Our chosen charity for Congress 2018 is the Dogs Trust Hope and Freedom Projects
Dogs Trust Hope Project
This unique project provides free and subsidised veterinary treatment to dogs whose owners are homeless. The Hope Project was launched by Dogs Trust in 1995 and now runs in 110 towns and cities across the UK. The scheme helps any dog owner who is rough sleeping or living in temporary accommodation, such as a hostel or night shelter. Dog owners can apply to the scheme through their local homelessness organisation or by contacting Dogs Trust direct.
Thanks to the support of the veterinary practices they work with, they’re able to provide free preventative veterinary treatments – neutering, microchipping, vaccinations, flea and worm treatments. They can also subsidise most additional treatments a dog may need.
Over the past 15 years more than 5200 dogs have been helped through the Hope Project Veterinary Scheme and almost 20,000 veterinary treatments have been funded.
Every Christmas the Hope Project sends care parcels containing coats, blankets, toys, treats, collars and leads to dogs and their owners who will be homeless over the festive season. Last Christmas they provided parcels for more than 1200 dogs across the UK.
The Hope Project also works with hostels and housing providers to encourage them to accept people with dogs. Less than 10% of hostels in the UK are dog-friendly, which means that many homeless people are unable to access support and accommodation simply because they own a dog. Dogs Trust provides advice and free resources for hostels on a range of issues such as health and safety, hygiene and behaviour.
Dogs Trust Freedom Project
Since the Freedom Project began in 2004, they have fostered 1100 dogs whose owners were fleeing domestic abuse.
Dogs are referred to the Freedom Project by agencies such as the police, women’s refuges and social services. They then place the dogs with volunteer foster carers who will look after them until their owners are in a position to take them back.
The Freedom Project covers all the dog’s expenses while they are in their foster home, including their veterinary costs. All dogs joining the scheme are microchipped and neutered and any additional veterinary treatments they need will be carried out at their foster carer’s local veterinary practice.
Perpetrators of domestic abuse can control all aspects of their partner’s life. Some owners will have been prevented from taking their dog to a vet so they may come onto the project underweight or with health problems. Once on the Freedom Project, they ensure the dogs receive all the veterinary care they need.