Dogs Trust brings festive cheer to dog owners in Sussex who are homeless

Dogs Trust brings festive cheer to dog owners in Sussex who are homeless

Dogs Trust is once more bringing some festive cheer to dogs and their owners who are experiencing homelessness or living in housing crisis this Christmas.

The UK’s largest dog welfare charity, which has a rehoming centre in Shoreham, has been running its unique Hope Project for over 25 years. Throughout the year the Hope Project supports people who are experiencing homelessness and have a four-legged friend, and every Christmas it delivers canine hampers filled with treats, toys, collars, leads and warm winter dog coats. This year 159 dogs across Sussex are set to benefit from the Christmas parcel service and one of those dogs is Bulldog Blue, who lives with Dean.

Dean broke his neck in a car accident five years ago and went on to develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and depression, and experienced suicidal thoughts. He became homeless and found it difficult to find accommodation that would accept dogs. During this time, Blue needed an operation on one of his legs and the Hope Project was able to pay for the operation and other veterinary care Blue needed.

Dean, who has now found permanent accommodation with Blue, says:

“The Hope Project has been out of this world. I’ve had Blue since he was a puppy, and he is like a puppy all over again after his operation. I do not know where I’d be today without them. They’ve not just saved Blue, they’ve saved me. Blue is not just a dog, he is a family member and Dogs Trust have proved that they feel the same about dogs.

“I am now in an off-road flat which is brilliant for Blue. Without Blue I would either be dead, a drug addict, or in prison. He’s unbelievable. He’s saved me from a very dark place.”

This year the Hope Project has adapted its services in light of the pandemic to include supporting hotels and emergency accommodation providers who were accommodating people sleeping rough as part of the  government’s ‘Everyone In’ scheme, to accept their four-legged friends too. Plus, it has sent out more than 1,200 tins of emergency dog food for more than 50 dogs to support people and their pets during this pandemic.

Harriet Page, Outreach Projects Development Co-ordinator, says:

“Just like Dean has said, for anyone who is experiencing homelessness or is in housing crisis, their dog is an incredible source of companionship, support and love but it is often so much more difficult to find housing simply because they have a canine friend.

“We’re delighted to be able to provide free veterinary care and other support to  anyone who is homeless or in housing crisis, as well as running our Welcoming Dogs scheme, supporting housing providers and homelessness services to become dog friendly, ensuring that no dog owner has to choose between staying with their dog or accessing accommodation.

“We’re so pleased to be able to deliver so many Christmas hampers this year. Not only will they deliver some festive cheer, but these doggy essentials will help dogs keep warm and safe during the winter”

To find out more about the Hope Project’s ‘Welcoming Dogs’ service go to