How we’re responding to the Covid-19 outbreak to keep our staff, our supporters and our dogs safe

Coronavirus Update

Page updated 06/09/2020 6pm

Covid-19 Status

Our rehoming centres are not open for public browsing but you can still make an appointment to adopt or bring a dog to us. We’ve set up new processes which include social distancing measures to help keep staff and our visitors safe.

In these unprecedented times, we’re doing everything we can to ensure our vital work continues.

Advice for dog owners  

Adopting a dog  


Although our centres aren’t open to the public, our work is carrying on behind the scenes. We’re working closely with DEFRA and other animal organisations on Covid-19 animal welfare guidance. Dogs in our centres are still being cared for. And we’re keeping our staff safe by working in new and different ways. 

We’re committed to making sure our workplaces and venues open to customers are Covid-secure. Here's how

Some of our usual services have been affected by coronavirus restrictions. But we’re still here for you and your dog. If you need urgent support, contact us on 0303 003 0000. We’ll do everything we can to help. 

Check this page for updates, as the situation changes.  


Our rehoming centres aren’t open for public browsing but you can still make an appointment to meet a dog, or to bring a dog to us.

We’ve set up a new rehoming process with social distancing measures to help keep adopters and our staff safe, including virtual matching, and contact-free dog drop off to new homes. Find out more.

Local lockdowns may affect our rehoming procedures. If you’re interested in applying to adopt a dog, please check your local restrictions.

Thinking about getting a dog? Our guide will help you decide if you're 'dog ready.'

Giving up your dog

We know that life rarely goes according to plan, and things don’t always work out, including owning a dog. If you’re thinking you may need to give your dog up for adoption, then please call us on 0300 303 2188 or contact us via our form. We’re here to help you make the right decision for your dog. More information about giving up your dog

Dog School

Some of our Dog Schools will reopen from 17th August. To keep dog owners and our coaches safe we’ll be running smaller, socially-distanced classes. We’ll also have new safety measures in place including asking owners to bring their own blankets and treats, to wear a mask for the duration of the class and to make use of hand sanitiser provided.

Find out if your local Dog School is open for classes, and make an enquiry. For schools that can’t reopen yet, we’re offering online one-to-one sessions so we’ll tell you more about those if we can’t offer you a face-to-face class.

Find out more about what we’re doing to make sure our classes are COVID-19 secure

Take a look at our online training tips and videos.


Any public events we had planned have been postponed.

Charity Shops

Twelve of our charity shops have reopened, with new safety measures in place to keep our staff and supporters safe. Safety measures include: limiting the number of customers in our shops at one time, in-store hand sanitising stations, face masks and gloves provided for our staff; and 72-hour quarantine on donated goods. More info on how we’re making our shops COVID-secure.

The twelve shops now open for shopping and to accept donations are: Abergavenny, Attleborough, Bingham, Brighton, Deal, Rayleigh, Colchester, Stratford upon Avon, Bingham, Portchester (donation centre), Marlborough and Ross-on-Wye. More info and opening times. Reopening these few shops will help us understand when it’s the right time to reopen more of our charity shops.

The rest of our shops remain closed for the time being, and for the moment we can’t accept pre-loved donations at these locations. We’re also not able to restart our ‘collect at home’ service yet. We’ll update this page as soon as that changes, or if you’d like to be notified when your local shop is ready for donations, , email [email protected].

Shared Adoption Scheme

Due to Coronavirus we have had to change the way we run our shared adoption support scheme. If you are part of the scheme, read more about how these changes could affect you.


We’ve been overwhelmed by offers to foster our dogs during this crisis! If you have provided a foster home - thank you. We’re also grateful to everyone who’s applied to become a foster carer, and we’ll be in touch if we match you with a suitable dog. 

Interested in fostering but haven’t applied yet? Right now, we’re only accepting new applications from experienced dog owners, who don’t have other pets or children in their home. We’ll update this page as soon as that changes.

We are recruiting foster carers for our Freedom Project, which fosters dogs whose owners are seeking refuge from domestic abuse. New applicants must have a garden, as well as no other pets in the home, and be able to commit to fostering for at least 6-9 months. For more information and to apply, visit


Since the start of lockdown, we have been overwhelmed with offers of help from members of the dog-loving public to volunteer with us, and we appreciate every single one. Due to the restrictions we had to temporarily close applications for new volunteers and ask our existing volunteers to stay at home and keep safe.

We have missed them all so much so are delighted that, from 6th July, we are now able to start welcoming some of our existing volunteers back. To start with, Volunteer Off-Site Dog Walkers and Volunteer Canine Assistants will be able to volunteer at our rehoming centres. Some roles might be asked to take on fewer responsibilities than normal.

We will also be opening the doors of a number of our charity shops and will be welcoming back some of our retail volunteers.

For the time being, we are asking all existing volunteers with underlying health conditions, those who are over 70 and those who are “shielding” to continue to remain at home whilst we get our services back on track in line with the latest Government advice. Unfortunately we’re not able to accept any new volunteer applications at the moment.

Some of the devolved nations have travel restrictions still in place so we’ll be asking volunteers in those nations to follow that guidance.

Hope & Freedom Project

Our community outreach projects are more important than ever during this crisis. We’re still running vital services but with restricted resources, and extra safety measures in place.

If you, or someone you are supporting, needs help - please get in touch for urgent, confidential advice: 

  • The Hope Project provides support for dog owners who are homeless or in housing crisis.
  • The Freedom Project provides a pet fostering service for dog owners fleeing domestic abuse.

Keep up to date with us

Keep up to date with our latest news and advice on our website and social media 

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

A dog using a Snuffle Mat Worried about your dog?

Right now, there is no evidence that the virus responsible for Covid-19 can be transmitted from dogs to humans (or vice versa). We’re monitoring the latest research and taking guidance from the World Health Organisation (WHO). If you’re concerned about how to look after your dog, take a look at our top tips for keeping your dog happy and active at home. 

Read our advice