Lonely dog in shelter for 400 days faces sad Christmas unless forever home found

One of Britain’s loneliest dogs is desperately seeking a new home to avoid another Christmas in a shelter.

Eric the lurcher has spent more than 400 days being looked after by the charity Blue Cross.

Staff hope to find him an owner before he spends one more festive season without a proper home.

But the five-year-old pooch will receive a special Christmas dinner and presents as workers try to make the big day as special as they can.

He was rescued by the organisation in November 2019 as his previous owner could no longer care for him.

Eric, who lives at a centre in Lewknor, Oxfordshire, is described as ‘fun, loving and playful’, but who gets worried by other dogs.

Staff say his ideal home would be one where he is the only pet, with an experienced owner with a daily set routine.

He also needs to be street walked, where he is unlikely to encounter dogs who are off lead.

It comes as the charity desperately searches for families to rehome its long stay dogs.

They include Ari, a nine-month-old crossbreed, and seven-month-old Terrier cross Snoop, both currently in Tiverton, Devon.

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The charity also hopes to rehome Moomoo, a three-year-old toy poodle, and three-year-old crossbreed Ziggy, who are both in Southampton.

But the organisation still plans to throw all its animals a special celebration to mark December 25, even if they haven’t found new owners by then.

Dogs at the charity’s centres, which are based across the country, will be fed a Christmas turkey meat dinner.

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They will also receive presents and stockings which have been donated by kind-hearted Brits.

Sian Sharples, head of rehoming services at Blue Cross, said: “Gifts are given out to our pets, turkey meat and a few other treats are served and there are plenty of walks and strokes for those who are still waiting for their forever homes.

“We would never advise giving a pet as a surprise gift, but 2020 has been a lonely year for many, with many apart from loved ones this year and time to consider whether you can take on and care for a pet.

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“If you’re thinking about taking on a pet then we would urge you to consider a rescue who wants nothing more than to celebrate their future Christmases together with a family of their own.”

Laura Boyle, centre manager at Blue Cross in Torbay, said: “We will be doing presents and turkey at Torbay this year for the guys that are staying with us.

“We already have presents donated under our Christmas tree here at the centre.”

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Some of the charity’s centres let dogs who are in Blue Cross foster homes come in to choose a gift from under the tree.

Animal welfare assistant Susie Winship, 34, of Suffolk, will spend the day working at the charity’s rehoming centre in Wherstead near Ipswich – her eighth in a row.

She said: “I love working Christmas Day at the centre. The phones don’t ring, there are no emails.

“It’s a day dedicated to the animals. We’ll go out on a long dog walk, and the animals have stockings and presents.

“It’s the best way I could possibly spend Christmas Day.”

The charity is asking Brits to donate £3 to help fill a bowl with festive food so homeless pets are fed on Christmas Day.

To donate to the Christmas Dinner appeal, click here.

  • Dogs
  • Animals
  • Christmas

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