Blog by OneKind volunteer, Kirsty MacKinnon
Many of us face financial difficulties at some point in our lives. The outbreak of COVID-19 has meant financial hardships for many people living across the world as hours are cut back and, in some cases, jobs are lost. On the other hand, key workers are facing strenuous shifts and isolating themselves from loved ones. None of this is easy, and it’s so important to support one another when and where we can.
It can be hard to look after yourself in such times, and sometimes it can be hard to look after our pets as well. With so much negativity stirring around us, we thought we’d reassure struggling pet owners that there is help out there for those who need it.
We’ve compiled a list of places where you can seek some support if you’re struggling to look after your animal companions.
There are various animal charities that can help you with vet expenses. You will usually have to answer a few questions or complete a form to ensure you qualify for such support. Support may range from reduced veterinary costs to providing free treatment depending on your financial situation. Local animal charities may be able to provide this service, but you can also get in touch with these larger organisations to find out how they can help you with veterinary costs:
- Dog’s Trust – provide subsidised neutering for those struggling financially, as well as additional support for the homeless. You can check whether you are eligible here.
- Cats Protection – provide vouchers towards neutering costs for students, pensioners and those who are on benefits/low incomes. You can check whether you are eligible here.
- RSPCA – provide support with vet expenses in certain areas. You can check whether you are eligible here.
- Scottish SPCA also offer reduced neutering and microchipping prices. You can check whether you are eligible for reduced neutering costs here and reduced microchipping costs here.
- PDSA – provide free vet services for those in need of financial assistance. You can check whether you are eligible here.
Key workers, like our NHS staff, are exerting every effort to fight COVID-19 and keep hospital patients safe across the country. Facing long and difficult shifts, often working through the night, it may be more difficult for certain pet owners to provide adequate care for their animals. BorrowMyDoggy is a great website where volunteers offer free dog care*, including walks and pet sitting. The site is still functioning in the COVID-19 outbreak providing that owners and borrowers take necessary precautions and follow government advice. You can sign up either as a dog owner or a borrower and find people who in your local area who can lend a hand…or a paw.
*A paid membership package is also offered but is not essential to join the site.
If you’re struggling to get food on the table, the Trussell Trust have a food bank locater on their website where you can find food banks in your local area. Food banks aren’t strictly just for people either – there are some great pet food banks out there where you can find some necessities for your pets if you’re in need. We’ve included a list of some pet food banks in Scotland below:
Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home – offers wet and dry food, jackets, collars, leads, bowls and bedding.
West Lothian Pet Food Bank – offers food for cats and dogs in West Lothian area for owners with low income or pensions
Canine Campus Pet Food Bank –collects and distributes to pets in need of additional food support in Scotland, collecting food treats and bedding for pets in need
Central Scotland Pet Food Bank – supports fosterers of abandoned animals and those who unfortunately have to use Food Banks and struggle to feed their pets.
Please do not go to a pet food bank unless it’s necessary. If you have any items which you can donate to these services, such as food and bedding, getting in touch with the organisations and see if you can arrange a collection or drop-off.