Charity sets up initiative to help Sheffield dog owners in need during COVID-19 lockdown
Sheffield dog owners in need of help to look after their pooch during the lockdown can make use of a new service offered by a charity.
The initiative called Underdog Unity consists of a network of volunteers across the UK who can be matched with people who need help caring for their dog – whether that be walking their dog, shopping for food and supplies, taking dogs to the vets and even caring for the dogs for extended periods in their own homes.
This service is now available in Sheffield, with Underdog Unity volunteers able to provide all necessary duties to locals who may not be able to look after their animals through these unprecedented times.
Sheffield volunteer, Megan Senior, said: “We are getting a lot of support at the moment, and with it being a new initiative, we are just getting the word out in Sheffield to create awareness for anyone who needs help when it comes to animal welfare in our region.
“The coronavirus breakout has ensured a busy start for us as it continues to disrupt people’s routines, we’ve met many people stating they haven’t been able to walk their dogs in weeks. Volunteers like myself are here to help as best we can.”
All Underdog Unity volunteers are vetted and have received guidance and training to ensure they understand the responsibility of their role in looking after someone else’s dog – many volunteers are dog behaviourists or dog walkers by trade, and all others have experience with looking after their own dogs.
The service is offered through Underdog International, which was set up as a registered UK Charity in early 2019 by Nadine Kayser, who had previously co-founded Wild at Heart Foundation in 2015.
The charity aims to reduce the world’s 600 million stray dog population and has become a leading component in the global activity working to address this issue.
Charity founder and CEO, Nadine Kayser, said: “I had this idea a couple of weeks ago to create this network of volunteers across the UK, who can help dog owners who have been impacted by the coronavirus.
“It’s really taken off, we have around 3000 volunteers around the country. All the fantastic volunteers are helping people who are facing various issues, some are key workers who haven’t been able to look after their pets all the way through those suffering from mental health challenges.
“Now all of the volunteers are just trying create sufficient awareness for the service we provide, in the hope of letting people know that they are not alone even when it comes to the welfare of their animals.”
Underdog International runs a comprehensive ‘dogs in school’ programme and have a UK network of therapy dogs and volunteers who provide life lessons in schools.
If you have experience with dogs, whether that be professionally or personally, and would like to volunteer, you can register here: www.theunderdog.org/become-a-unity-volunteer.