
Despite rough sleepers being supported by hotel and emergency accommodation during the pandemic, the charity warned that many homeless owners were unlikely to move into alternative accommodation if they can’t take their dog with them.
To ensure as many dogs and their owners remain together during the outbreak, Dogs Trust has now adapted its Welcoming Dogs Scheme to provide support and guidance on how hotels and other temporary accommodation can accept and manage dogs.
The charity is also launching additional support to homelessness organisations and accommodation by supplying emergency dog food and essential items like leads, collars and bedding, which can be delivered directly to the hotel or accommodation providers.
It is also providing free emergency vet care for any dogs should they become unwell, as well as support with transportation to the vet practice.
The charity will also offer temporary boarding, via private boarding kennels, for dogs belonging to homeless people if they need to access hospital treatment during this time.
Clare Kivlehan, head of Dogs Trust outreach projects said: “People experiencing homelessness, particularly those who are rough sleeping, are thought to be more at risk of contracting the virus, as many have underlying health conditions and would find it difficult to follow government advice around self-isolating at home.
“The government’s ‘Everyone In’ operation will be a lifeline for many, but during these turbulent times, it’s more important than ever that homeless people and their dogs remain together.”
He added: “Dogs can often provide much needed companionship, comfort and normality throughout what is such a lonely, uncomforting, and abnormal situation. We are be supporting hotels and homelessness organisations, and housing providers to help make sure this happens.
“Dogs Trust has been in contact with the 346 homelessness organisations that we work closely with, through our Hope Project, to ensure that we are supporting homeless dog owners and helping to keep people and their pets together.”