Rescue pet owners nationwide have revealed that their dogs and cats are now the ones rescuing them during lockdown.
New research by much-loved animal charity Battersea shows that 75% of Brits say their rescue pet is helping them cope during the nationwide quarantine - whether it's providing temporary relief from the news cycle, making an unscheduled cameo in their 10th video conference call of the day, or just being there for cuddles on the sofa when it all gets a bit too much.
More than 1,000 people submitted video clips and pictures of their rescue dogs and cats brightening up their lockdown lives for use in Battersea’s new 'Rescues to the Rescue' advert (scroll down to watch advert) backed by Battersea Ambassadors Paul O’Grady and Amanda Holden. In it the charity celebrates the laughter, joy and comfort rescue pets are bringing their owners and asks people for their support to enable Battersea to continue to care for dogs and cats still looking for their second chance.
Battersea's rehoming and welfare manager, Becky MacIver, said: "The devotion and companionship our rescue pets are providing is more important than ever. Every day we hear stories from owners saying how much of a difference their rescue pet has made to their lives. There are so many rescue dogs and cats helping their owners right now – and many more who are still waiting for their chance in rescue centres across the UK. Now more than ever, Battersea needs support to help us be here for every dog and cat that needs us”.
Deborah Tillett, 40, of East Yorkshire, who is battling brain cancer, adopted Staffordshire Bull Terrier Lacey in 2010. She said: "Over the past eight weeks, I've had days when I felt down, have missed my (human) friends and family, been frustrated and just a little bit angry at the world. But I have not once felt lonely. Because I know that I am loved by this slightly stinky beast. Because I know that if I need a laugh, she will do something daft and make sure I giggle. Because I know that she will sit and give me her undivided attention while I tell her all the reasons why I am feeling the way I do."
Midwife Chelsea and NHS support worker James have credited their Battersea dog Percy with giving them something to look forward to at the end of their long, often stressful working days. Chelsea said: “I look forward to coming home after a long tiring shift where you have been supporting both patients and colleagues. Percy just takes all that stress away as soon as you walk through the door. He makes us laugh every day such as developing his own routine while we are trying to exercise with Joe Wicks. He’s our knight in shining armour.”
Naomi Hannah, 43, of south-west London, adopted mongrel Potato from Battersea in 2017. She said: "Now we’re in lockdown, Potato is loving having us all around. He’s a great distraction from the news cycle and it’s amazing for the kids. My stepson has special needs and Potato is like his therapy dog. It’s been hard for him to adjust to what’s been going on, but Potato has provided some consistency for him."
Speaking about his own lockdown companions, Battersea Ambassador Paul O’Grady said: "I would never have predicted I’d find myself locked down with four dogs but I couldn’t choose better company. I can always rely on them to put a smile on my face, no matter how bleak the news is. They've made my life a bit brighter while I've been in isolation and I'm thankful for that.
“There's something special about the love you get from rescue pets - it's almost as if they know you gave them a second chance, so they pay you back with a bit extra and I think we all need that right now. I've seen for myself the difference Battersea makes to every dog or cat that comes through its doors - now they need our support so they can keep making that difference."
Fellow Battersea Ambassador Amanda Holden added: "I'm not sure what our family would have done without our rescue pets while we've been in lockdown. They cheer us up every day, they give us a routine to focus on when we’re feeling overwhelmed, and they make the kids laugh when they’re finding it hard and missing their friends. It's as if they know we're all feeling pretty worried about the future, so they’re more loving than ever.
“Rescue pets are such great companions. You think you’re rescuing them, but the love and companionship you get in return is a lifeline. Thanks to Battersea, there are thousands of rescue dogs and cats making their owners smile across the UK right now, so please support them to ensure they can keep finding new homes for animals that have nowhere else to go."
Last year Battersea helped over 5,000 animals across its three centres, as well as using its expertise, influence and voice to help thousands more all over the country and across the world. However, like all charities, Battersea is facing a significant drop in income as a direct impact of coronavirus and is reliant on the generosity of the public to continue to fund its vital work helping dogs and cats and the people who care for them.
More than ever before, the charity needs support to enable it to continue to be here for wonderful, imperfect, worth-it rescue dogs and cats.
Visit battersea.org.uk to find out how you can support Battersea, or join the growing community of rescue lovers by using #RescueIsMyFavouriteBreed