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Dogs Trust appeals for dog foster carers in Wales to support survivors of domestic abuse

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Dogs Trust is launching its specialist dog fostering service in Wales and urgently needs foster carers to temporarily care for the dogs of survivors of domestic abuse, enabling their owners to flee to safety.

Dogs Trust launched its Freedom Project in 2004, offering a lifeline for dog owners who are escaping from domestic abuse.

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The Freedom Project provides foster homes for dogs and enables survivors to access safe accommodation without the fear of what may happen to their dog if they cannot take them with them.

Joanne Jackson, Freedom Project Regional Manager for Wales, said: “It has become clear that a dedicated pet fostering service is needed in Wales to support people and their pets fleeing domestic abuse. By establishing a specialist pet fostering service in this area, we can help dog owners in Wales find refuge away from their abusive perpetrator, without worrying what will happen to their beloved pet.

“Sadly, there is a strong link between domestic abuse and abuse to pets, with research showing that pets will often be used by a perpetrator as a tool to threaten, coerce and control their partners.

“Each week we will receive a call from someone who is escaping domestic abuse, but they feel they are unable to leave their home until they know their pet will be safe too.

“As many refuges are unable to accept pets, our confidential dog fostering service provides survivors with a lifeline, enabling them to flee to safety knowing that their dog will also be safe and loved until they can be reunited with them.

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“We couldn’t run this life-saving service without our incredible network of volunteer foster carers, who open up their homes and hearts to care for these dogs, knowing that they are not only helping a dog in need, but also directly supporting a family to escape abuse and be able to move on with their lives.

“Fostering comes with many benefits, from encouraging you to keep active and meet other people in your community, through to providing you with company and a waggy tail to wake up to in the morning. On top of this, all the dog’s expenses are covered, and you have the added bonus of knowing you are supporting both a dog and their family get to safety.”

The team are looking for volunteers who are at home during the day, potentially people who are retired or work from home. They must have some experience of caring for dogs and be able to commit to fostering a dog for at least six months, although holiday cover can be provided. All pet food and the cost of veterinary treatment are covered by Dogs Trust.

Sharon** is a volunteer foster carer for the Freedom Project. She said: “The most rewarding part of being a foster carer is that you are helping the dog, but also their human. It is really rewarding when your foster dog is on its way home; envisioning the excitement when they meet up again. 

“I get excited for them; I know they are going to be beside themselves with joy! We talk about it when they have gone- you wonder how they are getting on back with their family, all the while knowing you have given them a loving home for a short time”

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Involvement in fostering through the project is always kept completely confidential to protect both the dogs and the foster carers. Dogs are not fostered within the area that the owner is from and the foster carer will not know who the owner is or where they live.

To find out more about the Freedom Project and to apply to become a foster carer please visit www.dogstrustfreedomproject.org.uk, call 0300 373 0677 or e-mail freedomproject@dogstrust.org.uk

**Names have been changed to protect their anonymity

(Lead image: Dogs Trust)

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Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service

Pontardawe fire crews thanked for ‘paw-fect’ puppy rescue

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Fire crews in Pontardawe have been thanked for a ‘paw-fect’ rescue mission after answering an emergency call with a difference to help a trapped puppy.

Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service say their firefighters from Pontardawe fire station were called to a property in Ynysmeudwy after reports of a 5 week old Spaniel pup that had managed to crawl underneath the home owners bath and into a hole in the floorboards.

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Firefighters attempted to dismantle the pipework but were unable reach the puppy.

A spokesperson from Mid and West wales Fire and Rescue service said: “Crews diligently persevered and managed to gain access to the little pup by skilfully cutting a section of the floorboards, which resulted in the rescue of the little pup.

“Thankfully he was completely unharmed.”

Firefighters said they were honoured to be able to christen the puppy “Terry”, adding that they hoped he won’t get into anymore mischief.

(Lead image: Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service)

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Drivers urged to get a dog carrier to stay legal and keep pets safe on car journeys

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short coated dog inside a car

While your four-legged friend may like the wind in their ears with their head out of the window as you drive down that country road, its actually been illegal to do so for some time in the UK.

You could be fined up to £5,000 for ‘careless driving’.

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The Highway Code says dogs or other animals should be suitably restrained when in a vehicle, so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves if you stop quickly.

If you have a dog, having a quality, comfortable carrier for them is smart. It doesn’t matter if your pup is your travel companion or if you just need a carrier for trips to the vet, finding the right one matters. The right carrier will help ensure your dog stays safe while traveling in your vehicle and will ensure you can take them on your travels.

When you start searching for the right carrier for your pup, you will find many options to choose from. At first, the selection may be a bit overwhelming. You can find a quality and safe carrier for your dog with a few tips and criteria to look for – here, we share some starting points.

1. Choose the Right Size Carrier

Finding a carrier that’s the right size for your dog is important. To figure out what size you need, start by measuring your pup. You need to purchase one that’s big enough for your dog to turn around in, curl up, and stretch out.

To get the right size, measure your dog’s back from their neck to the base of their tail, and then add a few inches for comfort. You also need to measure the dog’s shoulder height to the ground. If you are buying a soft-sided carrier, add two to three inches to this measurement. For a hard-sided carrier, add three to five inches.

2. Safety Features

Another important consideration is the safety features the carrier offers. For example, does it offer a way for you to secure your dog inside the carrier? You also need to see if there are connections to secure the carrier in your car. You want to ensure that your dog isn’t shaken and jostled while you are in the car – it makes the experience nicer for them, and could be crucial if you have an accident.

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3. Easy to Assemble and Clean

Unfortunately, not all dogs are good travelers. Some may get car sick, while others may have an accident in their carrier. Because of this, you need to find a carrier that is easy to put together, take apart, and clean. If you get a hard carrier, make sure you can remove the parts and components and clean them with a dog-safe product.

For soft carriers, it’s best to find machine washable ones. This will ensure if your pup does have an accident or gets sick, you can easily clean the carrier.

Finding the Right Dog Carrier for Your Pup

As you can see, there are several factors to consider when choosing a dog carrier. You must consider your dog and what you need to keep them comfortable and safe.

While there are many options to choose from, it’s a good idea to keep the criteria mentioned above in mind to ensure you find and purchase the right carrier. Your dog is your best friend, so ensure you get them the gear and supplies needed to stay safe no matter where your adventures take you.

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Pets

Aberavon RNLI lifeguards save budgie that had been missing for four days

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Lifeguards at Aberavon beach have helped to reunite missing Blue the budgie with its owner, four days after going missing.

Lifeguards have described this as “a different type of rescue” to what they are used to.

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After a group of school children noticed a budgie on the beach, Aberavon beach lifeguard supervisor, Sophie Phillips collected the bird and made sure it was kept safe.

After appealing to local vets as well as on Facebook, Blue’s owner finally spotted the lifeguard team’s post after the bird went missing on the previous Sunday.

Blue’s home was nearly nine miles to where he was found and thanks to the help of the RNLI lifeguards and a drink of water, Blue was fine and back with its owner in the space of a few hours after being found at the beach.

After Blue was collected, Sophie said: “The last thing I expected to see was a budgie on the beach and we were so glad we were able to help reunite the bird with its owner”.

Blue’s owner has made a charitable donation to the RNLI.

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(Lead image: RNLI)

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