One of the biggest challenges of accepting dogs in hostels can be helping the owner and dog to move on to more permanent accommodation. It can take some time to help dog owners find a pet-friendly landlord or housing provider.
As an organisation, there are a number of ways you can help your clients with dogs:
- When you are referring your client and their dog for permanent housing, consider what sort of home they and their pet need
- Think of any steps you can take to help refer a dog owner – for example, giving the dog a reference or including copies of its veterinary certificates
- It’s worth gathering evidence to reinforce your client’s case for living with their dog: for example, a statement testifying to the role their dog plays in the client’s continued stability. In this way, you can demonstrate how important it is that the dog and its owner are not forced to separate just to find housing
- Are there any other agencies helping the client which could provide a reference? For example, substance misuse clinics or skills and training agencies
- Many housing providers are worried that dogs will be left alone during the day, so it’s a good idea to think about any ways in which you can reassure the provider that the dog will be looked after while its owner is at work or on training.
Lets with Pets
Dogs Trust runs a Lets with Pets scheme to help pet owners find privately rented accommodation with their pets. There is lots of useful information and free resources on our Lets with Pets website, including ideas for putting together a pet reference and a sample pet policy that can be included in the tenancy agreement.
We also have contact details for pet-friendly letting agencies so it’s worth checking if there are any in your area.
Help with Veterinary Costs
Once your clients are living in permanent accommodation, they will also need to consider how they are going to pay for their dog’s veterinary care.
If a dog is registered on the Dogs Trust Hope Project veterinary scheme, we will continue to support them on the scheme and provide free vet treatment for up to 6 months to help them adjust and settle in to their permanent accommodation. During that time they will need to think about what they will do in future to provide for their dog.
If your clients will be receiving benefits in their new home, they may qualify for free or low-cost veterinary care through the PDSA. For further information, call the PDSA on 0800 731 2502 or visit www.pdsa.org.uk