UK
17/10/2015 09:27 BST | Updated 19/11/2015 07:59 GMT

Dogs Trust's Hope Project Shows Bond Between Homeless Owners And Their Dogs In Moving Photos

Thousands of homeless people are living on Britain's streets, many of whom are accompanied by dogs.

This companionship means a huge amount to both owner and pet, yet with so few hostels accepting animals - and the added expense of vet and food bills - having a dog while living on the streets puts an extra burden on people who are already in a desperate situation.

But over the past 20 years, Dogs Trust's Hope Project has transformed the lives of homeless dog owners.

When it was launched in 1995 there was not a single dog friendly hostel in the UK, and just one veterinary clinic run by the Hope Project in London.

Now, there are 157 dog friendly hostels nationwide and the Hope Project provides services in 107 towns and cities across the UK. Last year the charity funded more than 1,700 veterinary treatments for homeless dogs.

A survey commissioned by Dogs Trust revealed that 67% of rough sleepers were still living on the streets because they could not find accommodation with their dog, with almost two thirds of people being asked to give up their dog in order to get into accommodation.

Here, we look why these dogs mean enough to their owners, that they are prepared to live on the streets in order to keep their companion.

Dogs Trust's Hope Project

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Clare Kivlehan, Hope Project manager, said: “This service is completely unique in that it is the only UK wide project set up specifically to help homeless people and their dogs.

“With 82% of homeless people saying that their dog is their best friend, we are proud to have provided essential and life-saving veterinary care to so many dogs over the past 20 years.

“However, with two thirds of homeless dog owners being asked to give up their dogs in order to find accommodation we know there is still much to be done and we hope our services continue to help as many homeless people and their dogs as possible over the next 20 years.”

Dogs Trust has also developed a Christmas parcel service for those who are homeless. This festive season the project is expected to provide parcels to more than 1,200 dogs nationwide.