Our Freedom Project marks one year of helping pet owners fleeing domestic abuse in Essex | Dogs Trust

Dogs Trust

Our Freedom Project marks one year of helping pet owners fleeing domestic abuse in Essex

We are marking the one year anniversary of The Freedom Project, a vital initiative which helps pet owners fleeing domestic abuse in Essex to escape abusive situations by providing a safe temporary foster home for their dogs. As the project enters its second year, the charity is looking for foster carers, with experience of caring for dogs to sign up and foster a dog on the scheme.

To mark the anniversary, Essex Police have released a video to highlight the project and appeal for volunteer foster carers.

The Freedom Project works by placing the dog at risk into the home of a volunteer foster carer who will care for them until they can be safely reunited with their loving families. Many refuges are unable to accept pets so this important pet fostering service gives pet owners peace of mind that their dog will be well cared for until they are rehoused and able to take their beloved pets back.

Over the past 12 months, 20 dogs have been placed on the scheme, with carefully selected foster carers. The Essex service now accounts for nearly 50% of dogs fostered across the whole of London, Hertfordshire and Essex.

Danielle from Essex who has been helped by the project says,

“I was mentally and physically abused by my partner for 5 years. At first it was just me but when he started to shout at my dog Archie, I knew it was time to leave. I couldn’t leave Archie behind so I started to stay at friends’ houses but it would never last long. I even stayed in my car with him at one point just to keep us together.

It was a huge relief when I found a refuge and they told me about The Freedom Project. Although I was worried about parting with Archie - the Freedom team reassured me that he would be well cared for and I would get regular updates. Without The Freedom Project I wouldn’t have known what to do; I couldn’t have given Archie up or left him in kennels. When Archie came home it felt like a new chapter and we could start our life again – I couldn’t recommend The Freedom Project enough.”

Amy Hyde, Freedom Project Manager for Essex says,

“Leaving an abusive home can be an incredibly difficult

decision to make, especially if it means having to give up your dog, or worse, leave them behind. Sadly, research shows that pets in the home are often affected by domestic abuse.  By offering our service, we are helping dog owners to get to safety knowing that their pets are safe and well cared for until they are able to be reunited with them.”

“The delivery of this service in Essex would not have been possible without the help of our incredibly dedicated volunteer foster carers who have opened their homes and hearts to these dogs.  If you would like to help someone in need by fostering a dog on the Freedom Project, please get in touch to apply for this rewarding opportunity.”

Essex Police Detective Superintendent Jason Hendy adds,

“Essex Police fully supports the fantastic work of The Dogs Trust, Freedom Project. Their support helps domestic abuse victims and their families on a daily basis as they attempt to rebuild their lives. By providing this safe haven for their dogs, our officers can continue supporting and safeguarding domestic abuse victims and their loved ones.”

Due to the high demand for our service we are urgently looking for volunteers with experience of caring for dogs, who are at home during the day and can look after dogs for an average of six months. All the dogs’ expenses are covered by Dogs Trust, so this is a particularly rewarding volunteering opportunity for dog lovers who aren’t able to own a dog on a permanent basis.