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Home for the Holidays

While most of us will be spending Christmas Day opening presents and enjoying time with loved ones, doggie foster carer Margaret Millar will, for the sixteenth year, be opening up her heart and her home to an Older Age Pooch who has found himself without a forever home. 

Margaret, from Wigan, is a foster carer through Dogs Trust Merseyside’s Home From Home scheme which finds foster homes for dogs that need a little extra TLC and time out from the hustle and bustle of the rehoming centre, such as young puppies, older dogs and those who have previously lived in a home all their life. 

Margaret, who will be spending Christmas Day making sure her latest foster dog eleven-year-old Yorkshire Terrier, Jack, has the best time possible, says: 

“When an older dog comes in I’m told the team now go ‘It’s a Margaret dog’, which is lovely. I tend to foster the older dogs who are sometimes poorly or may not even have long to live, so with the help of Dogs Trust I give them the best life possible. 

“As long as older dogs have a good meal and they’ve got somewhere warm and quiet to have a snooze in, that’s often all they want, as well as lots of love and nice, gentle walks. Looking after them is a dream come true. 

“Jack is a lovely boy but he doesn’t like to be left alone and unfortunately, due to a change in family circumstances, he was going to be home alone so he came to Dogs Trust and he came straight to me!” 

Margaret started fostering dogs for Dogs Trust Merseyside in 2004 and has fostered an incredible 69 dogs. She often cares for older dogs, although she has also looked after a mum and her four puppies, and last year she fostered Dogs Trust’s oldest ever dog to come into their care, 20-year-old West Highland Terrier, Snowy. 

Dogs Trust Merseyside Home from Home Scheme in numbers


dogs spending Christmas in a foster home


dogs rehomed from the scheme this year alone


dogs who have spent time in foster homes in 2019


average amount of time spent in a foster home

For anyone who wants a four-legged friend in their life but can’t commit to having a dog long-term, fostering could be the ideal solution and this Christmas, Dogs Trust wants to remind people that ‘A dog is for life, not just for Christmas®’ and to encourage people not to rush into buying a dog, especially at Christmas time.

Kim Rowlands, Home from Home Co-ordinator at Dogs Trust Merseyside, said: 

“We believe a dog is for life, not just for Christmas® and our fantastic volunteer  foster carers really do show our dogs the love behind this statement; encouraging them to reach their full potential and giving them a safe and loving environment to enjoy whilst they wait for their new families. 

“Our team of volunteer foster carers are amazing and allow us to look after even more dogs as every dog in foster care frees up a kennel for another dog in need.” 

Margaret says: 

“I’m a dog-oholic, but I don’t want to be cured! Helping so many dogs is tremendously rewarding; you’re giving the dog a chance to live in a home environment which they are used to, rather than being in kennels. It also gives you the chance to gather lots of information about them, which helps find them the right home as soon as possible. 

“I would encourage anyone who wants a dog in their life but for whatever reason can’t commit to a dog for life, please foster. It’s wonderful.” 

Dogs Trust Merseyside would love more foster carers to join their team. Visit to find out more about how you can help.