DOGS Trust Salisbury is bracing itself for an increase in demand for its services as dog owners are faced with difficult choices due to the pandemic.

The heart-breaking stories of owners that have had to hand over their dogs to the charity feature in its Change the Tale campaign, which features snippets of phone calls made to its helpline.

Based on trends seen during the last recession, the charity says it is braced for an increased reliance on its services, caring for dogs in need. Between August 2020 and January 2021, Dogs Trust saw a 41 per cent increase in web traffic to its ‘Giving Up Your Dog’ page compared to the six-month period beforehand.

Dogs Trust Salisbury Rehoming Centre in Newton Tony

Dogs Trust Salisbury Rehoming Centre in Newton Tony

In one call, a lady explains the pain of having to give up her dog having lost her job and home. Other callers cite the burden of increased working hours, firm closures, house evictions and financial struggles.

Dogs Trust Salisbury manager Claire Rowe said: “We know the pandemic will have devastating effects on some people’s lives and their ability to care for their pets. When people take on the responsibilities of dog ownership, they do so with the best intentions to care for them long-term.

“But as the calls to Dogs Trust show, in these extraordinary times circumstances can change in a heartbeat, leaving owners or their families with incredibly tough decisions to make.

“It is heart-breaking to hear someone having to choose between a roof over their head, or their dog and we’d like to thank the people who made these calls for allowing us to share their story and for coming to us in their time of need.

“Unfortunately, we believe the worst is yet to come and we expect many more calls like this as the pandemic fallout continues - and we will do all we can to help those in need of our support.”

However, 10-year-old Malamute Merlin and 14-year-old Terrier Harvey who came into the care of Dogs Trust in July after their owner passed away from Covid-19 have been able to get a second chance of a loving home.



The team at Dogs Trust Salisbury were determined to keep the duo together after their world had been turned upside down. As well as being an older pair of dogs, they also had some medical needs so staff were worried these factors might hold them back when it came to finding a forever home.

Harvey had a heart murmur and some stiffness in his back legs which he was on treatment for, and Merlin was suffering from alopecia and was almost completely bald when he arrived. But after lots of love and TLC from the centre staff and the veterinary team.



They were adopted in August by Tony Smith and Jenny Glasspool from Salisbury.

Tony said: “They are wonderful dogs and although it took some time for them to relax and come out of their shells, they have settled in perfectly and are really happy, as are we. We can’t imagine life without them.”

Harvey and Merlin

Harvey and Merlin

Clare added: "It was heart-breaking to hear of the reason behind why Harvey and Merlin needed to come into our care but thanks to our dedicated team and owners like Anthony, we were able to give them a second chance at happiness."

Dogs Trust is encouraging people to seek advice if they feel they can no longer care for their pet. It provides a range of services to help keep dogs and their owners together, such as support for owners without a home and a fostering service for those experiencing domestic abuse.

The charity also offers the Canine Care Card, which guarantees that if an owner should pass away or become very unwell, their dog will be cared for by Dogs Trust.


Get more Salisbury news.

You can also like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter and Instagram to stay up to date.

Email with your comments, pictures, letters and news stories.