Adoptober: Huge demand for lockdown dogs sees RSPCA rehome 175 in West Yorkshire - but there arestill more that need a home
Dog rehoming soared during lockdown as families spending more time at home due to the pandemic and home-working sought the companionship of a four-legged friend.
New figures, released today by the RSPCA reveal that 4,877 dogs were rehomed in 2020, despite the Coronavirus pandemic and lockdown. In West Yorkshire the RSPCA rehomed 175 dogs in 2020.
RSPCA dog welfare expert Dr Samantha Gaines said: “At the beginning of lockdown we were concerned about how difficult it might be to rehome animals, especially as we had to pause all rehoming for several weeks until we were able to come up with a new rehoming model that adhered to the Government’s guidelines.
“Once we had approval from Defra to re-launch rehoming, we were staggered by the levels of interest we had in our animals; particularly our dogs. We saw an unprecedented level of interest in rehoming dogs from families who were spending more time at home and wanted the company of a furry friend.
“We had 68% more visits to the Find A Pet section of our website between March 23 - the first day of lockdown - and December 31 compared to the previous year; and views of our ‘rehoming a dog’ information spiked by 87%.
"Many of our centres received hundreds of applications for individual dogs and some canines were being snapped up before they’d even been advertised online.”
The charity launched virtual rehoming in order to continue rehoming animals while still sticking to the Government’s restrictions on social distancing and non-essential travel.
People were encouraged to apply for pets online and staff arranged video call interviews and meet and greets to match the right homes with the right people.
Dr Gaines said: “While most of our animals were snapped up quickly, there are some who have sadly been overlooked time and time again because of their colour, breed, age or background. This Adoptober, we want to try to find homes for all of the wonderful dogs who remain with us.”
The RSPCA rescues animals from the worst abuse and neglect and, by giving them a home, you are giving them a second chance at life. As part of our rehoming drive this October - called Adoptober - we want to shine a light on all of the dogs in our care and encourage people to adopt instead of shop.
“Our advice to anyone thinking of getting a dog is to do lots of research first to ensure that you can meet the needs of a dog. They are a huge commitment and responsibility, but they’re also a wonderful addition to the family and are sure to bring you lots of joy and happiness.
“Sadly we are expecting to see more dogs coming into our care over the following months as people who are beginning to return to work find their dogs may struggle to cope at home alone, or because families cannot cope with behavioural problems or the costs of getting ‘lockdown puppies’ who are now struggling to adapt to adolescent and adult life.
“Anyone who needs help with their pet should speak to their vet, a clinical animal behaviourist or head to our website for advice.”
Two dogs that are still searching for their forever home are Lady and Hagrid.
Lady: This lovely Staffordshire Bull Terrier cross is aged 13 but still young at heart and is currently in the care of RSPCA Halifax, Huddersfield and Bradford . She is a strong girl, but walks very nicely on a lead and enjoys her time outside. She is shy at first but once she knows you, is extremely affectionate.
Lady is hoping to find a wonderful, quiet home, where she can be the only pet - having all the attention for herself.
Lady doesn't like to be left for long periods, so a home where someone is around most of the day would be perfect for her. She must live in an adult only home, with no visiting children.
More details on Lady are available here
Hagrid: This sweet boy is a lively lurcher type aged 2 years-old who is looking for an active forever home. Hagrid is a sensitive soul who enjoys human company and would love to be the only dog in a house with a home-worker.
He is currently at RSPCA Leeds, Wakefield and district branch but in his forever home he would ideally like to be the only pet in the house so he can get all the love and attention.
He would need a secure garden because he loves to jump - in fact he gets so high you would think he was on a trampoline! He is a very intelligent boy who is always eager to learn and show off any new talents.
Once Hagrid trusts you he loves nothing more than playing and snuggling up on the sofa.
More details on Hagrid are available here For more information about Adoptober, visit www.rspca.org.uk/Adoptober and to see all the animals we have available for rehoming visit www.rspca.org.uk/findapet.
To help the RSPCA continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in desperate need of care please visit our website or call our donation line on 0300 123 8181.