Thursday, 5 April 2018


A few weeks ago, my office was contacted by a constituent whose dog had sadly passed away. It was a relatively young dog, and she was clearly heartbroken by the loss of her companion. Unfortunately, she had been told by her housing association that she would not be able to get another dog. Whilst they had allowed the dog when she moved in, as she already had him, they couldn’t give permission for a new pet.
The constituent had also lost her husband. I wrote to the housing association concerned, and I am over the moon that they are now reviewing their policy to make exceptions in cases where loneliness is a factor. I am hopeful that the lady concerned will be able to get a new pet, providing her with companionship.   
Earlier this year, the Prime Minister committed to tackling the issue of loneliness. More than 9 million people in our society always or often feel lonely. Shockingly, around 200,000 older people have not had a conversation with a friend or relative in more than a month. Up to 85% of young disabled adults feel lonely. Loneliness is one of the challenges of our time.
The companionship of a much loved pet can be of great benefit to humans. Reducing stress, lowering blood pressure and increasing social interaction and physical activity are all associated benefits. Equally, all too often we hear of people abandoning animals including dogs and cats. Extraordinarily, many animal welfare charities say they often have to take in pets because landlords refuse to allow people to take them with them into their homes.
Locally we have one of the country’s leading charities in this area. The Cinnamon Trust is a national charity also based here at Hayle, which organises an army of volunteers to help exercise dogs whose owners are no longer able to and to re-home dogs whose owners have passed away. Cinnamon Trust is the only specialist national charity supporting elderly and terminally ill pet owners and their much loved, much needed pets. The Trust, through a network of 16,100 volunteers, provides domiciliary help with an aspect of day to day pet care that is difficult for the owner to provide, e.g. dog walking. The Trust offers a short-term fostering service when owners face a spell in hospital. For owners who need care themselves, the Trust supports sheltered housing, care homes and nursing homes to maintain a database of facilities where they are welcome with their pets. The Trust also takes on lifetime care of pets who outlive their owners.

My own cat, Gus, joined the Eustice family 2 years ago from the Cats Protection. He has been a wonderful addition to our family. Gus’ previous owner had been unable to keep him, as she had been moving. He has settled into life in our home very well.

That we are a nation of animal lovers is proved by the fact that there are so many vibrant charities like the Cinnamon Trust out there doing this sort of work with so many volunteers willing to support them.


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