While Christmas is often a time of happiness, indulgence and gift giving, Christmas is also often a time of reflection and helping others who may need it, be they animals or people. If you are an animal lover, the festive season can be a great time to take the opportunity to do something good for pets and animals who need our help. Your contribution can help to make a real difference to the welfare and wellness of animals in your local area and beyond that may be in need. Christmas is often a particularly difficult time for charities as more people are using their services and funds start to run lower than they would throughout the rest of the year. With Covid-19 hitting charities incredibly hard last year, the impacts are still being felt, meaning your donations will make a huge difference. This is why we have rounded up some animal charities that are near and dear to our hearts that could really use your support over the Christmas period and beyond.
Dogs on the Streets (or DOTS) are a voluntary ran and not-for-profit charity dedicated to the welfare of dogs belonging to the UK’s homeless community. Founded by Michelle Clark who has been running outreach programmes for the homeless community and their dogs for over 10 years, the charity was formed in 2016. The inspiration for DOTS came in the shape of one very special street dog called Poppy who changed Michelle’s life forever. Poppy’s homeless dad was taken very ill, and having heard about Michelle’s work, he made contact to see if she could help take care of Poppy’s while he tried to get better. Michelle took Poppy on, welcoming her into her family and the bond that was formed with Poppy sparked the fire in Michelle to do even more, so along came DOTS. DOTS operates weekly in London as well as running regular services in other major UK cities and they are looking to expand even further. They have a fully equipped mobile veterinary surgery vehicle which allows them access to dogs in need. DOTS ensures that all the essential items and services are provided for free each and every week. From food to new harnesses and leads to training and grooming sessions. DOTS believe that "every body, human or canine, deserves a roof over their heads."
Celia Hammond was a model in the 1960s, who has devoted her life to improving the welfare of cats and dogs in the U.K and today campaigns for the rights of all animals. Her animal trust operates throughout London and the South East helping stray, abandoned and unwanted animals. They have a particular focus on "providing care and refuge for cats and kittens both feral and domestic and for those animals which on the basis of age, temperament or appearance would not normally be taken in elsewhere." They also aim to humanely reduce the population of dogs and cats, both pedigree and mongrel, ethically by neutering, as opposed to the current situation where hundreds of thousands of healthy but unwanted animals are being euthanised simply because there are not enough homes to go around. Based in East Sussex, the Trust operates a strict no-kill policy, giving every animal a fighting chance. They have a huge number of cats and kittens available for adoption, if you live locally, please consider adopting a cat before buying one from a breeder.
FRIEND are a farmed animal sanctuary located on a beautiful 10 acre site in rural Kent, near Tonbridge. They were established in 1994 by the late Marion Eaton and in the following years have rescued over 3000 animals. Now run by Mark Eaton, the sanctuary's mission is to "offer a lifelong, no-kill, free-roaming forever home to unwanted, neglected and abused non-human animals, while educating about animals, veganism and ecological sustainability." They are currently home to roughly 200 animals, and rely solely on donations to keep going. Winter is a particularly difficult time for the sanctuary, with fewer volunteers, cold weather conditions, rising bills and feed costs, and ever-rising vet bills. You can support their emergency winter appeal here. Many of these animals have been rescued from the meat industry, FRIEND has provided these animals an opportunity that sadly many other are not - to live out their lives to the full, free from harm.