Cumbria Crack

Foster an animal and help change lives

Oak Tree caseworker Gemma Pagan with Jasmine

Oak Tree Animals’ Charity, Wetheral, is seeking animal foster carers to allow them to start a new service in 2019 to support those who are homeless or fleeing domestic violence who need temporary accommodation for their pet when they are seeking refuge.

Many women and children are forced to stay with violent partners because they feel they can’t leave their pets behind. Research also shows that there is a link between animal abuse and domestic violence putting animals at risk in abusive relationships. Those who are homeless often choose not to enter refuge accommodation as they are unable to take their pet with them and both animal and owner remain on the street.

Caroline Johnson, General Manager at Oak Tree explains: “The bond between owner and animal is well-evidenced through studies where the pet provides non-judgemental support and mental well-being in times of crisis. Due to this strong emotional connection, people are choosing to remain with their pets rather than seeking help.

“Through our Helping Paw programme, we hope to remove the barrier to people accessing help, by providing short-term animal fostering, ensuring the pet gets the care and support it needs as well as the owner. We want to help people to get back on their feet, knowing that their pet will be looked after and that they will be reunited as soon as possible.”

Julie Charlton, Oak Tree’s A Helping Paw Coordinator said: “We hope to start ‘A Helping Paw’ in early 2019, but need to find foster carers to enable us to change animal and owner lives. It is only with the support of foster carers that we can provide this essential service from early 2019. We are looking for foster carers, over 18 years of age, with patience, kindness and experience in caring for animals, who would be able to commit to fostering an animal in need for up to 6 months at a time, or offer respite care for longer-term fosterers.

“Their generosity in giving a pet a temporary home can really transform the life of both the pet and the owner concerned in the longer term. By fostering and caring for these pets our fosterers will be helping an animal, individual or family escape violence, abuse and cruelty at home or enable a homeless person to get back on their feet.”

For more information about how you can get involved in fostering for ‘A Helping Paw’ and to find out about the Charity’s work and how you can help, please visit, contact the team on 01228 560082 or visit the Charity’s Facebook, Instagram or Twitter pages.

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