/Lonely this Christmas: The dogs, cats, guinea pigs and horses with nowhere to call home

Lonely this Christmas: The dogs, cats, guinea pigs and horses with nowhere to call home

An adorable new pet is one of the most requested presents on Christmas Day, with children up and down the country begging their parents for an animal companion. 

Some get them and some don’t but, sadly, many pets end up being given over to shelters throughout the year, after families realise they cannot quite look after them.

Those animals can spend months in shelters being cared for by staff, while eagerly waiting their forever homes. 

Here, MailOnline lists some of the animals across the UK who have spent the most time in shelters.

These dogs, cats, horses, guinea pigs and even ferrets are desperately looking for a new home and a new family to welcome them.

They are currently being kept by the RSPCA, Blue Cross, Dogs Trust and Battersea Dogs and Cats Home.

This winter alone, the RSPCA expects to take in more than 10,000 animals in need.

To help them deliver vital supplies to thousands of abused, neglected and abandoned animals left out in the cold this Christmas, visit www.rspca.org.uk/giftofkindness and help Stock the Sleigh with virtual gifts.

Ronnie at Dogs Trust Canterbury 

Time in shelter: Six months

American Bulldog Ronnie, three, has been at Dogs Trust Canterbury for 186 days and is looking for a new home

American Bulldog Ronnie, three, has been at Dogs Trust Canterbury for 186 days and is looking for a new home

American Bulldog Ronnie, three, has been at Dogs Trust Canterbury for 186 days and is looking for a new home

Ronnie is a 3-year-old American Bulldog who has been at Dogs Trust Canterbury for 186 days. 

He is looking for a calm adult-only home with patient owners who will give him the time and space to find his feet. 

He’s formed a very close bond to his handlers so he has so much potential to be a wonderful, loyal companion in the home. 

His own private garden and access to quieter, rural areas will greatly help him. 

Larry at Battersea Dogs Home

Time in shelter: One year and one month 

Larry the German Shepherd Cross has been at Battersea Dogs Home since November 2018

Larry the German Shepherd Cross has been at Battersea Dogs Home since November 2018

Larry the German Shepherd Cross has been at Battersea Dogs Home since November 2018

Larry, four, came into Battersea Dogs Home in London in November 2018, after his owner couldn’t look after him anymore. 

At over a year, he is one of the charity’s longest staying residents.

Larry is an extremely smart dog, who learns things quickly. Despite being a big dog, Larry can be a little unsure when meeting new people but he quickly makes friends when someone plays with him and his favourite toys; tennis balls.

He is often very independent but enjoys affection from his favourite people once he has made a bond with them. 

Larry is looking to live in a rural area with owners who are experienced in handling large, energetic dogs. 

Hope from RSPCA Southridge Animal Centre, in Hertfordshire

Time in shelter: Six years 

Thoroughbred Hope is friendly and loves attention but has been in RSPCA care for six years, almost her whole life

Thoroughbred Hope is friendly and loves attention but has been in RSPCA care for six years, almost her whole life

Thoroughbred Hope is friendly and loves attention but has been in RSPCA care for six years, almost her whole life

Hope has spent almost her whole life in RSPCA care. 

The thoroughbred was rescued by RSPCA inspectors in March 2014 as a foal and has now spent almost six years in the charity’s care. 

When she was rescued she was collapsed and too weak to even attempt to stand, just hours from death. 

She’s made a full recovery and staff say they can’t understand why she’s been overlooked time and time again. 

She may be able to be ridden in the future or could be a companion horse. 

Staff say that she is friendly, loves attention, enjoys being groomed and would be great for in-hand work. 

Kitty Kat from RSCPA’s Birmingham Animal Centre 

Time in shelter: 10 months 

Kitty Kat, seven, suffered with pneumonia when the RSPCA brought him in. He has now made a full recovery

Kitty Kat, seven, suffered with pneumonia when the RSPCA brought him in. He has now made a full recovery

Kitty Kat, seven, suffered with pneumonia when the RSPCA brought him in. He has now made a full recovery

Seven-year-old Kitty Kat was extremely ill when he arrived at the RSPCA’s Birmingham Animal Centre in February. 

He recovered from pneumonia but it took some time before he was back on his paws. 

Now he is looking for a forever home. He’s very loyal and affectionate once he gets to know you. 

He likes to sit on your lap and enjoy fuss – although it has to be on his own terms.

He is very playful and clever, having beaten most food puzzles staff have tried. 

He’d like to be the only pet in his new home with an experienced owner who can slowly build his trust. 

Isabella and Isadora at RSPCA Walsall

Time in shelter: Nine months

Isadora and her younger daughter Isabella get along so well it was decided they would like to be rehomed together

Isadora and her younger daughter Isabella get along so well it was decided they would like to be rehomed together

Isadora and her younger daughter Isabella get along so well it was decided they would like to be rehomed together

This mother and daughter guinea pig duo have spent 292 days in RSPCA care. 

Mother Isadora was heavily pregnant and also emaciated and stressed when she was rescued by the RSPCA in March. 

She had a difficult birth which actually saw her lose the use of her back legs but vet visits and physio means she has now regained her movement. 

Isadora gave birth to five babies but sadly two of them were stillborn. The others were rehomed but Isadora and her younger daughter Isabella get along so well it was decided they would like to be rehomed together. 

They are looking for an experienced guinea pig owner and they are unable to live with any other guinea pigs. 

They love being handled and fussed and are both very friendly and love a chin tickle. 

Ben at RSPCA’s William & Patricia Venton Animal Centre in Cornwall

Time in shelter: One year, eight months 

The five-year-old lurcher was rescued by inspectors 629 days ago and has been nursed back to health

The five-year-old lurcher was rescued by inspectors 629 days ago and has been nursed back to health

The five-year-old lurcher was rescued by inspectors 629 days ago and has been nursed back to health

A loving lurcher is approaching his second Christmas in RSPCA care after arriving at the charity’s Cornwall kennels 629 days ago. 

The five-year-old lurcher was rescued by inspectors and has been nursed back to health. Sadly, he’s been overlooked time and time again. 

He’s a gentle, lovable dog who enjoys slow walks and lazy days. He’s laid-back and loves attention and cuddles.

Belle and Poppy at RSPCA Martlesham Animal Centre, in Suffolk

Time in shelter: One year, 11 months 

Belle the ferret

Belle the ferret

Poppy the ferret

Poppy the ferret

Ferret friends Belle and Poppy would like to find a home together and can be a little shy so would benefit from an experienced owner

Ferret friends Belle and Poppy have been patiently waiting to win over a new owner for 700 days. 

They arrived at the RSPCA when their owner could no longer care for them. 

They’re bundles of energy and love running around and playing together. When they’re not running riot they’re curled up together snoozing. 

They’d like to find a home together and can be a little shy so would benefit from an experienced owner who can continue to handle them and socialise them to build up their confidence.  

Max and June from Dogs Trust Harefield, London 

Time spent in shelter: Nine months  

Lurchers Max and June have been at the Dogs Trust centre in Harefield, London for 273 days

Lurchers Max and June have been at the Dogs Trust centre in Harefield, London for 273 days

Lurchers Max and June have been at the Dogs Trust centre in Harefield, London for 273 days

Best friends Max and June arrived together at the rehoming centre in Harefield and are a bonded pair, meaning they have a strong attachment to each other and will struggle if they are separated. 

They will spend Christmas day with staff who’ll be making the festive season extra special for them with their own doggy stockings and dog friendly Christmas dinners.  

Max, 8-years-old, is an affectionate dog who loves a run around and playing with his toys. 

He has a high chase drive so can’t live with small cats and will need to walk in a low dog-populated area. 

June, 10-years-old, is a sweet girl who enjoys the quiet life. 

She finds new situations worrying so will need time to settle into a home and to feel at ease with her new owners. But once she does, June loves a fuss and will ask for cuddles.

Max and June are looking for a home away from busy roads with a private garden and owners who will be around most of the day to begin with to help them settle in and teach them the basics of living in a family home. 

Cleo at Blue Cross Lewknor

Time in shelter: Six months

Cleo is a sensitive soul who is looking for a quiet home with patient new owners that will give her time

Cleo is a sensitive soul who is looking for a quiet home with patient new owners that will give her time

Cleo is a sensitive soul who is looking for a quiet home with patient new owners that will give her time

Domestic longhair Cleo, nine, has been waiting for a new home at our rehoming centre in Lewknor, Oxfordshire. 

She is a sensitive soul who is looking for a quiet home with patient new owners who will give her time to find her paws in her new home. 

She can live with children of school age but would prefer to be the only pet in her new home. 

Molly at Blue Cross Tiverton  

Time in shelter: Seven months  

Molly, eight, is looking for a quiet home with a garden she can explore having spent more than seven months in a shelter

Molly, eight, is looking for a quiet home with a garden she can explore having spent more than seven months in a shelter

Molly, eight, is looking for a quiet home with a garden she can explore having spent more than seven months in a shelter

Black domestic shorthair Molly, eight, is a sweet girl who absolutely loves to play. 

Tunnels are her favourite thing but she also loves to play with a feather toy and a little catnip mouse. 

Molly likes to cuddle up on the bed in the mornings before doing a daily patrol of her home. 

She is looking for a quiet home with a garden she can explore. She could potentially live with older children, but wouldn’t want to share her home with other cats or dogs. 

Timon and Pumba at Blue Cross Torbay

Time in shelter: Four months 

Timon and Pumba are two best friends that are typical guinea pigs. They are looking to be rehomed together

Timon and Pumba are two best friends that are typical guinea pigs. They are looking to be rehomed together

Timon and Pumba are two best friends that are typical guinea pigs. They are looking to be rehomed together

Guinea pigs Timon and Pumba are best friends who are looking for a new home together. 

They are typical guinea pigs – adorable, loveable and very energetic. 

These two males enjoy a cuddle and stroke from their new owner.

Pickle at Battersea Dogs Home

Time in shelter: More than six months 

Despite being in the prime of her life, Pickle has the energy of a dog half her age and is looking for a new home

Despite being in the prime of her life, Pickle has the energy of a dog half her age and is looking for a new home

Despite being in the prime of her life, Pickle has the energy of a dog half her age and is looking for a new home

Pickle, nine, is a happy, friendly girl who thrives off of the company of humans. 

Staff say that she really proves Staffies are some of the softest dogs around.

Despite being in the prime of her life, Pickle has the energy of a dog half her age and really has a lifetime of love to give.

Pickle does not like being left alone and has a history of over-bonding to her owners, so is looking for a multi-carer household that will all take equal responsibility in caring for her and will not have to leave her alone very often.

She is looking for experienced owners who understand her breed and can devote time and patience to her. Pickle is such a fun and merry dog and deserves a forever home to call her own. 

 

Woody at Blue Cross Southampton

Time in shelter: Four months

Woody is a former racer greyhound that was forced to retire because of an injury. He is now looking for his forever home

Woody is a former racer greyhound that was forced to retire because of an injury. He is now looking for his forever home

Woody is a former racer greyhound that was forced to retire because of an injury. He is now looking for his forever home

Brindle greyhound Woody, three, is an ex-racer who had to retired due to a leg injury. 

He is a very affectionate boy who loves being around people and having a good fuss and will make someone a perfect companion. 

He can be a little nervous around dogs who are off lead or bouncy but could live with other dogs in his home. 

His exercise requirements are pretty low and he will walk nicely on the lead beside you. 

Harley and David at Blue Cross Burford

Time in shelter: Four months 

Harley the rabbit

Harley the rabbit

David the rabbit

David the rabbit

Harley and David are best friends and are looking for a new home having spent four months in a shelter

Harley and David, five, are best friends who are looking for a new home together. 

David is a very friendly bunny that loves some strokes after he has got to know you. 

They can live in a home with children who understand that they love company and attention but don’t like being picked up and cuddled.

Galaxy at Blue Cross Rolleston

Time in shelter: One year and nine months

Galaxy has spent nearly two years in a shelter and is now looking for a new home. He will make a great child’s riding pony

Galaxy has spent nearly two years in a shelter and is now looking for a new home. He will make a great child’s riding pony

Galaxy has spent nearly two years in a shelter and is now looking for a new home. He will make a great child’s riding pony

Bay cob Galaxy, six, is looking for a home as a project pony. 

He has begun his training towards becoming a ridden pony and has started to have a rider sit on him. 

The cob is capable of lunging in walk, trot and canter. 

Galaxy has a wonderful nature and will make a great child’s riding pony. 

Poppy at Battersea Dogs Home in London

Time at shelter: More than six months

Poppy can be a little unsure of new people, but since coming into the rehoming centre she has built strong bonds with staff

Poppy can be a little unsure of new people, but since coming into the rehoming centre she has built strong bonds with staff

Poppy can be a little unsure of new people, but since coming into the rehoming centre she has built strong bonds with staff

Poppy, eight, came into Battersea after her family had a new baby and could no longer give her the attention she needs.

Poppy can be a little unsure of new people, but since coming into the rehoming centre she has built strong bonds with some of the kennel staff and made friends for life.

She has been mainly independent around other dogs, eager to greet then happy to do her own thing, however her history suggests that she can be vocal around them so new owners must be prepared to continue training in this area.

Poppy does like to vocalise when she wants something or needs to tell you that she’s uncomfortable.

New owners must have lots of time and patience to build a bond with her and allow her to settle in in her own time. 

She can be aloof and worried with unknown people and with formal handling so requires a slow approach and continued training in these areas. 

Tom at Battersea Dogs and Cats Home

Time in shelter: More than six months 

Tom is looking for a home who will help keep him fit and healthy and provide him with plenty of activities

Tom is looking for a home who will help keep him fit and healthy and provide him with plenty of activities

Tom is looking for a home who will help keep him fit and healthy and provide him with plenty of activities

Handsome Tom is on the lookout for a home of his own where he can explore and stretch his legs before settling down with his favourite people for a cuddle and snooze.

Tom has tested positive for Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV). 

FIV is a slow acting virus, and most cats who have it live long, happy and healthy lives. 

However, in order to protect other cats and to preserve the health of the carrier, Battersea rehomes FIV+ cats to homes with enclosed gardens. 

Battersea is happy to offer plenty of advice on how you can cat-proof your garden.

Tom is looking for a home who will help keep him fit and healthy and provide him with plenty of activities and attention to keep him satisfied.

Dotty at Battersea Dogs and Cats Home in London

Time in shelter: More than six months 

Dotty, seven is still a very active and inquisitive cat but will require a cat-proof garden

Dotty, seven is still a very active and inquisitive cat but will require a cat-proof garden

Dotty, seven is still a very active and inquisitive cat but will require a cat-proof garden

Dotty, seven, is a sweet, quirky cat with a confident nature. She thrives off of the company of people, and will follow her favourite people everywhere. 

On an evening, she loves to curl up on a lap and watch festive films.

Dotty has had toxoplasmosis, which has sadly left her with a bit of brain damage. 

This presents itself as an occasional head shake or tongue flick, which just adds to her quirky character. 

Dotty is still a very active and inquisitive cat but will require a cat-proof garden for her own safety. 

Jammy at Battersea Dogs and Cats home in London

Time in shelter: More than six months 

Jammy likes a consistent routine, so is looking for owners who have an easy-going and quiet lifestyle

Jammy likes a consistent routine, so is looking for owners who have an easy-going and quiet lifestyle

Jammy likes a consistent routine, so is looking for owners who have an easy-going and quiet lifestyle

Jammy, seven, is a very gentle and sweet-natured girl, who has so much to offer a new home. 

She has so much love to give and really thrives off of human affection. She’s been known to dribble when she is at her happiest.

Jammy likes a consistent routine, so is looking for owners who have an easy-going and quiet lifestyle. 

She can be a little nervous with new people but once she gets to know you, she will chat away with her cute little chirps and loves lots of head strokes from whoever is willing to give them.

While at Battersea, Jammy has had some medical issues which have been easily manageable with medication. 

Prospective owners will need to speak to a Battersea vet before rehoming Jammy.

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