“He wasn’t a vegetarian” or “didn’t like being dressed up” blamed, as Dogs Trust braces itself for influx of unwanted dogs, after receiving a call every five minutes last Christmas.

Dogs Trust in Darlington is bracing itself for the post-Christmas influx of unwanted dogs and is urging the British public to remember the charity’s iconic slogan ‘A dog is for life, not just for Christmas’ after a year of bizarre reasons offered by people giving up their dog.

Dogs Trust’s Sadberge Rehoming Centre received a total of 8 calls a day from people looking to give up their dogs in the month following Christmas last year. Reasons over 2017 included:

• I won a free holiday and I couldn’t take my dogs with me

• I’m a vegetarian but he always wanted to eat meat

• I got him as a secret Santa present

• She was too friendly and wanted to greet every dog and human we met on a walk

• He was panting too much

• He didn’t like it when we played dress up

• She sleeps in her own bed all night – I thought she would want to sleep in my bed

To bring the message home the charity has created a video called “Why I left you” with a twist, which highlights the carefree attitude which people sadly display towards dog ownership.

The charity’s iconic slogan has proved just as meaningful today as it was when first coined nearly 40 years ago as a new survey reveals 17% of dog owners in North East England spend less than two weeks researching before buying a dog and 1 in 5 people confessed to buying a dog simply because it was a cute accessory.

The survey also revealed that 17% of people admit to buying or receiving a dog as a Christmas gift. The dog owning public also significantly underestimated the financial cost of dog ownership with 78% believing their dog will cost them less than the actual cost of £10,000 during its lifetime.

Following 509 calls in the weeks following Christmas last year from people unable to care for their dogs, Dogs Trust Darlington are preparing themselves as they expect to take in many dogs in the weeks following the festive period.

Jake Flatman, Assistant Manager at Dogs Trust Darlington, said: “Dogs Trust take in thousands of much loved dogs from heartbroken owners who sadly find themselves unable to continue to care for their dogs due to unavoidable changes in their circumstances so it’s particularly hard for staff when they see the other end of the spectrum; dogs handed in simply because their owner’s bought them on a whim and consider them little more than toys to be discarded when the novelty wears off.

“We really hope this Christmas is the year our nation of animal lovers finally takes heed of our slogan ‘A dog is for life, not just for Christmas’ and we don’t see dogs discarded because their owners have not considered the lifetime commitment of dog ownership.”

Dogs Trust urge anyone considering getting a dog to ensure they do their research to find a dog compatible with their lifestyle so they are fully aware of the realities of caring for a dog for the duration of its lifetime. To find out more about what to consider when getting a dog and Dogs Trust work over the Christmas period please visit: www.dogstrust.org.uk/Christmas2017

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