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Christmas at Battersea Dogs and Cats Home
While most homes prepare for Christmas by putting up a tree, wrapping presents and buying a turkey, Battersea Dogs and Cats Home have to take an entirely different approach.
Its Christmas shopping list this year involved sourcing 801 poo bags, 277 litres of cat litter and 150 knitted mice - all sown by one kind-hearted lady.
Despite already housing 450 dogs and 150 cats, last year, between December 24 and January 1, an astounding 96 dogs and 52 cats were brought through the charity’s doors.
While many were strays, the large majority were brought in because their owners simply did not have the time, affection or money to keep them.
One distressing example last Christmas came with Cedric the bulldog who was heartlessly left tied to a lamppost in the freezing cold.
But thanks to the army of staff and volunteers who selflessly give up their time on Christmas Day, the 600 animals currently living at the home will be given a whole host of festive treats.
"Our dogs don’t have families to give them leftover turkey, and the cats won’t get to play with anyone’s Christmas wrapping paper,"explains Carlton Spears, Battersea’s Operations Manager.
"Ultimately we want them to find a new home. But until then we have to make our kennels and cattery as enjoyable as possible.
"So we’re hoping they enjoy this taste of Christmas."
All the goodies will be handed out by staff and volunteers, who will spend hours ensuring all the dogs enjoy a Christmas walk and the cats receive plenty of fuss. Cat socialisers will get all the toys out for the feline residents to enjoy, including special jingle bells that cats love. And once exhausted by the games, the cats can settle for a Christmas afternoon snooze in their heated cat beds.
Christmas carols and classical music will also be played and frankincense and nutmeg will be sprayed in the kennels And to make this year extra special, the public are being urged to help by donating online (by visiting Battersea.org.uk) so each animal can get its own present and turkey-flavoured Christmas dinner.
Although the charity does everything it can to make things as easy as possible for the dogs in their care, some find it very difficult to cope in the busy, noisy kennel environment. So the home is asking people who are interested in fostering a dog or cat on a temporary basis to get in touch.
For more information visit www.battersea.org.uk/dogs/fostering/
To donate a Christmas lunch or present to a dog or cat, visit www.battersea.org.uk/christmas where for £5 you can make their day extra special.