RESCUED from the prospect of euthanasia at a dog pound, Dustin the Lurcher has had a pretty dramatic start to life.

He may be a beauty to look at, full of energy, and a perfect sociable pet for the right family – but this week marks a whole YEAR since he was placed in the care of Wood Green, The Animals Charity.

While many dogs and cats spend some weeks or months being cared for by a rehoming shelter before a perfect family is found, two-year-old Dustin has become the longest-serving animal at the charity’s Cambridgeshire headquarters.

Today, following the success of last week’s National Unwanted Pet Week in which the charity appealed for more homes, Wood Green staff are reaching out for a fun-loving household to consider this energetic and affectionate canine as their family pet.

“Dustin is unusual in that he has been with us for a long time now, but he certainly hasn’t been confined to a kennel for that length of stay,” said Wood Green director, Sally Stevens.

“In fact, it’s a common misconception that ‘long-termers’ might be less well socialised, where in reality, we as a charity pride ourselves on ensuring our animals are getting a lot of ‘real’ family life experience by going home at night with our staff.

Dustin and Sally (8)
Sally Stevens with Dustin

“In Dustin’s case, he was fostered by a staff member around six months ago and has been enjoying a really sociable existence as part of a normal home, in between returning to kennels.”

Dustin is representative of the 250,000 animals believed to be requiring rehoming at any one time in the UK.

During National Unwanted Pet Week, Wood Green, The Animals Charity – which founded the awareness week last year – has been spreading the message around the importance of careful consideration when choosing a pet.

Its own research to coincide with the launch of National Unwanted Pet Week revealed almost half of all pet owners say they DID NOT seek advice before taking on an animal.

“Our research shows that people in Britain still identify us as a nation of animal lovers, so it’s depressing to see the stark reality behind the number of dogs, cats and smaller animals which are awaiting a loving home at any one time,” said Ms Stevens.

“What I would urge anyone interested in pet ownership to do, is to please do your research first.

“You wouldn’t purchase something like a smart phone without taking advice or seeking recommendation, so it seems incredible to me – and to the thousands of us which work in the animal charity sector – that potential pet owners would rely on blind faith alone and then be left surprised by the way their new animal fits into the home and lifestyle.”
National Unwanted Pet Week has received a number of celebrity supporters, including the likes of Bill Oddie and Martin Clunes, who have provided voiceovers for animals in need of a new ‘forever home’.

For more about the campaign, go to www.nupw.org.

To enquire about Dustin or other pets in need of families, call 0844 248 8181.