As the most depressing month of the year comes to an end, Dogs Trust Leeds believes it has the solution to feeling lonely with the launch of their dog fostering scheme.
The launch follows a recent survey conducted by Dogs Trust which revealed 43% of people could not permanently care for a dog and 29% could not afford a dog. Almost half (46%) of non-dog owners polled in the region said they may consider temporarily fostering a dog as a way to combat loneliness.
The Home from Home scheme looks to find loving temporary foster homes for dogs in the charity's care, and offers a mutual benefit to both dog and fosterer. 76% of people surveyed in the region admitted caring for a dog had a positive impact upon their wellbeing.
Home From Home Co-ordinator for the region Joy Corrie, said, "Spending time with a dog won’t cure all your problems but it could certainly make you happier, so we hope people will consider fostering a dog. We have lots of dogs of all shapes and sizes looking for temporary carers varying from older dogs who need some extra TLC, litters of puppies, dogs recovering from illness and those who simply cope better in a home environment.
"Dogs Trust cover all fees and foster carers can go on to adopt their foster dog permanently should they wish. The average stay for a dog in a foster home is three to four weeks, although some dogs can be fostered up to eight months and some for just a weekend."
Of the 2,000 people questioned, 59% of people in the region admitted to feeling lonely at some point during the course of 2016. But the good news for dog owners is that their four legged friend can help – with 94% of dog owners polled saying their dog made them less lonely and 97% saying their dog made them happier.
Emma Cooper, Assistant Manager at Dogs Trust Leeds, last year fostered four-week old blind Chihuahua Cross Pikachu. Looking back on the experience she said, "Pikachu had been rejected by her mum so the owner had been hand rearing her and then brought her into us. She was absolutely tiny. I took her home and looked after her for eight weeks, getting up several times a night to feed her and check she was OK.
"Thankfully she proved to be a resilient little thing and is now thriving in her forever home. Although I work with dogs every day there is something very special about taking a dog into your own home to help them on their way and do whatever it takes to make sure that ultimately they are able to be adopted and live life to the full with their forever family."
Credit: Dogs Trust