A new survey has revealed that 65% of people in Northern Ireland admitted to feeling lonely at some point during the course of 2016.
However, the good news for dog owners is that their four legged friend can help - with nine out of 10 dog owners polled saying their dog made them less lonely and also made then happier.
With January, the most depressing month of the year, just past, Dogs Trust Ballymena is encouraging people to consider fostering a dog on a temporary basis with the Home from Home scheme which has just launched nationwide.
The Survey was conducted by Onepoll in January 2017 with over 2,000 UK respondents. In Northern Ireland, more than 72% polled believe the main benefit of dog ownership is the valuable companionship provided by their four-legged friend:
86% of dog owners said they talk to their dog when no one else is around
More than 55% of non-dog owners in Northern Ireland said they would consider fostering a dog as a way in which to combat the blues
However, with over a third admitting they do not have time for a dog permanently and more than a third saying they could not afford a dog the charity’s home-from-home fostering initiative could be the perfect solution for many miserable dog-less dog lovers. The mutually beneficial, nationwide scheme looks to find loving temporary foster homes for the thousands of dogs in their care and not only does it help get homeless dogs ready for the loving homes they deserve but it’s very rewarding for the foster carers too with 35% of people surveyed admitting that caring for a dog has a positive impact upon their wellbeing.
Stephanie Scott, Home From Home Co-ordinator at Dogs Trust Ballymena, said: “Spending time with a dog won’t cure all your problems but it could certainly make you happier so we hope people will consider fostering a dog as a positive resolution for the new year. We have thousands of dogs of all shapes and sizes across our 20 rehoming centres in the UK looking for temporary carers varying from older dogs who need some extra TLC, litters of puppies, dogs recovering from illness and those who simply cope better in a home environment. Dogs Trust cover all fees and foster carers can go on to adopt their foster dog permanently should they wish. The average stay for a dog in a foster home is three to four weeks, although some dogs can be fostered up to eight months and some for just a weekend.”
If you are interested in becoming a Home From Home foster carer email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07443981710/ 01268 535050.