Providing food, vet care, medicine and grooming for homeless dogs - and reassurance for their owners
While a number of organisations exist to support the homeless community in the UK, there is little dedicated support available for their canine friends. After six years of running a street outreach programme, Michelle Clark was inspired to do something about this after taking in Poppy, a lovable staffie whose owner was taken ill.
Dogs on the Streets (DOTS) was born in 2016, and today runs weekly stations around London, along with regular services in Oxford, Kent, Bournemouth, Milton Keynes and Dundee, where homeless people can access free food, medicine, grooming, training and vet care for their dogs.
A mobile vet van, donated by a supporter in 2017, helped transform operations, providing a clean and safe environment for check-ups, vaccinations and basic care. Run by volunteers and supported by donations, DOTS also works with brands such as Forthglade, Pet Remedy and Equafleece, which donate food, collars, blankets and toys for the 400+ dogs on its books.
This all helps with owners’ wellbeing too: as well as reassurance that their dogs are being taken care of, DOTS’ kennels provide a safe space when owners have housing meetings or hospital appointments.
Michelle helps owners access housing services, too; and along with expanding DOTS to more locations across the UK, her ultimate goal is to help people, and their dogs, off the streets altogether.