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 (11 October) by the RSPCA reveal that 4,877 dogs were rehomed in 2020, despite the Coronavirus pandemic and lockdown. In North Yorkshire the

RSPCA  rehomed 132 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 added: “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.”

APOLLO 

Apollo (aged 5)  is a super-smiley American Bull Terrier-cross dog currently in the care of the RSPCA’s Great Ayton Animal Centre and was put up for adoption in the summer. 

He  is a boisterous boy and very affectionate, he just forgets his own strength sometimes but has a lovely temperament. 

He walks well on a lead and is sociable with other dogs when he is out and about but he would prefer to be the only dog in the home to get all the attention and fuss. He would be suitable to live with older children. Apollo loves exercise and people – he is a fun-loving dog who is eager to please.

You can find out more information about Apollo at;

www.rspca.org.uk/local/great-ayton-animal-centre 

ZENA

Zena  is a really sweet natured American Bulldog who came to the York,  Harrogate and district RSPCA branch via an inspector after her needs were not being met. The 5 year-old is very friendly but does find new situations and meeting new people quite daunting and overwhelming.

■ Zena

Until she gets to know you she can be really quite shy and timid so patience and understanding are a must but once you have earned Zena’s trust she is just an absolute angel who loves nothing more than spending time with you and getting as much fuss as she possibly  can. 

Her two most favourite things in life are fuss and food with walks being her third. Zena has so much love to offer a new family. Unfortunately Zena does suffer with hip dysplasia and spondylosis of her spine, she is on daily pain relief for this.  She will need an adult-only home and will need to be the only pet in the home. You can find more information about Zena at;

www.rspca-yorkhome.org.uk/adopt-an-animal/zena 

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.

Dr Gaines added: “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.”

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
www.rspca.org.uk or call our donation line on 0300 123 8181.

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