A squad of specially trained volunteers has been given the task of keeping Battersea’s cats and dogs calm over Christmas.

Image credit: Kate Walch

The Battersea Stress Squad – funded by players of the People’s Postcode Lottery – will use sights, smells and sounds to reduce anxiety in the 400 dogs and 250 cats during the festive period.

The lottery donated £50,000 to the welfare group, which the charity states will provide vital funds to allow the animals to be cared for over Christmas.

Sarah Whiffen, canine welfare trainer at Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, said the support from players of the lottery game would go a long way in helping lost, unwanted or abandoned animals feel less anxious.

She said: “While we try our very best to ensure our dogs and cats are as comfortable as possible while they wait for a new home, some, like Gizmo the Staffie, find it very tough being in the kennels.

“For many people, Christmas is all about being with family, but for the dogs and cats at Battersea, the comforts of home can be exactly what they’re missing.  

“We’re continually focused on improving kennel life and it’s very important for us to be able to make our kennels an interesting place where the dogs and cats can hopefully relax and also have some fun.

“Thanks to this generous Christmas award of £50,000 from players of the People’s Postcode Lottery, we’re able to provide bundles of new toys and treats to make sure there’s always an interesting sight, sound or smell to keep our animals occupied. In the spirit of the season, this will mean things like jingle bells for cats, festive chew toys for dogs and – of course – lots of attention from the Squad themselves.”

Clara Govier, head of charities at the People’s Postcode Lottery, added: “I am delighted players are able to support Battersea Dogs and Cats Home with this special Christmas award of £50,000. This funding will ensure Battersea is well-equipped to provide the love, care and attention each animal waiting for a new home deserves this Christmas.”

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