'Dog For Life' Christmas Campaign Launched

Excuses such as "my dog doesn't match the sofa" and "he isn't as cute as when I first got him" are just some of those dog owners have used when getting rid of their pets.

Animal welfare charity the Dogs Trust said over 16,000 canines have been cared for at its 18 centres across the UK in the past 12 months.

For the 34th year it has launched its festive campaign, A Dog Is For Life, Not Just For Christmas, in a bid to make potential owners aware of what owning an animal involves.

The campaign discourages giving an animal as a present and in line with this, the Dogs Trust does not rehome any dogs between December 22 and 29, or until January 2 at its centres in Scotland.

George Paparakis, assistant manager at Glasgow's rehoming centre, said that while many people give up their pets for genuine reasons, others do so because they had not thought carefully enough about the demands of keeping them.

"Sometimes there are real reasons why dogs have to come in to us, but it can get quite frustrating when people perhaps don't truly understand what it means to live with a dog," he said.

"So sometimes the dogs will come back to us and some of the reasons that we've seen over the years have been: The colour of the dog doesn't match the colour of the sofa; or the dog has got too big for the house; or the dog barks and makes too much noise."

He added: "It just highlights the importance of doing research and thinking about the dog that you're taking before actually committing to it."

In one case, an owner who recently bought a white couch brought a dog back because it was leaving black hairs on it, Mr Paparakis said.

Other reasons for returning dogs at centres around the UK have included: "He keeps scaring the goldfish"; "he snores really loudly", "he can't do any tricks"; "my dog keeps passing wind".

The Dogs Trust said some dogs are handed in "just for being dogs" and it is bracing itself for another influx of unwanted presents.

Chief executive Clarissa Baldwin said: "Dogs can provide a world of happiness and enjoyment, and we urge anyone considering a new addition to the family to think it through properly.

"(They should) remember that the only place a puppy should be is on the outside of the wrapping paper, not inside it."

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