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Heartbreak as pets looking for forever home prepare for fourth Christmas in rescue

December 11, 2021


Pets who have lost their forever homes through no fault of their own just need to be given a chance, as they spend yet another Christmas in rescue.

Over a dozen dogs and cats are about to spend their third or fourth Christmas at Freshfields animal rescue, Ince Blundell as rescue centre staff say an incoming influx of unwanted pets, mixed with those unable to be rehomed, sparks for worrying times.

Lockdown resulted in millions of pets being bought or adopted across the UK, but as the country slowly goes back to normal and families go back to work, a change in circumstances means many of these beloved animals end up being abandoned.

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Sadly, some animals have a harder time than others in finding a happy ending to their story due to their age or ongoing medical or behavioural issues.

Nine-year-old lurcher, Danny, is just one furry friend who came to the rescue four years ago after issues around food guarding.

He is described as a ‘loving, loyal and affectionate dog’ who deserves the chance at a happy home.

Danny was rehomed as a puppy back in 2012 and had settled into his family home for almost five years, but in 2017 he found his way back to the rescue centre.

Despite having no medical issues, staff say Danny is one of the longest serving dogs at the rescue centre and has seen many kennel friends come and go before him.

Suki, a nine-year-old Akita, is also one of the dogs who will see another Christmas come and go at Freshfields after she was brought into care following a domestic abuse situation.

Eight-year-old Jack Russell Terrier Rikki came into the rescue’s care after a relationship breakdown, and again, despite being in good health, just cannot find his forever home.

Debbie Hughes, communications, said these dogs, like many, are very often overlooked but they will ‘never give up’ on any animal that comes through their doors.

Danny has been at the rescue for four years
Danny at Freshfields rescue centre

With a non-destruction policy, Debbie said hey have many animals already in their care, unable to find their forever home, but they fear over the coming weeks there will be an increase in the unwanted ‘lockdown pets’, something which they are already seeing.

She told the ECHO : “We won’t put a healthy dog to sleep, but this means they often spend years in rescue centres because they can’t find a home.

“Millions of dogs were brought into homes last year and sadly, some are finding their way to us as we speak. We know these lockdown dogs are on their way to us.

“We will be there for these dogs, but if we can find homes for the ones already in our care, it just makes it that bit easier. Sometimes circumstances change and people can’t look after animals, we don’t judge.

“We are there for the animals but we are expecting an influx in the coming weeks.”

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Freshfields has since launched a Christmas appeal with the aim of making this the last Christmas for those animals who are ‘constantly overlooked for adoption’.

With over £15,000 raised already, this will be match funded thanks to the generosity of local businesses and individuals in the community.

Helen Stanbury, Director of Freshfields, said: “It’s more important than ever to free up spaces at our rescue centre – during UK lockdown, 3.2 million ‘new pets’ were there for us.

“Now, due to their owners’ changing circumstances, they are losing their homes and facing uncertain futures. We need to be there for them as well as move the animals with us today into the loving homes they deserve.

“It breaks our hearts that dogs like Rikki are spending another Christmas with us, when what we desperately want for them is a cosy fireside and a warm lap in their very own home.”

Suki with her Christmas elf, looking for her forever home
Suki with her Christmas elf, looking for her forever home

The money raised from the appeal will help towards getting these animals into their forever homes, helping to breakdown the barriers that are preventing this – financial barriers.

Debbie told the ECHO that very often, people are put off adopting a dog with medical issues to to the medical bills, but the charity can help fund these bills or travel costs, as the only barrier is often financial.

Rehoming the current pets in the centre, combined with the hopes of raising £30,000, it is hoped over the next three years, over 400 new pets can be helped.

Debbie added: “We always say adopt, not shop and we want to shop our beautiful animals in this appeal. It breaks our hearts that dogs like this are spending another Christmas in rescue when with a bit of extra help, could be in a loving home.

Playful Rikki with his ball
Playful Rikki with his ball

“We want to break down those barriers. We can help with things like medication, adjustment support, transport costs to the vets. We just need someone to give these beautiful animals a chance.

“Financial impact is a main barrier. We’ve come to realise that the only thing standing in the way for these pets is cost. We can help, we can make this happen.

“Even the most caring of rescue centres is no substitute for a loving home. Some of these dogs have seen their kennel mates leave before them.”

Anyone wishing to find out more about the beloved pooches looking for their forever homes, or to donate can do so online.

Debbie said: “We’d like to thank the community for their support over the years. We’ve been here for 40 years and this is a challenge we can beat together.

“There’s nothing we can’t achieve if we work together. Next year, instead of us wishing them a happy Christmas, we want to see photos of them by the fireplace in their new homes.”

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