Some of Britain’s loneliest and most overlooked dogs have written Valentine’s letters to their ideal new families in a bid to find true love this year - and we have their letters here.
But why are rescue dogs writing letters? Well, according to new research from dogsblog.com and Direct Line Pet Insurance, over half of animal rescues experienced a rise in dogs coming into care over the last 12 months with seven in 10 shelters revealing a 9 per cent rise in dogs being abandoned than in 2018. Which is very sad.
But there is hope on the horizon because interest in adopting a dog, driven by celebrity influencers shouting about the many reasons to consider adopting a dog, is on the rise and more would-be dog owners than ever are searching specifically to find cross-breed dogs to adopt. This news bodes well for the 12 lonely dogs who’ve written Valentine’s letters as most are mixed breeds.
Here are the letters of the dozen dogs asking potential owners to ‘pick me, choose me, love me' this Valentine's Day.
Neo is a 10-11-year-old male Staffordshire Bull Terrier cross who has been in rescue waiting for a new home since June 2018.
His rescue, Freshfields Animal Rescue Centre in Liverpool told dogsblog.com: “Neo is a special boy with one of the worst stories we have ever come across here at the rescue. Along with another dog, he was viciously attacked with an axe at the hands of his owner in December 2017. The catalogue of injuries Neo suffered were just incomprehensible and broke our hearts, he is very lucky to be alive. Both dogs spent 6 months in police kennels before being signed over to us for rehoming in June 2018. Thankfully the other dog has now found a fantastic home and we are desperate to find the same for Neo.”
My name is Neo and I’m on the search to find someone to help heal my broken heart. Some very bad things happened to me before I came to Freshfields but I am now ready to put the past behind me and finally have some fun.
I have a big heart with lots of love to give. I love walkies, playing ball and snoozing in my bed. I am looking for a friend who will share those things with me.
Paws crossed, love from Neo x
Find out more about Neo on dogsblog.com or contact Freshfields Animal Rescue direct. Telephone: 0151 931 1604.
Olive is a two-and-a-half-year-old Basenji cross. After being attacked by a machete, she was taken into care and has been living in London for over a year in foster care.
Dear Someone who could love me, whoever that may be,
My name is Olive and I come from a far away place called Thailand. I am told it is a paradise for humans but us doggies, alas, we don’t see it that way a lot of the time. Sometimes it can be a cruel hard place for us. I made the best of a bad lot and had found, what I thought was a safe place for myself, a pizza restaurant. There were lots of people from places that said they actually loved dogs, who were nice to me and gave me scraps to eat.
I was fairly happy, my tummy was fullish and I could meander around and people sometimes stroked me and made me feel not so lonely. Sadly, I made a BIG mistake and used to visit a garden of a local woman because I liked to hide from the sun and she had a shady tree that was handy to keep me cool. I wasn’t bothering her and thought it would be OK to hang out there like I did in the pizza restaurant. Unfortunately, this made her angry and one day she attacked me with a big metal thing that really hurt while I was at the restaurant, I was told it was called a machete afterwards.
Photo Credit: Rebecca Rye
Thankfully there were some of those people about, the ones that came from places where they said they loved dogs like me and they came to my aid. Then one day I was taken to a huge noisy bird and told that the bird would take me to the good place to find a home in something called sofa land, that place where they love dogs.
I was happy but scared and sad to leave Alex [who cared for me after the incident] but she told me not to be scared as I would find loving humans to care for me for the rest of my days. Well, I have been here a long time now and still haven’t found those people. I think it must be because I am still scared of what happened to me, I mostly like people and like to be stroked but occasionally I get scared and someone reminds me of what happened to me in my past life.
I really would like a mummy and daddy for just myself, I think they need to be experienced with doggies like me that have had a bit of a hard time and know sometimes I need space. I am very very loving though once I trust you, which doesn’t take long at all. I get too excited when I see a cat and so I don’t want to live with them and I will always need to be on a lead as I find it hard to totally trust everyone and have a strong chase drive and get distracted and run off.
Photo Credit: Rebecca Rye
For this reason, I need a largish secure garden so I can play ball with my new mummy or daddy. I would like to be the only dog so I can fully be the centre of attention please, I am a diva am told and a proper little madam. If possible, although not a necessity, I would like to live in or around the London area so I can see my foster family occasionally.
Anyway, if you take me on I promise to give you lots of love, if you can learn to live with my little quirks and I will make you laugh and promise to make your life a happy one as you will mine. Please think about me, I am not perfect and will need a little time to get to know but once I love you, boy do I love you. Big kisses, lots of Love, Olive
Find out more about Olive on dogsblog.com or contact her rescue, Animal Adoption International direct. Telephone: 07949 552645.
Shy Trevor is a three-year-old Mastiff cross currently in rescue in Orkney.
To my future family, I want to meet you so much.
I know you love me I just don’t know where you are, I hope you see this. I had a home before, it was nice, but I lost it. I was put to a rescue where the people weren’t very good. They used to starve us and were cruel. Those days are behind me. I am loved in a caring place now but I still dream of my home I see a garden to do zoomies in, long walks on summer nights, a sofa to cuddle up on cold winter ones. Toys to play with and share, things to learn I know you’ll teach me.
I’m being selfish but I would like you all to myself, if I was your only pet that would be best. Maybe older children, I like them but they need to be calm as I can still be a little nervous. I hope you see this and dream of me and love me while you lie in bed. I know I dream of you every night when the kennel lights go out.
All my hopes and love, Trevor
Find out more about Trevor on dogsblog.com or contact his rescue, Loving Homes Dog Rescue (SCIO) direct. Telephone: 01856 781589.
Tara is a five-year-old female Lurcher who has been in rescue for almost two years.
I have been waiting almost two years for my Valentine and I’d love for you to be my sweetheart or sweethearts. If you say yes to being mine, I promise you that you’ll have the best time ever!
I need someone with lots of time to take me for walks, which I love, and to teach me to keep my feet on the ground when I meet new people and stop kissing everyone I meet and to keep my kisses just for you.
I enjoy meeting other dogs on my walks but much prefer to keep you, my Valentine, to myself at home for cuddles on the sofa. I have not lived in a home so I will need training on how to conduct myself but I am very intelligent and learn quickly. Treats help a lot.
I have been to Parkour training which is kind of like obstacle training. I have also done a bit of canicross and scent work which was great fun we could spend a lot of time together doing any of these.
I need a lovely secure garden otherwise I forget myself and dash off chasing little furry things. We can cuddle up in the car after all these events or sit outside a cafe having bacon butties.
My pawprints will be all over your bed and heart. So, will you be my FURR EVER Valentine? Lots of love Tara.
Find out more about Tara on dogsblog.com or contact her rescue, Saving Yorkshire’s Dogs direct. Telephone: 07562 986101.
Raffa is a two-year-old large cross-breed boy who is currently in rescue care in the East Midlands.
Hello, My name is Raffa, or Raffaello if you want to use my full title. I’m a big friendly two-year-old boy from Romania. My rescuers saved me from a kill shelter and brought me to the UK. I’ve grown so much and learned a lot since I’ve been here! I still need to build my confidence a bit. Do you think you could help me?
My foster says I’m a clever and loving boy. I’m loyal and love my humans. I can be a little bit cheeky and nip your bum to get you to play. I can even teach you how to trampoline! I’m still a little scared of the world outside my secure garden, but dear valentine, we could work on this together. All I want is a home of my own to feel safe, and humans of my very own to love. Could this be you?
So please, pick me. Choose me. Love me. Lots of love and Valentine’s licks, Raffa. xxx
Find out more about Raffa on dogsblog.com or contact his rescue, The Biggies League direct. Telephone: 07728 258839.
Friday is a seven-year-old female cross-breed currently in rescue in Cyprus.
I am a small dog who is seeking big love. My name is Friday - bit of a daft name I know, but it is unusual. Will you be my new owner? I am looking for my soulmate who will take care of me forever.
I am small sized with a long body - I look like a Labrador but with short legs! Sounds funny, but I know I am rather beautiful. I am 7 years young, and although it's rude to mention weight I am 9kg.
I love to love people, and I was so sad when my owners couldn't look after me anymore and had to go into a nursing home.
I like dogs who are bigger than me, but would not be good living with a female dog - and I really hate cats!
I would love to live in the UK as it's so hot in Cyprus with my fur coat on. I know I am a smashing girl who loves to love and to be loved - and I really like to roll over to have my tummy tickled, and adore being cuddled.
Will you be my new Mum and/or Dad and love me forever and ever?
PS You can even change my name.
Micky is an 11-month-old cross-breed boy. He is currently in foster care in Stratford on Avon, Warwickshire.
My name’s Micky, well, they call me that and ‘Sweetheart’ in rescue. They tell me that’s exactly what I am.
In late November I came over to the UK and I am such a cool dude awaiting my new home but nothing is showing up for me yet, why not I have no idea.
I'm a handsome dude just coming out of puppyhood. I didn’t grow up with my parents so so I’m just catching up learning manners. But I’m a very good boy and I’m a fast learner. I just want to please.
My foster family say you would love me so much because I have a fabulous character despite being an orphan. They say I’m a blank canvass and a sponge because I soak up all the new experiences. I’m a classy looker and lover. I have the longest lick you can imagine and I reserve it for the people that are kind and lovely to me.
I’m in a lovely foster home with really nice people and it’s just what I want! I wish I could stay here with them but I can’t. I need to find my own family and forever home.
I’m learning all sorts of things fast now and I don’t pull on the lead now and I’ve stopped pinching things but I do still get the urges to pinch stuff and hide it for later so I can munch on it - whatever it is!
I am a very healthy eater, I like sleeping in the crate, actually, it’s ok, and they took my jewels off me so I think I’m a proper fantastic scoop for some lucky family! So get in line ladies and come up and see me some time. All my love Micky!
Find out more about Micky on dogsblog.com or contact his rescue, Dogwatch direct. Telephone: 0121 242 0369.
Bella is a three-year-old cross-breed currently in rescue in Leicester.
I have watched you from afar and longed to be cuddled up next to you. Feel your arms around me keeping me safe and secure. You’re the only one I need! I long to hear your voice call me and praise me for my good doings and love me for me.
I promise to stand by you and be as loyal to you as you are to me. Endless love is what I crave and a home to call my own. To feel love and appreciation, knowing I will be yours forever is all I ask. We will share so many fond memories and make our own adventures together paw in hand.
I hope this reaches you and we will finally be as one.
Yours forever and always, Bella xxx
Find out more about Bella on dogsblog.com or contact her rescue, Leicester Animal Aid direct. Telephone: 01455 888257.
Cooper is a two-year-old cross-breed boy. He has been in rescue for half of his life so far - a year - and he is currently in East Yorkshire.
My name is Cooper. I'm a young boy who’s eager to please. I have been in rescue for a year now and while I enjoy spending time with the people here, I'd much rather be with you, taking long walks and snuggling up on the sofa.
I have lots of energy and lots of love to give, but I would prefer to be in a home with adults or older children.
Please will you be my Valentine? Lots of love, Cooper
Find out more about Cooper on dogsblog.com or contact his rescue, Canine Allsorts Dog Rescue direct. Telephone: 07980 626334 or 07982 090561.
Nina is a two-year-old Labrador cross Spanish Mastin who is in rescue care in Brighton.
Dearest love of my life,
I’m Nina, I’m two years old and I’m a pawfect girl, so my foster mummy says, I just have a few issues which hopefully over time will get better. I have improved being left on my own but I do love having another doggy friend around to keep me company so I don’t bark as much, I only do that because I miss you so much and I can’t be without you for too long. Even though I’m a big girl, I’m still occasionally scared and I need you to let me know it’s going to be ok. Sometimes if I meet someone new or I’m unsure of I can’t be a little bit scared.
I’m a good girl at night time and I sleep downstairs. I have two meals a day so I don’t think I’m going to be hungry and don’t get reminded of my old days when I never had food in my tummy regularly. This way I know I’m always full. I’m a good girl out on walks I can be let off the lead and I have great recall. I’m never too far away from my foster mummy because I like to stay near where I know she is as I love going back home for a big long comfy sleep. I don’t like being woken up from my sleep in a startle as I think you’re going to hurt me, so please rouse me nicely if you need me to awaken
You need to meet me to realise what a beautiful girl I am and see my great qualities. Even though I’ve had a hard time being on the streets previously, I love being in a home now looking after you. That’s what I’ve always wanted. Someone home most of the day who likes lots of exercise with another dog for company and understanding of my past would be amazing.
Please can I be your forever Valentine’s love?
Find out more about Nina on dogsblog.com or contact her rescue, South Coast Rescue direct. Telephone: 01273 253730.
Zac is an 11-year-old Akita. He has been in Nottinghamshire in rescue for around a year.
To my Valentine,
My name is Zac and I am an 11-year-old male Akita.
Just over a year ago I was found wandering alone and was taken to the kennels where stray dogs go and I waited patiently for my owner to come and take me home. I don’t know what I had done that was so wrong but they didn’t come to collect me and I have resigned myself to being nobody’s forever dog ever since.
Luckily I was offered a rescue space with Friends of Akitas Trust (UK) and I arrived at their kennels. I had terrible skin sores, I haven’t told my rescuers what has happened and how my skin came to be in such a mess as I don’t want to upset them. The good news is my skin has healed up now and although I have some scars to show it is no longer hurting me.
I am well looked after in kennels, I have two meals a day and treats in between, I have a comfy bed and a heat lamp to keep me warm and I have a walk, playtime and cuddles from the girls there. I am very grateful for being saved and for everything they give me but its not quite the same as being in a forever home, to snuggle by a warm radiator or have a cuddle on the sofa. I am older now and as us dogs don’t live forever I feel I am wasting time in kennels and that is time I could be spending making some humans happy at sharing their lives with me.
I am an easy going boy, although I am 11 years old I am fit and I still enjoy good walks, I even keep up with the much younger dogs who are also at kennels and I walk lovely on the lead, no pulling from me. I adore toys, if they squeak they are even better and I will play fetch and chase for ages. I get along with other dogs and could live with a female companion, my carers tell me us Akitas live best with dogs of the opposite sex and I quite fancy a female friend, or just a home with people, as long as I am loved that is all that will matter to me. I can live with older children but I have no known experience of being around cats.
I am a compact Akita and I won’t take up much room. I am told I am very handsome and distinguished and also that I have a kind heart. I just need someone to share my love with.
Could you be my Valentine? Love Zac xx
Find out more about adopting Zac on dogsblog.com or contact his rescue, Friends of Akitas Trust (UK) direct. Telephone: 07922665152 or 07738638091.
Shania is an 11-month-old cross-breed girl. She was rescued as a three-month-old pup from the backyard of a derelict house. She is currently in foster care near Sevenoaks, Kent.
My name is Shania and I am looking for a family where I will be loved forever. I had a bit of a rough start in life but I am making up for it now!
I promise you that life with me will be fun! I love food, chewy toys, long walks, play, learning new things and watching TV. I am spontaneous – I love leaping up and giving the people I love cuddles and sloppy kisses. Chilling out on the sofa is nice too. I get bored quickly but am happy if I have toys to play with.
I like dogs and cats but I've been told that I am a little too enthusiastic at times and some of them do not like it. Oh well. I am actually very happy as the only pet at home because I would love nothing more than spending some quality time with the people I love.
I can be shy and nervous too. Noises, crowded places and new people frighten me. I am getting better, but I will still need your help. Do you think you could love me? Xx
Find out more about Shania on dogsblog.com or contact her rescue, LAPA direct. Telephone: 07757 997872.
Top Tips for Bringing New Dog Home
“Dogs are loyal and full of love every single day of the year. So hopefully one of these really amazing dogs will be able to find someone to give their everlasting love to this Valentine's Day,” commented Ryan O’Meara, co-founder of dogsblog.com and publisher of K9 Magazine.
Madeleine Pike, Veterinary Nurse at Direct Line offered this advice to new dog owners about to bring a new dog home:
“It can be very exciting to bring a new pet home for the first time. Although, for some rescue dogs who have witnessed trauma and mistreatment, entering a new space can leave them feeling apprehensive.
“We encourage owners to plan and make sure that their home and garden are safe and secure for the arrival of their new dog. Owners should remain calm and patient as earning the trust of their new dog can take time.
“Owning a dog is a huge commitment and responsibility. During the first few days after bringing your pet home, try not to leave them alone for more than a few hours at a time. It’s important to build that trust with a rescue dog, so that they feel reassured that they are in a safe and loving environment.”