Welcome to Wag

Welcome to your winter Wonderwag!

In this issue, we share news of Benny, the former sponsor dog who's finally found his forever home after spending four years in our care.

We’ve got top tips on helping your dog cope with noisy fireworks and lip-smacking pumpkin and peanut butter dog treats to bake for your BFF on Hallowe’en.

Plus great Christmas gift ideas for the dogs and dog-lovers in your life. Don’t miss the PitPat activity monitor for dogs – and a very special offer just for you.

And find out how we're changing the tale for so many dogs during the pandemic, including Willow.

We hope you enjoy this issue of Wag. Have a great autumn and we'll see you again in the spring!


Team Wag
Deana, Jordan, Amy, Jess, Emma

Fido friendlier fireworks 

Illustration, a dog lies under a coffee table with a blanket over it. Their owner is sitting beside them on a chair, offering a small treat in her hand. The radio is playing music. Fireworks are going off outside the window.

Help your dog feel safe and calm this firework season

Help your dog feel safe and calm this firework season


It seems likely that major public firework displays will be cancelled this autumn because of coronavirus. While this may be a relief for many dog owners, it could also mean that more people buy fireworks to use at home.

Here are some things you can do to keep your pooch as calm as possible if someone sets off fireworks near your home.

Create a safe hiding place  

Build your pal a cosy den in a quiet spot. Being able to hide away may help them feel safer when they hear fireworks. Under a table or bed works perfectly.

Go for walkies before it gets dark  

Pop out for a long walk well before any fireworks could start. This will help your dog to be calm in the evening and avoid too many toilet breaks when things get loud.

Feed them before it gets noisy   

Once fireworks begin, your dog might be too stressed to eat.  

Settle your dog in before fireworks start 

Being in safe and familiar surroundings can help your pooch cope with unexpected loud noises. Once fireworks start, let your dog decide if they want to play or hide away. 

Make your house and garden escape-proof  

Dogs can try to run away if they’re scared. Close your windows and curtains, turn the lights on, and try switching on the TV to help disguise the noise.  

Comfort your dog   

Your dog is extremely good at picking up on how you’re feeling. If you stay calm, they'll be more likely to stay calm. So, have a snuggle on the sofa (if they’re into that), pop your favourite film on and relax.

Don't leave them alone  

Your dog could panic without their best friend, so stick around for the evening to help them feel relaxed.   

Provide entertainment   

Keeping your dog busy indoors can take their mind off the noise. You can play games with them or practise some reward-based training. But if they just want to hide away, that’s OK too. Don’t make them come out of their safe space if they don’t want to. 


Trick or treat!

Treat your four-legged pal to these Pumpkin and Peanut butter Spookies.

Ingredients

  • 65g oats
  • 35g pure pumpkin (fresh)
  • 30g peanut butter (xylitol free)

Method

Preheat the oven to 150°C.

Add the oats to a food processor, or use a stick blender, to create a fine flour. Set your oats to one side.

Use the food processor, or stick blender, to blend your pumpkin until smooth.

Add the pumpkin, oats and peanut butter into a bowl. Mix into a firm dough.

Roll your dough out until it is about 2cm thick and cut out the treats using your favourite cookie cutter.

Add the treats onto a non-stick tray and pop in the oven for 30-40 minutes.

Warning: only use xylitol free peanut butter.

A handsome brindle lurcher is looking through a pink car tyre. He is in a dog playground.
A brindle dog is looking straight towards you, he wears a yellow bandanna with the Dogs Trust logo.
A brindle dog wearing a yellow Dogs Trust bandanna stands in the doorway of a house.  He looks very happy.  A woman wearing a red t-shirt and blue jeans stands beside the dog, her left hand is resting on his back. She is smiling broadly.
A brindle lurcher wearing a black harness stands on grass beside a small pile of pumpkins.
A brindle lurcher is standing on grass looking straight at the camera. he looks alert and happy. He is wearing a Dogs Trust branded black and yellow harness, collar and tag.ess and collar ad tag.

Four years for a
forever home

It’s been a long wait, but sponsor dog Benny the lurcher has finally found his new family

Benny’s new home is impressive. He has his own chaise longue, and, alongside polishing off regular dog food, enjoys tucking into the occasional roast chicken dinner.

But for this nine-year-old, it’s been a long road from stray to sponsor dog to much-loved pet. In fact, it’s taken four years for Benny to arrive at his chicken-and-chaise-longue dream life.

One nippy morning in January 2016, Benny bounced into our Shoreham centre. Found as a stray in Ireland, tiger-striped Benny had already been homed at a different organisation before being brought to Dogs Trust. Over the four years we cared for Benny, he was rehomed by us but then given up again.

However, at Dogs Trust, we never put down a healthy dog. Even if a dog has behavioural problems, is a little older or is a breed that’s not right for everyone, we’ll still care for them. And we never gave up hope that one day we could find owners who understood Benny’s needs.

In July, Benny found his forever home with Malcolm McPhee and his partner Jem. The couple connected with Benny through our sponsor a dog scheme. But after just one payment they knew Benny belonged with them.

"My partner, Jem, kept looking at Benny and no matter what other dog pictures she saw, she kept going back to him" says Malcolm.

"He looked like a happy, cheeky boy who needed love."
- Malcolm

To help his new owners get to know Benny, we arranged a socially distanced meeting. "We met him and never looked back" confirms Malcolm. From then on, Dogs Trust Shoreham helped the couple get ready to welcome Benny into their home.

"Malcolm and Jem were provided with training as they made visits to the centre to build a bond with Benny – his carer watching from a distance."
- Vicky Grylls, operations manager at our Shoreham centre

Adds Malcolm, "it took around nine appointments across 11 weeks." That may seem like a long time but both owners and dog appreciated it.

"It was really nice getting to know Benny slowly," explains Malcolm, "because he started to remember us – and the welcome from him was energetic!"

Next, our staff took Benny to see his new home. As lurchers are extremely athletic we recommended that the couple built up their fencing.  We checked Benny’s walk areas; the lucky lurcher now has five green fields to choose from.  

Adds Malcolm, "on his first home visit, we took him over to the field opposite and he loved it – he was sniffing and exploring everywhere".

As Benny isn’t too keen on other dogs, we did more training and supervised his first outings.

"Training was really good to see his reaction to different-sized dogs" says Malcolm. "The main advice was to always bring lots of treats and carry on using key words." And the treats and training have paid off.       

"We’ve taken Benny out many times and seen other dogs. Mostly he has a look, then carries on with whatever he’s doing," confirms Malcolm.

These days Benny’s a lot calmer and is now the perfect companion. He even enjoys a beach and pub day trip.

"Adopting Benny was the best thing we ever did – it’s brought us closer together and our whole world is Benny."
- Jem

Sponsors save lives

Across our UK centres, we care for more than 1,700 stray dogs at a time.

We try and rehome them within six weeks, but there’s always a new dog to take their place. In fact, last year we cared for around 15,000 dogs.

As you can imagine, that’s a lot of treats, training, vet care and bedding to look after. We’re not government-funded, so we rely entirely on your generous donations. 

A brown and white Springer Spaniel with curly ear fur looks straight at you.  His mouth is open and tongue is hanging out.

Sponsor dog Boris.

Sponsor dog Boris.

How does dog sponsorship work? For £1 a week, you can help provide the essentials for one of our dogs to give them the home they deserve. You also receive three updates a year, so you know exactly how your money’s being spent.

As you’ve seen from Benny’s story, it can take time to find a home. That’s certainly the case where dogs have behavioural needs and require extra help and care. Some may not be suitable for adoption.

However, we never put a healthy dog down. We will always care for them. That’s why we appreciate your long-term support through our dog sponsor scheme.


Readers' dogs

We love seeing pictures of, and reading all about our readers' dogs living their best lives.

Below is a selection of some of our favourites from the last issue of Wag.

We couldn't fit in every picture we enjoyed as there simply isn't enough room!

If you'd like us to feature a picture of your Dogs Trust dog in the next edition of digital Wag, pop us over a picture using the button below.

A black Greyhound is running towards you.  His mouth is open and tongue hangs out the side.

Blink and you’ll miss her! Doris is a five year old Greyhound rehomed by Elske and Michael earlier this year from our Harefield centre. She’s now enjoying her retirement in the glorious Cambridgeshire countryside where she likes nothing better than to stretch her long legs on a sunny day.

Blink and you’ll miss her! Doris is a five year old Greyhound rehomed by Elske and Michael earlier this year from our Harefield centre. She’s now enjoying her retirement in the glorious Cambridgeshire countryside where she likes nothing better than to stretch her long legs on a sunny day.

A woman sits on some grass, holding a small white and brown terrier in her arms.

This very happy chappie is four year old Milo from our Kenilworth centre. Photographed here with owner Brian’s daughter Frances, it’s fair to say he landed well and truly on all four paws with his new adoring family.

This very happy chappie is four year old Milo from our Kenilworth centre. Photographed here with owner Brian’s daughter Frances, it’s fair to say he landed well and truly on all four paws with his new adoring family.

A medium-sized black dog with long wiry fur looks straight at you. They have bushy eyebrows. They are wearing a yellow Dogs Trust branded bandanna.

Sadly recently passed away, much missed Murphy was rehomed as a puppy by Mark and Barbara from our Salisbury centre. He led a full and happy life, with many beach holidays which he loved – especially playing in the water. He’s photographed here at his local dog show, proudly and stylishly wearing his Dogs Trust bandana.

Sadly recently passed away, much missed Murphy was rehomed as a puppy by Mark and Barbara from our Salisbury centre. He led a full and happy life, with many beach holidays which he loved – especially playing in the water. He’s photographed here at his local dog show, proudly and stylishly wearing his Dogs Trust bandana.

A black and white medium-sized Border Collie is sitting uoright on paving stones. they have one ear sticking straight up and the other hanging downwards. . We cna see the sea in teh background.

Rehomed from our Ballymena centre at the tender age of eight weeks, Jess is lucky enough to live near the beach. She enjoys daily walks on it with Judy and loves nothing more than barking at the waves. That must be a never-ending full time job and we salute her dedication!

Rehomed from our Ballymena centre at the tender age of eight weeks, Jess is lucky enough to live near the beach. She enjoys daily walks on it with Judy and loves nothing more than barking at the waves. That must be a never-ending full time job and we salute her dedication!

A tan and white Jack Russell Terrier sits on grass on profile, staring at something in the middle distaance.

Rehomed when he was less than a year old, handsome Toffee sadly passed away recently but not before giving twelve years of his unconditional love to his owner Rosie. Having experienced the joys of a rescue dog, Rosie is ready to open her heart again and is currently looking to rehome another (very lucky) pooch.

Rehomed when he was less than a year old, handsome Toffee sadly passed away recently but not before giving twelve years of his unconditional love to his owner Rosie. Having experienced the joys of a rescue dog, Rosie is ready to open her heart again and is currently looking to rehome another (very lucky) pooch.

A Staffordshire Bull Terrier with grey muzzle and eyebrows looks towards the left hand side. Their mouth is slightly open and they look happy and relaxed.

This wise face belongs to nine year old Mariah. She was only two when she was rehomed by Sian from our Merseyside centre. Sian says ‘she came to be my best friend and she loves her life in Bolton, especially  exploring all the lovely countryside’.

This wise face belongs to nine year old Mariah. She was only two when she was rehomed by Sian from our Merseyside centre. Sian says ‘she came to be my best friend and she loves her life in Bolton, especially  exploring all the lovely countryside’.

A black Scottish Terrier looks straight at us. They are in close-up, we can see only their face. They are lying on the floor looking upwards, with their mouth open and lower teeth showing. Their eyes are lying flat on the floor behind them.

This is Hamish doing what Hamish does best, rolling around looking for tummy tickles. With a grin like that they are probably not hard to come by! Rehomed from our Darlington centre by Janey in 2016, he’s also a bit of a foodie; another area that appealing face probably comes in quite handy.

This is Hamish doing what Hamish does best, rolling around looking for tummy tickles. With a grin like that they are probably not hard to come by! Rehomed from our Darlington centre by Janey in 2016, he’s also a bit of a foodie; another area that appealing face probably comes in quite handy.

A black Greyhound is running towards you.  His mouth is open and tongue hangs out the side.

Blink and you’ll miss her! Doris is a five year old Greyhound rehomed by Elske and Michael earlier this year from our Harefield centre. She’s now enjoying her retirement in the glorious Cambridgeshire countryside where she likes nothing better than to stretch her long legs on a sunny day.

Blink and you’ll miss her! Doris is a five year old Greyhound rehomed by Elske and Michael earlier this year from our Harefield centre. She’s now enjoying her retirement in the glorious Cambridgeshire countryside where she likes nothing better than to stretch her long legs on a sunny day.

A woman sits on some grass, holding a small white and brown terrier in her arms.

This very happy chappie is four year old Milo from our Kenilworth centre. Photographed here with owner Brian’s daughter Frances, it’s fair to say he landed well and truly on all four paws with his new adoring family.

This very happy chappie is four year old Milo from our Kenilworth centre. Photographed here with owner Brian’s daughter Frances, it’s fair to say he landed well and truly on all four paws with his new adoring family.

A medium-sized black dog with long wiry fur looks straight at you. They have bushy eyebrows. They are wearing a yellow Dogs Trust branded bandanna.

Sadly recently passed away, much missed Murphy was rehomed as a puppy by Mark and Barbara from our Salisbury centre. He led a full and happy life, with many beach holidays which he loved – especially playing in the water. He’s photographed here at his local dog show, proudly and stylishly wearing his Dogs Trust bandana.

Sadly recently passed away, much missed Murphy was rehomed as a puppy by Mark and Barbara from our Salisbury centre. He led a full and happy life, with many beach holidays which he loved – especially playing in the water. He’s photographed here at his local dog show, proudly and stylishly wearing his Dogs Trust bandana.

A black and white medium-sized Border Collie is sitting uoright on paving stones. they have one ear sticking straight up and the other hanging downwards. . We cna see the sea in teh background.

Rehomed from our Ballymena centre at the tender age of eight weeks, Jess is lucky enough to live near the beach. She enjoys daily walks on it with Judy and loves nothing more than barking at the waves. That must be a never-ending full time job and we salute her dedication!

Rehomed from our Ballymena centre at the tender age of eight weeks, Jess is lucky enough to live near the beach. She enjoys daily walks on it with Judy and loves nothing more than barking at the waves. That must be a never-ending full time job and we salute her dedication!

A tan and white Jack Russell Terrier sits on grass on profile, staring at something in the middle distaance.

Rehomed when he was less than a year old, handsome Toffee sadly passed away recently but not before giving twelve years of his unconditional love to his owner Rosie. Having experienced the joys of a rescue dog, Rosie is ready to open her heart again and is currently looking to rehome another (very lucky) pooch.

Rehomed when he was less than a year old, handsome Toffee sadly passed away recently but not before giving twelve years of his unconditional love to his owner Rosie. Having experienced the joys of a rescue dog, Rosie is ready to open her heart again and is currently looking to rehome another (very lucky) pooch.

A Staffordshire Bull Terrier with grey muzzle and eyebrows looks towards the left hand side. Their mouth is slightly open and they look happy and relaxed.

This wise face belongs to nine year old Mariah. She was only two when she was rehomed by Sian from our Merseyside centre. Sian says ‘she came to be my best friend and she loves her life in Bolton, especially  exploring all the lovely countryside’.

This wise face belongs to nine year old Mariah. She was only two when she was rehomed by Sian from our Merseyside centre. Sian says ‘she came to be my best friend and she loves her life in Bolton, especially  exploring all the lovely countryside’.

A black Scottish Terrier looks straight at us. They are in close-up, we can see only their face. They are lying on the floor looking upwards, with their mouth open and lower teeth showing. Their eyes are lying flat on the floor behind them.

This is Hamish doing what Hamish does best, rolling around looking for tummy tickles. With a grin like that they are probably not hard to come by! Rehomed from our Darlington centre by Janey in 2016, he’s also a bit of a foodie; another area that appealing face probably comes in quite handy.

This is Hamish doing what Hamish does best, rolling around looking for tummy tickles. With a grin like that they are probably not hard to come by! Rehomed from our Darlington centre by Janey in 2016, he’s also a bit of a foodie; another area that appealing face probably comes in quite handy.

A grey and white Husky is outside looking into the middle distance. Their ears are pricked up. There are autumn trees and leaves in the background.

Fit and you know it

A woman wearing Dogs Trust uniform is sitting on a bench outside. A small white and tan terrier is sitting on her lap, they look bright and alert. The dog wears a small black activity tracker device on their collar.

Want to know how much exercise your dog is getting?  We’ve teamed up with PitPat, the activity monitor for dogs, so now you can keep up with Rover every step of the way. 

Having a routine for your dog is essential, and a dog activity monitor is an easy way to keep on track. The small PitPat device fits right onto your dog’s collar and is compatible with most smartphones.

A brown and white Staffordshire Bull Terrier sits in profile.  They wear a Dogs Trust branded collar and harness. On the collar is a small activity tracker device with an orange paw print design.

Handsome Tyler models the PitPat activity monitor

Handsome Tyler models the PitPat activity monitor

From the PitPat app you can see a breakdown of your dog's activity and how far they've walked. You can manage their weight too.

Used together with advice from your vet, the PitPat activity monitor can help you stick to a routine.  We all know that every dog is different, and their activity needs will change throughout their life, so a PitPat helps you to keep your dog active in the way that’s right for them.

Wag readers can get 25% off a PitPat dog activity monitor (RRP £39). £5 will be donated to us every time you use the exclusive discount code DOGSTRUST25  


Peace of mind for a poorly pet

An English Bulldog, white with brown markings, looks directly at us. Their mouth is open and pink tongue is hanging out.

Arthur's feeling much brighter, thanks to Petplan

Arthur's feeling much brighter, thanks to Petplan

Arthur the Bulldog met his new owner, Aimee, one of our fundraisers, when he was just four months old.

Thanks to Petplan, Arthur went to his new home with 4 weeks free insurance cover. Just two weeks later Arthur developed eye problems, which the vet diagnosed as ‘cherry eye’, a common problem in many flat-faced breeds. 

Arthur had surgery to help the problem, which was covered by Petplan. Then, Aimee chose to continue Arthur’s insurance with Petplan, after the free 4-week period was over. 

A smiling woman with red hair is crouching down, holding the Bulldog's harness and looking straight at us. The Bulldog looks away from the camera. They are outside.

'Adopting Arthur was the best decision ever,' says Aimee

'Adopting Arthur was the best decision ever,' says Aimee

But poor Arthur went on to develop hip dysplasia, osteoarthritis and serious joint problems. In his first year he needed £4,000 worth of veterinary care.

Thankfully, Petplan covered the cost.

At Dogs Trust we believe pet insurance is a crucial part of responsible dog ownership. Which is why our dogs can go home with 4 weeks free Petplan insurance.

"Adopting Arthur was the best decision ever. He brings so much fun and joy to my life, but his vet bills could have really stacked up.  Choosing this insurance was the second-best decision we made. We can’t know what’s around the corner, so it’s reassuring to know we’re covered."
Aimee, Arthur's owner

Terms and conditions and excesses may apply and may be varied on renewal. No cover is provided for pre-existing conditions.  Petplan is a trading name of Pet Plan Limited who administers the cover and Allianz Insurance plc who provide and underwrite the cover.  Dogs Trust, through its trading division Dogs Trust Promotions Ltd, is an Appointed Representative of Pet Plan Limited and is not part of the Allianz (UK) Group.

Generation Pup-date

Our Generation Pup study aims to learn about 10,000 dogs throughout their whole lives. 

We want to know what affects the nation’s favourite pet’s health and behaviour, from when they’re puppies right through to adulthood. 

We’ll then use the information we learn to improve welfare for all dogs. 

We already have 4,500 pups signed up - but we really need your help to reach our goal. 

If you have a puppy under 16 weeks of age, any breed or crossbreed, please get in touch and help us to help our furry friends for generations to come.

A woman wearing a purple jumper is smiling. She holds her black and white Miniature Schnauzer and both are looking towards us.

Joanna and Bronte - "Bronte is a huge stress relief to me.  She keeps my life normal and is always there for me, keeping me company.  We are following a daily online dog training programme so doing lots of new games together."

Joanna and Bronte - "Bronte is a huge stress relief to me.  She keeps my life normal and is always there for me, keeping me company.  We are following a daily online dog training programme so doing lots of new games together."

Sue and Archie - "Archie is my saving grace during the COVID-19 pandemic. He provides constant companionship and a reason to get up, at a time when life has been turned upside down."

Sue and Archie - "Archie is my saving grace during the COVID-19 pandemic. He provides constant companionship and a reason to get up, at a time when life has been turned upside down."

Big thanks!

Spaniels inspire speedy chap

Well done to James Dingle, who has completed a full marathon over the course of several days, raising over £200 for Dogs Trust.

James, aged nine, was inspired to raise pounds for our hounds by his great love for his grandparents’ two Springer Spaniels, Nutty and Pippa.  

A black spaniel and a brown and tan spaniel lie on the floor and look very bright. the brown spoanie is lying on their back with their legs raised in the air.

James was inspired to fundraise by Spaniels Nutty and Pippa!

James was inspired to fundraise by Spaniels Nutty and Pippa!

The gorgeous duo had been adopted by Mr and Mrs Dingle from our Kenilworth rehoming centre in the summer.    

"Pippa and Nutty have settled in so well, we're very happy together."
Mr Dingle, James's grandpa
A young boy with fair hair is running across a field.

James on his marathon and with this certificate. Bravo!

James on his marathon and with this certificate. Bravo!

A bird in the hand

is worth 500 in the bush

Meet Tweety, a cheeky cockatiel who ruffled some feathers when he went missing during a holiday in the New Forest. 

A small grey and yellow cockatiel perches on a man's shoulder. The man is smiling and looking at him sideways..

Ten hours after he flew off to explore, Tweety was seen taking a dip in the bird bath in Dogs Trust supporter Jenny’s garden, before perching on her head.  

Jenny and her friend Shirley carefully caught him, placing him in Shirley’s home aviary, where he trilled ‘Always look on the bright side of life.’ Jenny realised the tuneful chap must be someone’s missing pet, and so plastered ‘Found: one cockatiel’ posters all over Wellow.

She's no bird brain - Jenny's parrot poster.

She's no bird brain - Jenny's parrot poster.

Two days later, Tweety’s owner George spotted a poster and called Jenny straight away. 

The reunion was a happy one, and when George offered Jenny a £500 reward, she generously insisted he donate it to her favourite charity, Dogs Trust, instead.

Huge thanks to Jenny, George and especially Tweety!

Keeping hope alive

A white Staffordshire Bull Terrier with black eye patches is lying on their back on a bed. Sitting on the bed is a man wearing a grey hoodie.

"Without you working with the hotel ... I don't know where we'd be," Phillip, Hope Project client

"Without you working with the hotel ... I don't know where we'd be," Phillip, Hope Project client

For many of us, our dog is our best friend. But for homeless people, their dog can often be their only friend.

Our Hope Project has been needed more than ever during this pandemic to keep dogs and owners together and safe.

At the start of lockdown, many rough sleepers were moved into hotel accommodation so that they could self-isolate. Sadly, this did not always mean their dogs would be welcome too.

A man and a Staffy are sitting next to each outer outsid eon a bench.  The man has his arm aroudn teh dog, the dog is licking his cheek. The dog is wearing a green knitted jumper.

Our Hope Project received calls from homelessness services and rough sleepers, who had been told that they had to give up their dog or risk being evicted from their accommodation. 

This was even more worrying, given that many homeless people are thought to be at greater risk of contracting the virus as they often have underlying health conditions.

Our help meant that homeless people were not faced with the awful decision of either losing their dog or staying with them but having to return to the streets.

"I can’t thank you enough – if the hotel hadn’t allowed my dog to stay with me then I was thinking about going back to sleeping in the car. I was crying thinking about it, he’s like a child to me."
"We really appreciate all the help you’ve given us. Without you working with the hoteI to let us stay I don’t know where we’d be. I’m eternally grateful to you – you are angels."
Phillip, Hope Project client

A black and white terrier type dog with long scruffy hair is looking straight at you.  They are outside.  Their mouth is closed.

We need your help to change the tale for dogs affected by coronavirus

We estimate that up to 40,000 more dogs could be abandoned and in need of our support as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

In the coming months and years, more dog owners than ever could face the heart-breaking decision to give up their dog. We want to change the tale. 

We want to protect the bond between dog and owner. We want to offer training and behaviour advice to help dogs adapt to a changing way of life.

We want to help keep owners and dogs together if times get tough. And we want to be there for anyone who has no other option but to give up their dog. But we need your help. 

The last recession was devastating for so many dogs. We saw tales of sadness and neglect. There was a 26% increase in stray and abandoned dogs, and a 25% rise in euthanasia.

We never put a healthy dog to sleep, but it still happens in local authority kennels. Many simply don’t have the space to help every dog without a home. That’s where we step in.

As the UK’s largest kennel resource, we know that smaller organisations will rely on our help.

Despite lockdown and social distancing, we’ve not stopped doing what we do best.

We have successfully changed the tale for 2,450 dogs since the start of lockdown. Whatever Covid-19 throws our way, we’re determined to continue rehoming and make more space for the dogs who need us.

We’ve also been caring for dogs whose owners have died from coronavirus. Thanks to your support, dogs like Willow have a safe place to go.

Willow's tale

Meet Willow, a sausage-obsessed terrier cross. His story is a sad one. We want you to know that we are doing everything we can to be there for dogs like him, who have lost loved ones at the hands of Covid-19.

At the start of 2020 Willow enjoyed life the way every dog should. Since he was just a puppy, he'd shared his home with his owners who loved him unconditionally. Life with them was all he knew.

But Willow’s world was turned completely upside down by this terrible crisis when both of his beloved owners were diagnosed with Covid-19.

Heartbreakingly, Willow’s owner passed away. After being hospitalised, his other owner survived, thanks to the hard work of the NHS. But sadly, long-term breathing difficulties meant he could no longer care for Willow on his own. He made the very difficult decision to bring Willow to us, where he would continue to be loved, cared for and eventually find a new forever home.

Willow had never been apart from his owners. We couldn’t explain to him what was happening. But we could build his trust in us, and show him everything would be okay.

Our vets checked him over, and made sure he continued to get steroids and antibiotics for his ongoing skin condition, just as his owners had done. His carers gave him a warm kennel, comforting snuggles and his favourite sausage treats to help him feel at home.

Willow is just one dog we’ve helped. We know we’ll need to help thousands more to come. 

A black and white medium-sized terrier with long scruffy fur is sitting on grass.  Their mouthis open and they look bright and alert. A yellow tennis ball is right in front of their paws.

If you can, please give a gift today, so we can make sure more dogs like Willow don’t feel alone this winter.

Lockdown, abandonment and behavioural issues

Lockdown has meant big changes for everyone, our furry best friends included.

Many dogs have had fewer walks, meaning they’ve had less opportunity to meet other dogs or people. Most will have got used to their human companions being around all the time.

Over the coming months, the economic impact on people’s lives will continue to take its toll. Based on what happened in the last recession, we know some people will have to give up their dog.

Unwanted behaviours are the single biggest reason that dogs are handed in to us. We know that constant change can be incredibly unsettling for a dog, leading to certain behaviours that give their owners no other choice but to give them up.

Separation anxiety

Dogs can develop separation anxiety if they’re not used to spending time on their own.

Puppies bought during lockdown might not have been left home alone yet. Leaving our pups or adult dogs on their own when we go back to work or study may well lead to separation anxiety.

If your dog was used to being alone before lockdown, it's good to slowly start to get them used to it again.

A still from a video.. The wording says Help your puppy to cope alone

How to prevent separation anxiety

  • Make sure your dog has a comfy bed or den to relax in undisturbed
  • Give them something fun to keep them busy, such as a long-lasting treat or toy that releases food, while you get on with something else nearby
  • Use baby-gates across doorways to help you slowly build up the time you’re apart
  • Gradually build this into your dog’s normal daily routine
  • When you need to go out, make sure they’ve eaten, had a pee and a walk
  • Keep an eye on your dog, and only increase time apart if they’re enjoying their own activity
  • If your dog ignores their fun activity, tries to follow you and makes a noise, go back to them right away and let them relax completely. Next time, don’t move as far away and build up the distance more gradually.
A cartoon of a yellow dog asleep in a food bowl

Lockdown leads to more smuggled pups

During the coronavirus crisis, demand for dogs has soared but buyers are being ‘dogfished’ by unscrupulous breeders

Three small white Poodles look out of a small wire cage.

When you gaze into your new pup’s eyes for the first time, you glimpse the signs of their personality – sweet, shy or adorably cheeky.

But for illegal puppy breeders, the only sign that matters is pound signs.

With demand for dogs rocketing during the coronavirus crisis, puppy smuggling is booming. According to Propellernet (a digital marketing agency), Google searches for ‘buy a puppy’ jumped by 166% when lockdown was announced.

But many buyers are unaware they could be a target for illegal traders.

Sadly, it’s all too easy to be duped into buying smuggled pups who’ve been illegally imported into the UK, often in terrible conditions. They often suffer all sorts of health issues – some won’t even survive the first week in their new home. At Dogs Trust we call this deception ‘dogfishing’ – and it’s on the rise.

Since lockdown started on March 23, we’ve rescued 43 dogs illegally imported to the UK from central and eastern Europe. The estimated street value? Around £80,000. We’ve also saved 12 heavily pregnant mums who’ve given birth to 53 puppies – a potential £100,000 of profit for the smugglers.

In January, three Chow Chow pups – Lily, Ben and Boris – were seized at Dover. They’d travelled 1,600 miles from Bulgaria, squashed into a tiny cage with little or no chance to access food or water.

Little Lily had problems swallowing her food and further vet checks revealed she had serious physical and neurological issues. Sadly, the kindest option was to put her to sleep. She was just seven weeks old.

Among the latest victims brought to us were six tiny pups covered in engine oil – leaked on them during a terrifying van journey from Romania. Weak, and suffering from diarrhoea, their fur had to be shaved off to get rid of the oil. They have since all found loving new homes.

A person wearing rubber veterinary gloves holds three white terrier type dogs. The dogs look scruffy.

"It is absolutely heart-breaking that we continue to see dogs being illegally imported into the country, often in terrible conditions to make huge profits for cruel puppy smugglers," says Paula Boyden, our veterinary director. "These devious sellers will use every trick in the book to scam unsuspecting dog lovers."

Don’t get 'dogfished'

There are simple steps you can take to avoid being 'dogfished'.

  • Speak to the seller on the phone before visiting. Visit or video call the puppy more than once – their mother should be there too
  • Ask lots of questions, and ask to see vital paperwork, such as a puppy contract. Any seller who’s unwilling to show you the pup in their home environment or lacks paperwork could be operating illegally
  • Don’t pay a deposit if you’re asked for one
  • If you have any doubts or it feels too good to be true, as hard as it may be, walk away and report the seller

Visit dogstrust.org.uk/dogfished for more advice to avoid being 'dogfished'. Please share it with family and friends who are thinking about getting a puppy.

Play our most important raffle ever!

This has been a very ‘ruff’ year, so we want to spread a little winter cheer for our fellow dog-lovers.

We have dazzling prizes up for grabs in our very special winter raffle. For just £1 a ticket, you could win our star prize of £7,500!

This year's winter raffle is our most important ever. With so many of our fundraising methods impacted by the pandemic, our raffles are now one of the easiest and best ways to help keep stray and abandoned dogs warm, safe, and healthy this winter. Dogs just like the handsome Ghost, who features on this year’s raffle ticket books.

Photo of a white Husky with black face markings and pricked up ears. They have one blue and one brown eye.

Ghost, the raffle-loving Husky

Ghost, the raffle-loving Husky

This crisis has affected all of us. Many other animal organisations are struggling to cope under the financial strain. We want to be there to step in, and help as many dogs as we can.

Amy, Johnny, Diesel and Milo are four beautiful Huskies. We took them in during the pandemic when their local rescue centre couldn't afford to care for them any longer.

Milo needed extra care and attention from our rehoming team

Milo needed extra care and attention from our rehoming team

After experiencing such a confusing time, Milo needed a bit more care and attention. Despite our limited staff and resources, we knew it was vital to give him the essential training and confidence he needed in order to find a forever home.

More dogs like Milo will need us over the winter months and well into next year. Please help by buying and selling our raffle tickets, to ensure dogs affected by the pandemic get the help they need.

Order your raffle book today by emailing supporterservices@dogstrust.org.uk or calling the raffle ticket hotline on 020 7833 7672.

We know times are hard, but if you can, please help us make this our best raffle yet! Every ticket helps a dog in need, and gets you a step closer to a wagtastic prize! 

NB: Tickets may not be sold by or to any person under the age of 16. This raffle is only open to residents of Great Britain.


Don’t de-sleigh, get Christmas sorted today!

You’ll go absolutely crackers when you see the wagtastic products we have to offer this festive season.

Whether you’re wanting to stay cosied up indoors as the evenings draw in, brave the chillier weather on muddy dog walks or simply stock up on your Christmas essentials, we have just what you need.

Christmas is always a busy time for our centres and with everything that has been going on, it’s inevitably going to be even busier this year.

And don’t forget that with every purchase made, you’ll be helping the stray and abandoned dogs set to come into our care over the winter months.

There’s no better excuse to get shopping!

A yellow Dogs Trust calendar with a Husky's face
Six red Christmas crackers
A yellow Dogs Trust diary with a brown terrier
Six pairs of multi-coloured, patterned socks

Your tribute to someone special could help a dog find their special someone

A large brown dog sits on grass. Behind them is a large wire sculpture in the shape of a dog. The sculpture is around 10 feet high.

(Left) Merlin's memorial tag, (right) Jessie with the memorial sculpture at Dogs Trust Leeds

(Left) Merlin's memorial tag, (right) Jessie with the memorial sculpture at Dogs Trust Leeds

Our memorial dogs allow us to remember loved ones and much-loved dogs who have touched our lives.

We’ve created a space at each of our rehoming centres where we can enjoy a moment of reflection and celebrate the joy they brought us.

Whether you wish to remember a dog-lover or a beloved dog, supporting Dogs Trust in their memory is an amazing way to keep that love going.  This tribute enables us to offer even more dogs a happy, healthy life.

A memorial tag costs £150. It includes a personalised engraved message which will be attached to one of our memorial dogs for a minimum of five years.  Supporters will also receive a second tag to keep forever as a memento at home.

Due to the current situation with the coronavirus pandemic we would ask you to book an appointment in advance during the rehoming centre’s opening hours in order to see the sculpture. We welcome you to take a moment to visit and reflect whenever you would like.

Jessie’s story

By buying a personalised tag you won’t only be remembering a loved one, you’ll also be raising vital funds to help us rescue, rehabilitate and rehome dogs like Jessie (pictured).

Jessie was eight months old when she came to Dogs Trust. She needed a lot of training as her previous owners were unable to give her the time she needed. Jessie’s training came on in leaps and bounds thanks to the time and dedication of our canine carers. And once she was ready, we found Jessie a new forever family. She is now happily settled into her new home.

We wouldn’t be able to offer dogs like Jessie a second chance without donations from our kind supporters.

Thank You

Our most heartfelt thanks go out to each of our supporters, and their loved ones who choose to donate in this kind and generous way at such a sad and difficult time.

We really do hope that our Memorial Dog and personalised tag acts as a fitting way to commemorate just how special their two or four-legged loved one was.

To order your personalised tag, click the button below, email inmemory@dogstrust.org.uk or call us on 020 7837 0006.

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Thanks for reading autumn Wag – we'll see you again in the spring!


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Registered charity numbers 227523 (England and Wales) and SCO37843 (Scotland)
Wag autumn © Dogs Trust 2020