All alone for Christmas

This Is Wiltshire: Jessie Bascombe of Swindon Needy Dogs, left, and dog foster carer Jenny Watson with some of the dogs that need a home Picture: STUART HARRISON Jessie Bascombe of Swindon Needy Dogs, left, and dog foster carer Jenny Watson with some of the dogs that need a home Picture: STUART HARRISON

These 12 dogs spent the season at a rescue centre ...can you give one of them a home?

Swindon’s rescue centres have warned a dog is not just for Christmas.

Stray centres in Swindon which save dogs from the pound before they are put down are urging people to make a considered decision before they make a move to adopt an animal.

Abandoned and neglected Staffordshire bull terriers are posing a real problem for rehoming centres, as families are less willing to take on the breed.

One staffie, Megan, was found tied to a tree more than a year ago and is still waiting someone to take her to a good home, while stray Fletcher, a lurcher, outstayed his welcome at a pound and was due to be put down before charity Swindon Needy Dogs came to the rescue.

This has left some dogs living in temporary homes for over a year, and while there is an urgent need for foster families, people are being warned against making a rash decision.

Jessie Bascombe, dog rehousing officer with Swindon Needy Dogs, said: “If your child wants a dog it has to be a family decision.

“We feel so sorry for them when they are in the pound, and will try to save as many as we can. A lot of pounds empty out just before Christmas so they have space to home all the dogs which get lost or abandoned. They will put to sleep any dogs who have been there for a while.

“The ones we take on have to be those we think are going to be suitable for foster homes.

“We have a definite problem with Staffies. There are so many of them who need homes and there are no homes that are willing to take them on.

“That is surprising, because Staffies are the nanny dog of the nation. But they are not ideal for families with small children, and if you cannot properly exercise them it isn’t the dog for you.

“They are high maintenance –it is like having a two-year-old for 10 years. People have got to be prepared to deal with them.

“While everyone says they would love a puppy, rescue centres are overflowing with them and we recently struggled to rehome three adorable puppies.”

Swindon Needy Dogs has been operating for two years, and has gone from strength to strength.

“We have had unbelievable support from the public,” said Jessie. “We started off with one dog, but now we have so many coming through. We are desperate for more foster homes. The more we get the more dogs we can take on.”

Dogs will often be referred from Swindon Council, and from there will go to a number of organisations, including Swindon Needy Dogs and Blue Cross Burford.

Despite the pressure on her services, Jessie is asking people to think long and hard about adopting.

All of the dogs featured on this page are either with Swindon Needy Dogs or the Blue Cross at Burford.

Swindon Needy Dogs charge £180 for an adoption and all dogs are neutered, vaccinated and microchipped. To donate or adopt a dog visit www.sndogs.org.uk. To adopt a dog from Blue Cross Burford contact 0300 777 1570 or go to www.bluecross.org.uk.

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