The Covid-19 pandemic has proven to be far more challenging than previously anticipated. When the U.K.’s recent lockdowns and ‘circuit-breakers’ forced families to self-isolate, many people sought the company of animals to deal with their loneliness. According to the Pet Food Manufacturers Association, this resulted in almost 3.2 million households in the U.K. adopting ‘lockdown pets’.
With restrictions easing and people returning to in-person education or work, many are reconsidering their adoptions as they are no longer able to care for their pets as they once did. Dogs Trust, the U.K.’s largest dog welfare charity, reported a 180% increase in traffic to the ‘giving up your dog’ section of their website (compared to 2020), and phone enquiries for dogs being put up for adoption shot up by 39% (since July 2021). There is no doubt that this heart-breaking issue has affected and continues to affect many kinds of animals, the total statistics of which are unfortunately unthinkable.
Wanneer Greene’s student committee became aware of this issue, we had to act. We decided at the beginning of the academic year to raise money for the Oxfordshire Animal Sanctuary (OAS), a local charity that rehomes around 500 animals every year. Their method, where they match an animal with the most suitable adopter, resonated with us as it provides a sustainable, long-term solution – one of our core values at Greene’s College Oxford. The OAS also has a resolute policy against putting down animals, working instead to assist those with behavioural problems — a vital aspect for many lockdown pets as many did not receive formal training or socialisation.
Our initial goal was to raise £300. After busking, bake sales, fundraising in Oxford, and a charity Christmas quiz night, we surpassed this, making £623. Thank you so much to everyone for volunteering and donating! As a result of your contributions, and our desire to help as many animals as possible, we have raised our target to £700. We hope that this will help the OAS to continue to ‘provide a refuge for dogs, cats and rabbits who have been mistreated, neglected, abandoned, [or] are unwanted’ and to tackle the growing animal welfare issues exacerbated by the pandemic.
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