Lesley Dolphin: Why is it so hard to adopt a dog at the moment?

PUBLISHED: 14:54 19 August 2020

Lesley's and Mark's dog, the late, great Satsuma, who lived to be 19, or about 103 in human years. Photo: Lesley Dolphin

Lesley's and Mark's dog, the late, great Satsuma, who lived to be 19, or about 103 in human years. Photo: Lesley Dolphin

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Lesley and husband Mark are looking for a dog they can adopt but it’s not easy during lockdown. If you know of one they can rescue she’d love to hear from you

Lesley's and Mark's dog, the late, great Satsuma, who lived to be 19, or about 103 in human years. Photo: Lesley DolphinLesley's and Mark's dog, the late, great Satsuma, who lived to be 19, or about 103 in human years. Photo: Lesley Dolphin

It seems Mark and I have not chosen the best time to try and find ourselves a new best friend.

It’s five years since we lost our much loved dog, Satsuma, and a month ago we finally decided we would like to take on another. What we didn’t realise was that everyone else wanted to become a dog owner during lockdown too.

Satsuma came to us from the Blue Cross as a very nervous one-year-old collie-Jack Russell cross. Basically he looked like a collie with very short legs. He had traits from both breeds – he liked to try and round up motorbikes or cycles and was excellent at catching mice. He lived till he was 19 (roughly equivalent to 130 human years) and was a hugely valued member of our family. I still have his picture as my screen saver on my phone and I often expect to hear the clip, clip of his feet when I arrive home.

Not long after he departed we moved house and the boys moved out so it wasn’t really appropriate to take on another dog. However, over the last few months, with our shift hours changing slightly and with me working at home in the mornings, we decided that perhaps we could give a home to a dog that needed adoption.

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Within minutes of Mark agreeing we could have another dog I started scouring the rescue centre websites – The Dogs Trust, the Blue Cross, RSPCA and even Battersea Dogs Home. Sadly for us, but not for the dogs, I found there were not many needing homes. There were loads of photos of future pets of all shapes and sizes, all gazing out at me with appealing eyes and lolling tongues. Three-and-a-half-year-old Gilly the greyhound, hoping for a country home without cats. Alfie, an 11-year-old, medium-sized tan mixed-breed wanting a home with no other pets, and Dexter a seven-year-old Border Collie looking for his forever home with older children. But they were all reserved or already rehomed.

Not deterred, I turned to the newspaper ‘for sale’ section. There I discovered I might have to pay £2,000-£3,000 per pup. The demand for dogs during lockdown has really rocketed – and so the cost has shot up. Sadly, the huge demand for dogs has also meant there have been reports of unscrupulous people stealing litters of very young puppies from their mums. The police have warned all dog owners to keep their pets indoors and to be alert to the chance of theft.

So after a few weeks of searching we have reluctantly decided to put our plans to get a dog on hold for the moment, but hopefully for not too long. I do wonder whether all the animals that have gone to new homes during the lockdown will be just as welcome when their families get back to work or school. We all know the saying that ‘a dog is for life – not just for Christmas’, and the same applies to lockdown.

So if any dogs do end up at one of our wonderful animal rescue centres I know of one wonderful possible forever home. The owners have no children or other pets to compete with, an enclosed garden with lots of lawn for lazing around (and occasionally weeing on), and they are just a minute from the beach in one direction way and two minutes from a park on the other. They are both keen to do some exercise and lose weight so at least a couple of walks a day would be on the cards.

All applications considered!!

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