2010 is a year that always sticks in my mind. The RSPCA announced the shocking statistic that three dogs were abandoned every hour over Christmas. There’s a similar story every December as a percentage of pets bought as presents are returned or left without a home.
Over 30 years after it launched the iconic slogan ‘A Dog’s For Life, Not Just For Christmas®’ the The Dogs Trust is taking to the streets to drive its message home. The charity has commissioned outdoor artworks that will go on display in cities across the country. Each one depicts something a real pet owner said to the organisation’s staff when asking them to take in a dog. The comments were drawn from The Dogs Trusts 20 UK rehoming centres.
Described as ‘unbelievable reasons’ by The Dogs Trust, these excuses for abandonment included ‘he looked different after we walked him in the rain’, ‘he wags his tail too much’ and ‘he kept chasing frogs’. Along with other comments, they will be the centre point of street art in London, Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow, Manchester, Newcastle, Leeds, Nottingham, Birmingham, Cardiff, Bristol, Reading and Brighton.
Giles Webber, responsible for rehoming at Dogs Trust’s 20 rehoming centres said: ‘With more and more puppies flooding the Christmas market, all available at the click of a button – it is more essential than ever that our iconic message ‘A Dog is For Life, Not Just For Christmas®’ is ingrained in people’s minds. We hope that this visually striking campaign will encourage people to think twice about the commitment of dog ownership before impulsively buying a puppy. Our aim is to ensure that the artwork will be the only abandoned dogs the British public will see on their streets this Christmas period.’
Retailers and members of the trade hear all too many stories of abandonment. So many industry professionals urge potential pet owners to ensure they can care for a pet and suggest a ‘cooling off’ period before the animal is collected. Sadly, these suggestions are not always heeded. We all hope that The Dogs Trust campaign and industry advice take root this year, leaving pets with happy homes after Christmas.