New Dogs Trust advert reveals heartbreak of giving up dogs in pandemic

Dogs Trust has launched a new tear-jerking advert featuring real phone calls made by the charity’s helpline by dog owners who have been impacted by the pandemic.

The UK’s largest dog welfare charity is encouraging owners to seek help of they are struggling to care for their dog in the fallout of the pandemic. In the last six months, the charity has seen a 41% increase in web traffic to its ‘giving up your dog’ page, indicating that more people are considering parting with their pet.

The new advert features recordings from owners making the heart-breaking decision to hand over their dogs to the charity. The recordings have been shared via a radio and video advert as part of the charity’s ongoing ‘Change the Tale’ campaign. The advert highlights the anguish felt by owners whose lives have been turned upside down by the pandemic.

Based on the trends seen during the last recession, the charity is braced for an increased reliance on its services, caring for dogs in need. Between August 2020 and January 2021, Dogs Trust saw a 41% increase in web traffic to its ‘Giving Up Your Dog’ page compared to the six-month period beforehand.

The Change the Tale ad campaign features snippets of real phone calls made to Dogs Trust’s helpline from members of the public needing to give up their dog.

The calls demonstrate how the fallout from the pandemic is starting to place a strain on owners, as they struggle to continue to care for their dog. A video version of the advert, which provides a visual representation of the calls, has been released on social media and can be seen below.

Dogs Trust’s UK-wide campaign describes just some of the reasons people have approached the charity for support in recent months and how a call to Dogs Trust changed the tale for these dogs and their owners. In one call, a lady explains the pain of having to give up her dog having lost her job and home. Other callers cite the burden of increased working hours, firm closures, house evictions and financial struggles.

Dogs Trust has released these calls to shed light on the struggles that more owners could face in the months and years ahead. The charity is encouraging people to ‘change the tale’ for dogs affected by the pandemic, and to seek advice if they feel they can no longer care for their pet.

Owen Sharp, Chief Executive of Dogs Trust, said: “We know that the pandemic and its economic repercussions will have devastating effects on some people’s lives and their ability to care for their pets. When people take on the responsibilities of dog ownership, they do so with the best intentions to care for them long-term. But as the calls to Dogs Trust show, in these extraordinary times circumstances can change in a heartbeat, leaving owners with incredibly tough decisions to make.

“It is heart-breaking to hear someone having to choose between a roof over their head, or their dog and we’d like to thank the people who made these calls for allowing us to share their story and for coming to us in their time of need. Unfortunately, we believe the worst is yet to come and we expect many more calls like this as the pandemic fallout continues – and we will do all we can to help those in need of our support.”

The charity provides a range of services to help keep dogs and their owners together, such as support for dog owners without a home and a unique fostering service for dog owners experiencing domestic abuse. Dogs Trust Dog School is also providing easy to follow online videos helping dog owners tackle behaviours they are seeing as a result of lockdown that could eventually result in dogs having to be given up, such as separation anxiety.

The charity also offers the Canine Care Card, which guarantees that if an owner should pass away or become very unwell, their dog will be cared for by Dogs Trust.