The cost of buying a dog has rocketed since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, with people taking advantage of furlough or home working to find themselves a four-legged companion.
In 2020, the average price of a puppy in the UK more than doubled compared to the previous year, with an average pooch now costing £1,875.
The most popular breeds could cost you closer to £3,000, according to the experts from Pets4Homes. And where there is demand, there is also crime, with unscrupulous puppy farm breeders out to snare loving future dog owners with pets that often come with serious health problems.
But there are alternatives if you just can't afford the sky high prices for puppies, or you don't want to commit full-time to owning an animal. By borrowing or fostering a dog you can still have the joy of walking, loving and caring for it without the long term commitment of a lifetime of care. Lots of charities and trusts give you the opportunity to borrow the perfect companion for the day or the weekend.
Here are some of the organisations that might be the solution to your dog needs:
BorrowMyDoggy is an online platform dedicated to connecting dog owners with dog borrowers for walks, weekends or happy holidays.
It aims to make sure dogs get the care, attention and exercise they deserve while connecting local people through the love of dogs. It is an online community of dog lovers who want to spend time with a dog, not for a profit.
You can sign up and browse opportunities where you live, but if you want to take the next step and get in touch with someone you see, you need to become a premium member which costs £12.99 a year for 'borrowers', which includes things like insurance and a 24/7 vet line.
Join our brand new website TeamDogs now.
When you get there, make sharing a picture of your dog in our Top Dogs feed your very brilliant first job.
Maybe when you've done that, leave a recommendation to help fellow dog owners in the TeamDogs community.
The Cinnamon Trust
The Cinnamon Trust is a national charity for the elderly, the terminally ill and their pets. It is the only specialist national charity for people in their last years and their much loved, much needed companion animals. You can be apart of a network of 17,000 volunteers who walk a dog every day for a housebound owner, foster pets when owners need hospital care and fetch the cat food, or even clean out the bird cage.
The Cinnamon Trust helps more than 150,000 people a year with 157,977 animals, as well as running two home from home sanctuaries.
It is currently looking for urgent volunteers in Aberystwyth. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, visit their website to download a registration form or email [email protected]
Share Your Pet brings together animal lovers to borrow & share pets. They connect pet owners with trusted local pet nannies who would love to look after their companions.
The pet owners typically need help when they are at work or on holiday, or at other times. The website says it promotes animal welfare, reduces the number of pets rehomed each year and champions responsible, knowledgeable pet ownership.
You can enter your location and pick a pet and then connect with the owner. Each pet and owner have their own proﬁle page. Once again, there is a charge if you want to start messaging people - which is £3.50 or £5.50 a month, depending on which membership you choose.
HopeRescue has a number of dogs coming from homes or its rescue centre that would benefit from a foster home rather than a kennel environment.
You will be looking after a dog that's recovering from surgery or those that do not cope well with being in kennels. By doing so you will help the charity find out what they are like around other dogs and possibly cats, as well as with children, and this will help it to get the right permanent home for them.
If you live in south Wales and would like to find out more, you can complete a Foster Application form. A member of the fostering team will then contact you for an initial chat to discuss fostering in more detail.
Find great options for your family in your local area:
Animal care volunteer, RSPCA
From cat cuddling to dog walking or helping out in a hospital or wildlife centre , the RSPCA has lots of hands-on volunteer vacancies that you could get involved with.
The dogs who come into their care can often spend weeks, or even months, in kennels. They need volunteers to help them make their stay as pleasurable as possible. You could help to ensure the dogs get time for the play, exercise and socialisation they need by giving up a few hours of your time to become a volunteer dog walker.
You can volunteer here.
Volunteering Matters Wales
Volunteering Matters Wales is looking for dog walking volunteers in Pembrokeshire. Volunteers are needed to help people who are self-isolating and unable to leave their home as a direct result of the Covid-19 pandemic.