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Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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It\'s a dog\'s life

July 10 2009
Photographer: Isabel Hutchison Photographer: Isabel Hutchison
Man‘s best friend is not always welcome in hostels, but help is at hand Those homeless who have pets may struggle to find a place to live. So much so that the Dogs Trust, alongside Broadway, the Greater London Authority and St Mungo's are alarmed by the lack of permanent accommodation available for rough sleepers and their "best friends". The Dogs Trust say this is a particular problem for pet friendly referral agencies in London who have people who need to find move-on accommodation. To reverse the situation, the Dogs Trust's Hope Project is currently updating its 'Welcoming Dogs' pack, which advises projects on accepting clients with dogs. To gain insight for the new pack, the charity is sending out a survey to accommodation projects. "We conducted a similar survey in 2002 before we produced the original 'Welcoming Dogs' pack, and hence we are keen to discover if attitudes to homeless dog owners have changed in this time," said Chris Ferris, Hope Project Coordinator. "We are also keen to make sure that the new pack addresses all the issues relating to accepting clients and their dogs which are currently relevant to homelessness services and projects." The results of the survey will not be available externally, but will be used by Dogs Trust to ensure that the new information pack is up-to-date and covers as many issues as possible. The charity says that it is extremely important that housing associations and other permanent housing providers begin to understand the relationship which exists between people and their pets. Clare Kivelham, Dogs Trust Outreach project manager, said that homeless owners develop "an especially close bond with their pet because of their situation - the stability, routine, love, responsibility and companionship brought about from looking after a pet." The 'Welcoming Dogs' pack of 2002 showed a shocking 86 per cent of hostels refused to allow clients with their dogs. Kelly Murphy, of Broadway, is very concerned that many people being referred who have pets are waiting for long periods of time, or in some cases are unable, to find suitable permanent accommodation.
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