An increased inclination amongst the public to rehome rescue dogs has been a positive side-effect of the recession, Dogs Trust said today (Thursday), as it reported the highest number of man-and-dog unions in one month since records began.
The UK’s largest dog welfare charity has speculated that the reason for this could be that while people are tightening their belts and ‘consuming’ less, they are placing greater value on a fulfilling home and family life.
Also, in practical terms, those who are considering getting a dog are perhaps choosing the more cost-effective option of rehoming a rescue dog instead of buying one from a breeder. People who are cancelling their gym membership may be thinking of the healthy active lifestyle that owning a dog promotes, and those who are holidaying more in the UK could be realising that dog ownership does not have to hamper their travel plans.
January saw 1,384 dogs successfully rehomed across Dogs Trust’s 17 UK Rehoming Centres – a significant increase on the previous record of 1,210 reported in September 2006.
February’s figure of 1,006 dogs rehomed, though slightly lower than the same time last year (1,083), is still the second best February on record for the charity, despite the very bad weather and fewer weekends in the month.
Families are also visiting the Dogs Trust’s Rehoming Centres in record numbers. The first two months of 2009 saw the most families ever (15,417) coming through the doors of the charity, another indication that people are pulling together in the current economic slump, and welcoming a dog as a positive addition to their family unit.
Dogs Trust CEO Clarissa Baldwin said:
“It seems that as times are getting tougher for people financially, they are seeking fulfilment in more real ways than just spending money, and it is very heartening for us as a charity that dogs appear to have a significant place in this thinking.
“You cannot place a price in pounds on the value that dogs add to our lives, and just as some people are handing their dogs to us because they feel they can no longer afford to keep them, many others are choosing to make the expenditure in return for the incalculable pleasure that canine companions bring.
“As our work is entirely funded by the dog-loving public, we are keen to emphasise that this increased activity, while very positive for us and the dogs in our care, means we need our supporters’ backing more than ever.”
Mark and Joanne Simpson recently decided to take on the responsibility of dog ownership for the first time. They visited Dogs Trust Darlington and took Labrador-cross puppy Bobby home on 22 February. Joanne said:
“Bobby is a gorgeous little dog – we are all so delighted we decided to give him a home. Being a dog owner is certainly more expensive than not being one, but our young children Sophia and Joshua had always wanted a dog and we just felt like it was the right time.
“Nobody can know what’s round the corner financially, but even though news of the economy is getting gloomier by the day, a happy home life is the most important thing to us anyway. If people are re-evaluating their priorities and also coming to that conclusion then I think that’s great! Bobby is a much-loved member of our family now. Having a puppy is a bit like having a baby again! You can’t put a price on that kind of thing!”