Christmas can be an incredibly difficult time of year for a homeless person and their dog, but charities are working hard to make sure they are not separated.
As well as offering temporary shelter over the Christmas period, dogs brought in by their homeless owner will be able to stay in specially built, temporary kennels, where they'll have their own pen and plenty of of comfortable bedding. The dogs will be supervised and cared for by Crisis volunteers, while Mayhew's expert team give them a thorough health check and preventative veterinary care. Mayhew also offer advice and assistance to owners on caring for their dog while they also receive help and support from Crisis.
For homeless people, a dog can be their only companion but the expense of food and vet bills puts an extra burden on people who are already in a vulnerable situation.
Mayhew's Animal Welfare Officers offer all homeless dog owners free general health checks and microchipping and also provide light up safety collars with tags and leads, jackets for the dogs in the winter months, dog food, treats, toys and poo bags.
Mayhew’s Head of Animal Welfare, Zoe Edwards, said, "We work with the homeless and their dogs all year round and we are honoured to help and support Crisis at Christmas again this year. We have built a great relationship with Crisis and work closely with their volunteers to make sure that they are trained to handle the homeless guests’ dogs and their needs.
"In this job you deal with a lot of situations where the owner is going through a hard time and just needs some support and advice to help them with their animal. We strive to help and support vulnerable people in need with their pets – and ultimately keep the owner and animal together."
Ian Richards, Head of Crisis at Christmas, said, "If our guests know their dog is safe they feel able to access services themselves. We are looking forward to working in partnership with Mayhew to deliver another great year."
As well as supporting Crisis at Christmas, Mayhew's Animal Welfare Officers visit 15 homeless centres regularly each year and work with other organisations to provide support and advice to homeless people.