Lottery lolly helps charity find home for dogs in need

DO you dream of winning a pile of cash and bagging a bigger home, buying a smart new motor, or jetting off on a plush holiday with swanky cocktails by the pool? Well, you have the chance to win big and help good causes at the same time with People’s Postcode Lottery. Signing up to play with People’s Postcode Lottery for just £10 a month gives you a shot at big money prizes, and at least 33 per cent of your ticket price goes to a host of good causes doing incredible work.

Players have already raised more than £750million for over 9,000 amazing charities, changing the lives of people – and pooches – for the better.

One of those charities is Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, which cares for canines in need across a network of rehoming centres. It finds new homes for dogs that have been given over for adoption by their owners or simply abandoned, carefully matching them with the right households, so they feel happy and safe. The charity helps dogs of all ages and from many different backgrounds – from little pooches just months old to older dogs left alone when their owners pass on, as well as puppies rescued from animal traffickers.

Dogs Trust has also been taking in dogs when owners suffering the effects of the pandemic – from job losses to evictions – can no longer look after them. The charity needs support more than ever, due to the fallout from the large increase in dogs being acquired during the pandemic. In 2020, Dogs Trust workers saw a 60 per cent rise in people enquiring about rehoming a dog from the charity, compared to 2019. Staff now say it’s likely they will see more dogs brought to their rehoming centres in the coming months, with owners unable to cope with their pet as they return to workplaces or face more financial issues, such as the furlough scheme ending.

This means the £2.52million received thanks to players of People’s Postcode Lottery last year will be used to help prepare for these major challenges in Dogs Trust centres across England, Scotland and Wales. Even without the impact of the pandemic, Dogs Trust is constantly busy dealing with thousands of hounds needing new families to look after them. “In an average year, we care for around 14,000 dogs,” explains Becky Read, corporate partnerships officer at Dogs Trust. “Typically, dogs come to us for a variety of reasons. It could be a change in family circumstances, such as a death or relationship breakdown, or a change in accommodation, where, for example, pets aren’t allowed. “It means we have dogs of all ages, shapes and sizes across our 22 rehoming centres.”

Money raised by players of People’s Postcode Lottery is also used to fund staff in a variety of roles, with a range of different skills. These include rehoming centre staff and members of the post-adoption support team, who give help and advice to owners for the rest of their adoptive dog’s life. The cash also provides funding for the charity’s Dog School experts, who help owners to understand their dogs, prevent problem behaviours from developing and build happy, healthy, lifelong relationships with their pets. Classes help owners to teach their dogs key skills such as settling and basic recall. And it’s clear the cash is vital. “The support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery is key in us delivering our services across the UK,” admits Becky.

The adoption process begins with the Dogs Trust’s “canine carers”, who have years of experience looking after dogs. Based in the rehoming centres, they are expertly trained to carefully match dogs with new owners. “One of the things we pride ourselves on is finding the right home, and our priority is making sure the dog fits the family and the family fits the dog,” Becky says. And sometimes the matching process ends up with a surprising – yet perfect – result, as Becky explains. “In Manchester recently, a family came in looking for a rottweiler, because that’s what they’d always had as a family. They went home with a chihuahua! “Once the family had completed their form, which explained their lifestyle and what they were hoping for from a dog, the little chihuahua we had here fitted their criteria perfectly. They rehomed a second dog with us after that, too.” Last year, thanks to players of People’s Postcode Lottery, funding was provided for a number of canine carers across the country. As well as working out the best type of owner for each dog, the canine carers tirelessly feed, walk and look after their four-legged friends, with plenty of TLC, across 22 centres. The post-adoption support staff also work to reduce the number of dogs returned by their new owners due to behavioural issues. The post-adoption support team are partly funded thanks to players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

“The team provided lots of information and advice and a tailored plan, which supported me in building his confidence and helping him feel less anxious in these situations.” She adds: “Our aim is to be there for dogs and dog owners when they need us most, whether this is by placing dogs into suitable homes, providing advice and support around responsible dog ownership, or helping dog owners make the very difficult decision to give their dog over to us for adoption.”

In numbers…

How Dogs Trust helped our furry friends – and their new owners – last year…

  • 9,054 dogs cared for in rehoming centres
  • 8,510 dogs rehomed in total by Dogs Trust
  • 44,088 post-adoption calls to new owners to check they and their pets were OK
  • 10,100 Dog School classes delivered

Help Dogs Trust and thousands of other charities give care and support – sign up to play People’s Postcode Lottery at postcodelottery.co.uk.

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