The Duchess of Cornwall visited Battersea Dogs Home this week to promote adoption, particularly during Christmas time.
The Duchess of Cornwall was promoting adoption at Battersea Dogs Home this week, but potential owners are being warned of buying a pet just for Christmas.
The Duchess visited Battersea Dogs and Cats Home on Wednesday with her two adopted Jack Russells to promote the work of the centre.
There were nearly 13,832 stray dogs found in London last year, with Battersea taking in nearly 6,000 of them.
Conor Goold, 23, has volunteered at the home for the last two years and praised the Duchess for her work there.
“She came in and had a look around,” he said. “We had a Battersea guard of honour, there was a tunnel made for her and the dogs.
“She’s done a lot of things for us and she’s always shown a great deal of interest.
“She provides great publicity for the home and helps promote giving rescue dogs a chance. The sponsorship can help us continue caring for the dogs.”
Dog owner Kate Dent, 51, said: “I think she has done a fabulous job. I’ve bought all my dogs from homes and if I bought another I would go there again.”
Sarah Jenkinson, 34, said: “If I was to buy another dog I would probably go through an adoption home.”
But Mr Goold warned of the dangers of people taking on a dog over the festive season without considering the extra responsibility.
He added: “The owner has the dog for a month then the dogs mature a bit and the honeymoon period has worn off. It works both ways.
“We try to educate them, asking them why can’t they keep the dog, but it’s hard to change people’s minds.”
Battersea also boast Paul O’Grady as a celebrity patron and he works with the home to increase their profile and encourage people to help out.
Many will think about getting a dog in December and homes want to promote the advantages of adoption.
But Kelly Howells, 31, of the Green Lane Farm Boarding Kennels and Cattery echoed Mr Goold’s warning about making a rash decision at Christmas.
“This time of the year it’s always manic and quite a few of the organizations want to re-house a dog during the festive period,” she said.
“Adoption might be the best thing to do – but maybe not at Christmas time because you’ll get it for the wrong reasons.”
While charities are keen to encourage people to take on former strays instead of buying dogs they also emphasize the need for sound judgment.
A Dogs Trust spokesman said the charity’s slogan ‘A dog is for life, not just for Christmas’ is as true today as when it was first coined.
She added: “It seems that people are still giving puppies as Christmas presents without considering the long term ramifications.
The RSPCA are cautious about sending dogs to new homes at Christmas.
A charity spokesman said: “Experience tells us it could end in tears so we may not release new adoptions to homes before Christmas if it is best for all concerned.
“We urge anyone thinking of adopting a pet at Christmas to consider the long term commitment required to properly care for an animal.
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