FROM JANUARY to October of this year, over 1,900 people surrendered 'man's best friend' to Dogs Trust Ireland.
That's Dogs Trust alone-- not counting any of the branches of the RSPCA across Ireland, not counting private-owned charities, not counting the dogs who are unceremoniously dumped on the side of the road.
And the most common reason was that "they didn't have enough time anymore".
To raise awareness of the issue, Dogs Trust are reigniting their annual 'A dog is for life, not just for Christmas' campaign-- and have also released harrowing CCTV footage of a man abandoning his Jack Russell Terrier, who the charity have named Pudsey.
The unidentified man ties his faithful companion to a tree outside the charity's Rehoming Centre in Finglas, Dublin, where the terrier can be seen looking back in bewilderment and trying to follow him before realising he cannot go any further.
Dogs Trust said: "The man could have brought him into our centre where there were staff there to attend to him immediately, but instead he chose to abandon him, frightened and confused beside a very busy main road until someone spotted him."
When Pudsey was eventually spotted and brought into the care of the charity, veterinarians founds that he had severe dental disease, alopecia and red marks on his forearms which may have been caused by licking linked with an anxiety disorder.
Thankfully the charity says "the little fella is recovering well from his ordeal", but this is just one of the thousands of cases death with by Dogs Trust each year.
In the lead-up to Christmas, they are encouraging people to think very carefully about the responsibilities of owning a dog and to rescue one which fits into their lifestyle.
"Sadly," Dogs Trust said, "many choose a dog based solely on their appearance without undertaking research into where the dog has come from and how the dog will fit into their daily lives".
The animal charity have also released a heartbreaking Christmas advert showing the reality many dogs face when they are gifted as presents over the festive period.
We won't give it away-- but you can watch the advert in full below.
Dogs Trust have laid out a litany of reasons why getting a dog for Christmas is simply not a good idea.
For one, the charity says, puppies need a huge amount of care and attention when they are first settling into their new home, something which just isn't possible for many families at the busiest time of the year-- and they even point out that being overwhelmed by people at such a young age can result in behavioural problems in the future.
Foods we eat at Christmas can also be toxic for dogs, and with a house full of chocolate and alcohol and visitors and new toys, there is a high risk of a puppy or dog eating something which could make them sick.
Plus, the charity says, "there are usually lots of expensive gifts such as games consoles, new toys, shoes, phones etc. lying around homes.
"Puppies like and need to chew and they simply don’t know the difference between cheap and expensive items so generally chew on what they can find."
With such harrowing subject matter, there is a little light at the end of the tunnel-- the charity have asked people to share the first and most recent photos of their four-legged friends with the hashtag #ADogIsForLife, which aims to show the difference in size and demeanour of dogs compared to when you first get them-- but has also resulted in heartwarming stories from people across Ireland and beyond.
We need YOUR help to spread our message please!! We would love to see Twitter full of images showing ‘A dog is for life, not just for Christmas’ and what better way than posting the first and most recent photos you have of your dog using the hashtag #ADogIsForLife 🐾
— Dogs Trust Ireland (@DogsTrust_IE) November 6, 2019
For more information, or to adopt, sponsor or donate to Dogs Trust, you can visit the website here.
Alfie at 8 weeks VS 8 years old yesterday! His journey started in Australia and he came to Ireland with me because #ADogIsForLife pic.twitter.com/lwhxF1A5Rf
— Eimear Cassidy (@EimearCassidy5) November 6, 2019
#ADogIsForLife Mia at 8 weeks and then at 4 years Taz at 6 weeks and then at 9 years pic.twitter.com/wwUprb69Dg
— Brendan Doyle (@brendangtidoyle) November 6, 2019
.@DogsTrust_IE reminding everyone that #ADogIsForLife... pic.twitter.com/X0dqLAXMb7
— Gavin Coffey (@GavinCoffey) November 6, 2019
'A dog is for life not just for Christmas' campaign is being run by @DogsTrust_IE today. Here’s a clip of our Dotty, crazy as a bag of cats but we love her 🐶 Please share your photos/clips and use the hashtag #ADogIsForLife pic.twitter.com/ZuNs0ycAAK
— Arc Imaging (@ArcImaging) November 6, 2019