For the 12th year running, animal welfare charity Mayhew teamed up with homelessness charity Crisis to help people and their pets living on the streets over the festive period.
As part of the annual event, vets and animal welfare officers provide care to the pets providing support and companionship to homeless people, while members of Crisis provide support and advice to the pets’ owners.
Dogs are given purpose-built temporary kennels and receive food, blankets, a warm coat, and a safety collar along with any emergency care they need.
Each pet is also given a full health check over the festive period to monitor any ongoing issues.
This might not sound like a huge deal – if someone’s homeless, why would they be bothered about their pet’s health and wellbeing?
But the truth is that a pet can provide homeless people with companionship and emotional support they so desperately need. Dogs can also provide protection from the dangers homeless people face on the streets.
It’s an important bond. Homeless people may turn down offers of housing as well as rehab opportunities simply because they’re not allowed to keep their pets.
So of course their beloved pet’s wellbeing is important – it’s why you’ll often see homeless people using what little money they have been given to buy their dog food before getting themselves something to eat.
Over the festive period, when it’s cold and loneliness can take an especially hard toll, it can be incredibly helpful for homeless pet owners to know there’s a place to go to ensure their dog is in good health, without the threat of judgement or the dog being taken away.
Deputy head of animal welfare at Mayhew, AJ Ford, said: ‘We support homeless people and their pets with care and advice all year round.
‘The Crisis at Christmas event is always special and we see many new and familiar people and their beloved animals.
‘All the dogs we’ve seen this year received full vet checks and some will be coming back into our onsite Community Vet Clinic for further treatment, for free, over the coming weeks.’
If you’d like to help out homeless people and their pets, you can make a donation to be split equally between Crisis and Mayhew, or buy a virtual gift for a homeless person or their dog, on the Mayhew website .