The RSPCA say that dog rehoming soared during lockdown, as families spending more time at home sought the companionship of a four-legged friend.
New figures released by the charity reveal that 4,877 dogs were rehomed in 2020, even after the re-homing service was paused for several weeks to follow government Covid-19 guidelines.
RSPCA dog welfare expert Dr Samantha Gaines said: “Once we had approval from Defra to re-launch rehoming, we were staggered by the levels of interest we had in our animals; particularly our dogs. We saw an unprecedented level of interest in rehoming dogs from families who were spending more time at home and wanted the company of a furry friend."
The charity say that they experienced a 68% increase to the 'Find A Pet' section of their website between the first day of lockdown and the end of the year. Meanwhile, views on their 'rehoming a dog' page soared by 87%.
The charity launched virtual rehoming in order to continue rehoming animals while still sticking to the Government’s restrictions on social distancing and non-essential travel. People were encouraged to apply for pets online and staff arranged video call interviews and meet and greets to match the right homes with the right people.
Dr Gaines added: “While most of our animals were snapped up quickly, there are some who have sadly been overlooked time and time again because of their colour, breed, age or background. This Adoptober, we want to try to find homes for all of the wonderful dogs who remain with us.”
The RSPCA rescues animals from the worst abuse and neglect. It provides a rehoming service to give the animals in their care, "a second chance".
"As part of our rehoming drive this October - called Adoptober - we want to shine a light on all of the dogs in our care and encourage people to adopt instead of shop." - RSPCA