Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, has been helping homeless and vulnerable dog owners for almost 20 years through its Hope and Freedom Projects.
The Hope Project
The Dogs Trust Hope Project helps dogs whose owners are homeless or in housing crisis by providing advice, support and veterinary assistance for their dogs.
The Hope Project Veterinary Scheme offers free and subsidised veterinary care to any dog owner who is rough sleeping or living in temporary accommodation. The scheme runs in 100 towns and cities across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales and offers free preventative healthcare – microchipping, neutering, vaccinations and flea and worming treatments. Dogs Trust can also subsidise most other essential veterinary treatments that a dog would need. Since the scheme began in 2004, the Hope Project has funded more than 10,000 veterinary treatments.
The Dogs Trust Hope Project also works with providers of homelessness accommodation to encourage them to accept residents with dogs. Unfortunately most homelessness organisations and housing providers in the UK still do not accept clients with dogs. Currently only 7% of hostels are dog-friendly . This means that many people are being denied access to shelter and support, simply because they have a dog. Dogs Trust offers advice to accommodation providers on a range of issues such as introducing a pet policy, health and safety, hygiene and behaviour.
Every Christmas, Dogs Trust works with winter shelters and homelessness projects to provide a Christmas parcel service. Christmas can be an especially difficult and lonely time for people who are homeless. By sending out parcels of treats, toys, coats, collars and leads, the Hope Project tries to make Christmas special for homeless people and their dogs as well as providing essential coats and jumpers to keep the dogs warm during winter.
The Freedom Project
The Dogs Trust Freedom Project is a pet fostering service for dogs belonging to families fleeing from domestic violence.
Each year, thousands of women suffer abuse at the hands of their partner. Research indicates a strong link between animal abuse and domestic violence, with men who are violent to women often threatening or harming a pet in order to intimidate their partner.
Families fleeing domestic violence are usually unable to take their pets with them into a refuge or temporary accommodation, so in many cases they are reluctant to leave their home until they know there is somewhere safe for their pets.
Dogs Trust offers a service which places dogs in the homes of volunteer foster carers until their owners are in a position to take them back. Dogs Trust covers all expenses so there are no costs for the volunteer foster carer or dog owner. The service operates in Greater London, Hertfordshire and Yorkshire. In Greater London & Hertfordshire, Dogs Trust can also foster cats in partnership with Cats Protection. Since it began in 2004, the Freedom Project has fostered more than 1000 pets.
 Homeless UK, Homeless Link.
For more information on Dogs Trust’s Hope and Freedom Projects, please visit www.moretodogstrust.org.uk
Dogs Trust is funded solely by public generosity. If you would like to make a donation towards the work of the Dogs Trust Hope Project or the Dogs Trust Freedom Project, please go to www.moretodogstrust.org.uk/donate.
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