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Volunteer dog handlers needed to help the homeless

Crisis LogoDog handlers are urgently needed to volunteer their services to help homeless people in London over the festive season as part of Crisis Christmas, running from Tuesday 23 December - Tuesday 30 December 2008.

Looking after dogs belonging to homeless people will be an integral part of the services on offer during the week. The dogs will be housed in kennels and they will also have access to a basic veterinary check-up.

Nine temporary centres will be set up in London by Crisis, the national homelessness charity, as part of the Christmas activity. The centres will provide vital companionship and hot meals for homeless and vulnerably housed people as well as essential services like health checks, housing advice, training and further education opportunities.

Volunteer dog handlers will allow guests to enjoy these important services to their full extent while also giving the dogs themselves some rest and veterinary treatment.

Crisis Dog HandlerCrisis needs people with professional or significant experience of handling and working with dogs like dog handlers, veterinary staff or people with kennels experience alongside people who love dogs and have personal experience of handling them.

This year shifts are available from 23 to 30 December from 7.45am to 4pm, 3.15pm to 11pm, and 10.15pm to 8.30am. Volunteer dog handlers are encouraged to do at least two shifts.
Rob Lane has been volunteering as the Service Organiser for the Dogs Service for the past three years.

“I signed up for five shifts as a general volunteer at Crisis Christmas in 2004. Half way through my third shift I went to help out in the dogs area and thought it was really enjoyable so I stayed there for my remaining shifts. I liked it so much that I took over as Service Organiser the following year. I’m hooked!”

Rob says that “a dog is often the most important thing in a guest’s life and looking after the dogs is a huge responsibility. The appreciation from the guests is really incredible. I signed up as a volunteer for Crisis after finding myself at a loose end one Christmas. Now I couldn't imagine doing anything else at Christmas!”

Leslie Morphy, Crisis CEO, said: “Crisis Christmas would not be possible without the help of the 6,500 volunteers who generously donate their time and skills over the Christmas week. Volunteer dog handlers will play a key part in the process, so if you know anyone with relevant skills and experience, please spread the word!”

To find out more about volunteering, call: 0207 426 3874, email: or apply online: