Heartbreak of dog owners impacted by pandemic

Dogs Trust has launched a new tear-jerking advert featuring real phone calls made to the charity’s helpline by dog owners who have been impacted by the pandemic  

The recordings have been shared via a radio and video advert as part of the charity’s ongoing ‘Change the Tale’ campaign.

The advert highlights the anguish felt by owners whose lives have been turned upside down by the pandemic. 

Based on trends seen during the last recession, the charity is braced for an increased reliance on its services, caring for dogs in need. Between August 2020 and January 2021, Dogs Trust saw a 41% increase in web traffic to its ‘Giving Up Your Dog’ page compared to the six-month period beforehand.

The Change the Tale ad campaign features snippets of real phone calls made to Dogs Trust’s helpline from members of the public needing to give up their dog. The calls demonstrate how the fallout from the pandemic is starting to place a strain on owners, as they struggle to continue to care for their dog. A video version of the advert, which provides a visual representation of the calls, has been released on social media, available above.

Dogs Trust’s UK-wide campaign describes just some of the reasons people have approached the charity for support in recent months and how a call to Dogs Trust changed the tale for these dogs and their owners. In one call, a lady explains the pain of having to give up her dog having lost her job and home. Other callers cite the burden of increased working hours, firm closures, house evictions and financial struggles. 

Dogs Trust has released these calls to shed light on the struggles that more owners could face in the months and years ahead. The charity is encouraging people to ‘change the tale’ for dogs affected by the pandemic, and to seek advice if they feel they can no longer care for their pet.  

One dog that Dogs Trust Ballymena has helped changed the tale for is six-month-old Staffordshire Bull Terrier puppy, Dyllis, who came into the care of the Ballymena team in the Summer of 2020. Sadly, Dyllis had been found straying by a member of the public and was brought to the Rehoming Centre.


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Dyllis with Sasha and Matt

When she first arrived at the centre, Dyllis was a very anxious girl but soon warmed to the team when she realised they were on hand to offer snuggles and lots of tasty treats. Although no one ever came forward to reclaim Dyllis, she did find a wonderful new home thanks to the efforts of her canine carers.

Belfast local Sasha Ferguson and her partner Matt had been searching for a Staffordshire Bull Terrier since the beginning of January 2020 and when Dyllis’s profile appeared on the Dogs Trust website, Sasha immediately was immediately smitten and set out to meet her.

Conor O’Kane, Manager at Dogs Trust Ballymena, said: “It is so wonderful to know that Dyllis has found her forever home, along with many other dogs that we have been able to change the tale for thanks to people like Sasha and Matt.


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“We know that the pandemic, and its economic repercussions, will have devastating effects on some people’s lives and their ability to care for their pets. When people take on the responsibilities of dog ownership, they do so with the best intentions to care for them long-term. But as the calls to Dogs Trust show, in these extraordinary times circumstances can change in a heartbeat, leaving owners with incredibly tough decisions to make.  

If you are struggling and need advice or support to give up your dogvisit www.dogstrust.org.uk/changethetale