Friday, 20 March 2009

Record rehomings as year begins: is the credit crunch helping dogs?

Some good news amid all the financial doom and gloom: things might not be as bad for rescues as first feared. Although some of our centres are worrying about increased numbers of dogs being handed in and the charity sector is reporting that donations are down, it seems more people are actually looking to rehome a rescue dog.

January saw record numbers of dogs rehomed, with 1,384 dogs finding forever homes - up over 170 on the previous year. February's numbers were the second highest on record at 1,006, in spite of terrible weather and fewer weekends in the month.

As yet we can only speculate on why this might be the case. Suggestions include:
  • Although people are tightening belts, they're also focussing on better quality of home and family life.
  • Owning a dog helps you have an active, healthy lifestyle, and saves on gym membership!
  • It's cheaper to rehome a dog from a rescue than buy one from a reputable breeder.
  • People are holidaying at home more, and a dog fits in to those plans.
Interestingly, the first months of 2009 saw more families than ever coming into our centres. Over 15,000 families visited their local centre during January and February, suggesting families are coming together during this difficult time and focussing on home life.

Take Mark and Joanne Simpson.

They recently visited Dogs Trust Darlington and welcomed Labrador cross puppy Bobby into their home on February 22nd. Joanne explains:

“Bobby is a gorgeous little dog – we are all so delighted we decided to give him a home. Being a dog owner is certainly more expensive than not being one, but our young children Sophia and Joshua had always wanted a dog and we just felt like it was the right time.

Nobody can know what’s round the corner financially, but even though news of the economy is getting gloomier by the day, a happy home life is the most important thing to us anyway. If people are re-evaluating their priorities and also coming to that conclusion then I think that’s great! Bobby is a much-loved member of our family now. Having a puppy is a bit like having a baby again! You can’t put a price on that kind of thing!”

Has the financial downturn made you consider owning a pet? Tell us what you think.
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