THE Christmas elves at the Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, are busy getting ready to spread Christmas cheer across Devon by delivering gifts to the canine companions of people experiencing homelessness.  

Every Christmas, through its Together Through Homelessness scheme, the Dogs Trust brings festive cheer to the dogs of people experiencing homelessness by delivering canine hampers of collars, leads, coats, treats and toys to dogs and their owners. 

The Dogs Trust has been running the unique service for more than 30 years and as well as Christmas gifts, it provides free veterinary treatment to dogs whose owners are experiencing or are at risk of homelessness.  

In recent months Together Through Homelessness has seen an 82 per cent rise in enquiries, as Crisis Homelessness Monitor 2023 shows that homelessness is on the rise in the UK. 

This year, Together Through Homelessness will deliver almost 2,000 Christmas parcels to dogs and their owners at over 215 homelessness services across the UK. 

Some of the services across Devon that have benefited from Dogs Trust’s Together Through Homelessness project include Julian House (Exeter), St Petrock’s (Exeter), Stepping Stones (Totnes) and Harbour Plymouth.

Megan Evans, Together Through Homelessness Team Leader at Dogs Trust, said: “Everyone knows that the bond between a dog and its owner is a strong one but for people experiencing homelessness, the bond is often unbreakable. 

“Christmas can be an especially difficult and lonely time for people in housing crisis, but the company of a canine friend can often help to ease some of this loneliness. 

“However, thanks to the generosity of Dogs Trust supporters, this year we will spread a little bit of Christmas cheer and help almost 2,000 dogs celebrate Christmas with their best friends. 

“Not only that, but we will be able to continue to support them into the New Year and beyond so that more dogs can stay with their owners, regardless of their housing situation.” 

Ellie Jarvis from Harbour Plymouth, said: “For some of those that we work with, their dog is their main companion and source of support. 

“They may not be able to afford many goodies for their dog so therefore it is good for them to have something to give to their dog over the Christmas period. 

“They are always more excited to receive the gifts for their dogs than they would if the gift was for them.” 

As well as distributing Christmas hampers and offering free veterinary treatments Together Through Homelessness supports homelessness services to accept clients with dogs and helps them put in place practical guidelines.

The project also provides starter packs of dog items to help new dogs feel welcome at homelessness services.    

To support Dogs Trust Together Through Homelessness and help dogs and their owners who are experiencing homelessness, visit: .